Monday July 6, 2020 1:57 pm

The Front Page

Local Hero; Tamsin Salter, a Birch Cliff resident has masks for anyone that needs one. They are available at the corner of Queensgrove and Viewbank. She has made over 400 masks so far and has enough material to do approximately another 100. Local residents have shown their appreciation with donations of fabric and cash, which is used to buy more fabric. She started making them in the middle of April and the design took a fair bit of fine tuning before she got it just right. Best donation so far, says Tamsin, three bottles of wine. There are more photos and stories of local heroes on page 9 of the E-Edition.

What It’s Like to be Your Only Black Friend Right Now

By Nicole Bernhardt

Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning and all of a sudden almost every dude in your life magically accepted that sexism exists and that it’s bad. What’s more, all these dudes are sorry. They are so sorry. They feel real bad. And they need you to know it. How would you respond? Would you criticize them for only acknowledging this now? Would you ask them where they were five years ago when you were in the streets protesting this exact thing? Would you be grateful that they finally tuned in? Would you prepare a reading list for them? Would you thank them?

As a light-skinned Black person who has spent most of her life living, working and learning in predominantly White spaces, my social circle reflects the spaces I inhabit. My Instagram is mostly White, my Facebook is mostly White and my mom groups are mostly White. Resultantly, for many people in my life I am their one Black friend. I doubt this experience is particularly unique for many Blacks in Canada.

My (isolated) presence within White institutions and White social circles offers an easy alibi against accusations of anti-Black racism and exclusion — “our department can’t be racist, Nicole is here.” Yet this racial exclusion is still operative and is now reflected in the fact that I’m your only Black friend.

And I know that I’m your only Black friend because you need me to know how bad you think racism is. But the thing is, I’ve been talking about how bad racism is. Professionally, academically, anecdotally — I’ve been talking about how bad racism is for years. Did you not believe me before now? Did it not seem pressing? Or was the conversation too ‘political’ or ‘combative’ or ‘difficult’ for you?

Are you ready now?

To my many White friends, newly (or more urgently) committed to combatting anti-Black racism, I have a few asks:

Will you notice Black absence?

To move in White spaces as a Black or racialized person in Canada is to be constantly aware of the absence of anyone else “like you.”

And by “racialized”, I mean those of us who by virtue of skin, hair and features are treated as “Other.” I was on a panel once where I was asked to explain the use of the term “racialized.” I suggested that if you came to this event and did a quick scan of the room to see if there was anyone present who looked like you, then you were probably racialized. If it had never occurred to you that there wouldn’t be, you were probably White.

If I’m right and I am your only Black friend, did you notice before now? Are there any Black families in the books you read to your kids? Are there any Black faculty in your department or in your firm or on your board of directors?

And if there are Black people in proximity to you, what role do they play in your world? During COVID-19, have you noticed Black presence amongst those on the frontlines?

Will you affirm the existence of anti-Black racism when it is less overt?

The Rotary Club of North Scarborough is pleased to announce it is distributing a total of $100,000 to 17 organizations serving the needs of Scarborough residents to alleviate the problems they encounter during the COVID-19 pandemic.

North Scarborough Rotary Club President, Barry Smith stated this morning, “The support to our community came about because of the generous donation of Park Property Management.” He said, “Park Property Management selected the North Scarborough Rotary Club to review, conduct due diligence and choose deserving organizations to receive the funds.”

Nadia Heyd, Donor Relations Coordinator of The East Scarborough Storefront (a recipient of funds) said, "The funds helped us pivot: we informed people in new ways how to access food banks, financial (income) supports, job opportunities and well being supports." She said "We are now able to prepare for a safe return to our building as we've installed Plexiglas barriers."

“The Scarborough community has been particularly hard hit by the COVID 19 virus”, said, Barry Smith. “We’ve seen the loss of many jobs, the closure of businesses, and overall loss of revenue during this epidemic.” The organizations the North Scarborough Rotary Club selected include food banks, welfare agencies, family services and shelters, lunch programs, refugee and immigrant centres and other health centres. He said, “We are indebted to the generosity of Park Property Management which manages, among other things, 74 buildings and 8,400 rental apartments mostly in Scarborough.”

Distribution North Scarborough Rotary Club Donations for Scarborough Community Services

• 5N2 Soup Kitchen Project

• Agincourt Community Services Association

• Canadian South Asian Growth and Support Services (CSAGSS)

• Chinese Family Services

• Christ Church, Scarborough Village

• Community Hamper Support

• East Scarborough Storefront

• Islamic Relief Canada (Community Muslim Response Network)

• Julliette's Place (Homeward Family Shelter)

• Kathleen Bremner- Gooch (Confectionaries for Seniors' Home)

• Malvern Eats" - Lunch Program

• Malvern Presbyterian Synod

• Native Child and Family Services Toronto

• Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities

• Scarborough Food Security Initiative

• Scarborough Good Neighbours Drop in (Good Neighbour Project)

• Scarborough Health Network

• Scarborough Women's Centre

• The Canadian Centre for Refugee and Immigrant Healthcare

A complete listing of the agencies selected can be found on the website

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