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Eight members of the Parliamentary Black Caucus in Canada were on Capitol Hill this week to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). This was a historic first meeting between the two groups. In stature and representation, the Canadian political leaders could be comparable to America’s Congressional leadership. 

Interviewed on the campus of Howard University, Senator Bernadette Clement, who represents Cornwall, Ontario, spoke about meeting with the CBC.

“We want connection, we want to talk about the Black diaspora and discuss some of the issues we might have in common,” said Clement. “Both sides of the border deal with systematic racism, both sides of the border worry about representation.”

The visit to D.C. by the Parliamentary Black Caucus coincided with the third anniversary observance of George Floyd’s murder. That led the Black Canadian legislators to reflect on how they were affected by that murder.

“It’s been a time for us, as Canadian Blacks, to decide very deliberately to take up more space in all of the places we occupy.”

Clement, who was the first Black female mayor in Ontario, also shared her thoughts on the stalemate with U.S. debt ceiling discussions. She feels the conversations are hard because decisions are around investment.

“How do you justify the need for investment,” said Clement. “How do you talk about the stories in our communities, like young people who want healthcare, who want all the things so they can fully participate in their communities? These are hard conversations because they require money and investment.”

Brenda Siler is an award-winning journalist and public relations strategist. Her communications career began in college as an advertising copywriter, a news reporter, public affairs producer/host and a...

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