On November 16th, 2020 the Dufferin County Canadian Black Association (DCCBA) formally launched, marking another historic occasion in Dufferin’s path to becoming more inclusive and equitable.
“As we all know, Dufferin County is growing and increasingly becoming more diverse and our organization is determined to be a strong voice for the Black and Caribbean community,” said Founder and President of the DCCBA, Alethia O’Hara Stephenson.
This year, Dufferin County and many of the municipalities within it have made efforts to promote values such as diversity, equity, and inclusion. This has included committees being established and councillors undergoing training. That being said, the DCCBA is the first organization of its kind in the area, as it is independent of all municipal bodies and has its own board of directors. According to the DCCBA website, there are plans to provide scholarships, tutoring, and related educational and developmental programs. Examples titles include “Ask our Experts” and “Entry into Municipal Politics”.
O’Hara Stephenson made it known that despite the organization’s mandate, the DCCBA is inclusive and welcoming to all groups who can take advantage of job opportunities, volunteer positions, and their programs and services. Membership is open to everyone who supports their mission ‘to provide leadership for the continued development and enhancement of the Black community through civic engagement, education, programs and services and advocate for equity and wellbeing for the Black community in Dufferin County’.
Over the years, Alethia O’Hara Stephenson has established a reputation built on advocating for the needs of her community and amplifying the voices of marginalized and racialized individuals. She has championed a multitude of initiatives, such as the request to recognize Black History Month for the first time in Dufferin County, in addition to presenting the implemented recommendation of establishing the Dufferin County Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. O’Hara Stephenson is Chair of Shelburne’s Anti-Black Racism, Racism & Discrimination Task Force and Director for Centre Dufferin District High School’s Youth Advisory Committee. Just last week, Alethia was invited to represent the Town of Shelburne at the City of Brampton Economic Empowerment and Anti-racism Conference.
“I want to congratulate Alethia for her tireless work and advocacy for the Black and Caribbean community in Dufferin County. The creation of the Dufferin County Canadian Black Association will ensure that the much-needed advocacy for our growing and diverse community are addressed,” stated Shelburne’s Deputy Mayor Steve Anderson.
The DCCBA will be offering Diversity and Inclusion and Anti-racism strategies designed to ‘dismantle systemic discrimination and provide transformative change for any environment’ through its Community Outreach Team and associated partners. The team is also able to provide keynote addresses and presentations on a variety of subjects including Black History Month, Culture, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for community, school, and corporate events.
The Community Outreach Team consists of Alethia O’Hara Stephenson, Phil Dewar, and Althea Casamento. Dewar is well-known in Dufferin for his community advocacy and has been a panelist and speaker for many events including the Dufferin Child and Family Services Black History Event and the Orangeville Black Lives Matter March. Casamento, local entrepreneur and Director of Choice Youth Shelter, has organized Shelburne’s Annual Multicultural Day and is a Board Member of Shelburne’s Police Services Board. Furthermore, all three members of the Community Outreach Team are part of Dufferin County’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Community Advisory Committee.
In addition to Deputy Mayor Steve Anderson, Alethia extended special thanks to MP Kyle Seeback, MPP Sylvia Jones, and Grand Valley’s Deputy Mayor Rentsch.
“A key goal for DCCBA is an exchange of ideas that will help to contribute to the growth and development throughout the County of Dufferin,” wrote Sylvia Jones, MPP for Dufferin-Caledon. “Communities in Dufferin-Caledon are continuing to grow rapidly and this website is a great forum that helps to bring awareness about programs and services that are available, and to have meaningful discussions.”
In his message, Dufferin-Caledon MP Kyle Seeback said, “This new organization will ensure the concerns and interests of the Black and Caribbean communities across Dufferin County will be well represented. I look forward to working closely with the Dufferin County Canadian Black Association membership in the future.”
Businesses and community partners of the DCCBA include Fieldgate Homes, Flato Developments, the County of Dufferin, the Town of Shelburne, Community Living Dufferin, Museum of Dufferin, Georgian College, Dufferin Child and Family Services, Family Transition Place, Shelburne Driving School, and the Upper Grand School Board. Individual donors and many others also contributed in some for to support the DCCBA’s vision for the community and have already come onboard pre-launch. Full disclosure, Dufferin News is also a partner of the DCCBA.
“On the behalf of the DCCBA team,” Alethia shares with the community, “we thank you for your support and we look forward to serving Dufferin County for years to come!”
The website for the Dufferin County Canadian Black Association is www.dufferincountycba.org. Through this, one can support the organization by becoming a member, registering one’s business, or making a donation to support their ongoing work.
Full Disclosure: Dufferin News is a partner with the Dufferin County Canadian Black Association.
Reference Links – DCCBA Another Landmark for Diversity in Dufferin
- Dufferin County Canadian Black Association
- Dufferin County Canadian Black Association – Community Outreach Team
- Dufferin County Canadian Black Association – Membership Signup
- Dufferin County Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Community Advisory Committee
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