Black Canadians

 

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Danae PeartROLE MODEL & AMBASSADOR 

danae peart interview 2

 Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am currently the Operations Coordinator/Station Manager for CHRY 105.5 F.M. I have been in this position for more than 5 years and continue to be challenged to do more and do better. For the past year I have been dabbling in the world of theater and acting, with a role in Marcia Brown Production's "I need to know my father". Theater and music have a very special place in my life. I am an avid learner, academically I have 3 degrees including a Masters from the University of Waterloo and 2 Bachelors from York University and strong aspirations to follow-through with a Phd someday. However my most valuable lessons have been gathered from interactions with community members and acquaintances. 

Tell us something not many people know about you?
Most people do not know I write poetry. 

 
What's your favorite food, music and movie?
Fave Food: Curry Chicken
Fave Music: I like multiple genres, anything with good vocals and good lyrics always gets my attention. Neo-Soul (anything Jill Scott), Motown and Staxx label artists.
Fave Movie: I used to be a movie buff so there are many I appreciate. Movies that stand out include "The General's Daughter", "John Q" 'Malcolm X"

What's your inspiration or how do you get motivated?
I am inspired by those who have successfully gone before me. The list is long since it consists of the brave ancestors who journeyed against their will to a new land, my family members who came as immigrants before me to Canada and those who daily make a commitment to put one foot in-front of the other against the odds. Motivation varies for me, some days it is a clear sense of wanting to leave a legacy and other days it is so my family can be somehow proud.

What would you like to be remembered for?
This is a hard one. I would like to be remembered for my hard-work and character. It is my hope that the impact I had on media will be memorable. I also really want people to smile with fond memories of me when I am gone.

How did you get to where you are now and what more should we expect?
As an immigrant to Canada and now citizen my journey has featured many hills and valleys. I grew up in Kingston Jamaica in an area (Kingston 11) that bares a mixed reputation but is well loved by all of those who lived and continue to reside there. All things considered there was not a lot in my path thet suggested I would be in Canada with degrees and working in broadcasting. Raised in Kingston 11, Mother died when I was about to be 6 yrs old, limited means and dreams. But I was blessed with gifts; a loving and strict family and a church experience that nurtured my various talents.
Professionally, I got where I am because I have always displayed leadership qualities and maturity from as far back as I can remember. My current role was because opportunity met preparation and confidence of those serving as my employers. 
Expect that I will live up to the expectations on my shoulders. Expect that I will do everything in my power to have radio remain relevant to the communities we serve and to set in on the path to truly impact and enhance communities. My interest is community development so expect that my future deeds will be somehow related to same.

How do you balance work, family, friends and leisure?
I have not yet achieved full balance. I do observe rest days (which sometimes happen to be my entire weekend). My friends have easy access to me and I make efforts to engage in activities in my spare time that are not work-related.
 
What your experience as a Black Person in Canada?
The experience here has been mixed. I have been exposed to systemic racism as well as fair opportunities in one fell swoop. This is the country where too many of us can barely find employment much less in our field of study. And what's up with us not having Black Role models?? 
There were a lot of adjustments for me to do here especially coming from a country where I was "majority" to now filling in forms where I am checking words like "visible minority" or other such classifications. These things do affect your sense of self and identity. I have managed to work through it although I am now more equipped with a very heightened sense of blackness and identity politics.

What is the Black community doing right or wrong in Canada?
First I would challenge the notion that there exists a black "community"in Canada. We are the most fragmented, diverse and misunderstood group. So what are we doing wrong would be my leaning--we are not united (we don't have to be the same, but we should accept a need for cohesion if only to capitalize on "strength in numbers"). We do not actively seek economic and political influence, instead we seem content with "one of stories" --Alvin Curling, Michael Lee Chin etc. We seldom build anything or sustain structures that can buoy the success of generations to come. This is more about being under resourced and being challenged by day-to-day living rather than an indictment on blacks.
What are we doing right--we work hard in fact the history of blacks in the entire North America is one of relentless, determined hard workers. We can build, shine, excel for sure it is in our DNA! We just need leadership and vision to harness it.

Are there as many opportunities for blacks in Canada compared to the U.S.?
Obvious answer is No. We must however resist comparison without context. Racism and the response to it has played out differently in Canada than the U.S. In the US the experience it is less about systemic hindrances to success. So if qualified one's colour is less at issue when being hired. In Canada their is a secret conversation about "fit" and maintaining status-quo. In the US the atrocities of slavery and the struggle of the more recent civil rights era allowed for structures such as HBCUs, grants etc. Not the same in Canada which still hides behind the veil of multiculturalism and the narratives of underground railroad and freedom North.
This of-course is not a sweeping reality for there are successes amidst these limitations across Canada. We do have many aspiring to be what they see south of the border. Our collective challenge should be to model excellence in the Canadian context so goals are more realistic and attainable.