The Black Cultural Society of P.E.I. held its first town hall Friday night with financial security, business, mental health and community engagement the main topics.

Tamara Steele, the president of the organization, says a strategic plan is under development.

While turnout was small with about 20 people at the Confederation Centre of the Arts and another 10 online, Steele said there was good engagement.

“I think there were a lot of good suggestions,” she said.

One of those suggestions was to meet more often so people within the BIPOC community can discuss the issues facing them.

“We thought we would do this annually, this sort of open-format discussion about how the community is doing, but as often as every couple of weeks or every month, that was kind of surprising to me that they would want to engage in that conversation so often,” she said.

Kendi Taricha says the fact town halls are happening within the Island’s Black community means the right changes are happening. (Tony Davis/CBC)

Kendi Taricha, who attended the event, has been part of the BIPOC community on P.E.I. the last 20 years. She said she is excited to see how the community has grown.

Having open discussions like this town hall is important, she said.

“It means that the right changes are happening,” she said. “That’s what I would say it means to me, that the right changes are starting to happen and communities are coming together as we should.

“There is power in the community, right. The more people come together to advocate for each other, then we’ll start to see those changes in government and systems.”

Chijioke Amadi is the vice-president of Black Cultural Society of P.E.I. He says he is hoping to get more Black seniors to engage with the community. (Tony Davis/CBC)

Chijioke Amadi, the society’s vice-president, said holding the first town hall is a step toward making the community stronger.

“I’m happy with the engagement,” he said. “Almost everyone asked questions.”

There was talk of wanting to encourage the engagement of the Black senior population on the Island. Amadi said he hopes to work on that.

Connection is key

Steele said the event shows these discussions are needed in the Black community on P.E.I. to stay connected.

“I think ultimately that is what people are wanting,” she said. “We talked early in the evening about business and entrepreneurship and developing a mentorship program there.”

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