#2 Anti-racism is an Active Choice

From its inception, the HCA has strived to be inclusive to all who live, work, and play in Hintonburg. What was an Anglo and French Canadian working-class inner suburb for most of the twentieth century is now a thriving and more affluent community with significant changes to its demographic make-up, reflecting more cultural and class diversity.

The Ottawa Neighborhood Study states that Hintonburg is made up of nearly 20% visible minorities, 4.3% newcomers to Canada, and 21.7% first generation immigrants.

The HCA has been proactive in recruiting a meaningful cross-section of community members with some success and some ongoing challenges. The Board is made up of 19% people of colour and 50% women. We would like greater participation from the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization and Ottawa Community Housing for seniors and low-income residents along Wellington St. West, and we have sought different ways to engage them. We acknowledge the systemic barriers such as language, funding and access to information that these organizations and their constituencies face in participating in community organizations like ours.

The breadth of our activities has still led to interest and participation from a wide cross-section of residents and stakeholders over the years. Many of the issues we address have required deft and balanced approaches to ensure fairness exists in the decisions we make and the actions we take. Residents are often divided on actions to be taken or policies to develop. The HCA always uses the guiding principles embedded in its constitution to resolve such differences while taking all input into consideration.  Read our constitution here. HCA constitution 2001

For example, the deplorable death several years ago of Abdirahman Abdi at the hands of the Ottawa Police Service was a traumatic event for our residents and Ottawa’s black community. The HCA supported the Abdi family through fundraisers, art auctions and holding vigils in Somerset Square. Our on-going relationship with the police service was severely tested by community outrage over Mr. Abdi’s death. Our constructive partnership with community police officers seemed tarnished and some community members felt betrayed by a seemingly egregious set of tactics executed by patrol officers. At the same time, we needed to be advocates for allowing our legal system to play out in the hope of justice served. Many issues will remain unresolved until the legal judgement against the police officer who was charged in the death is rendered later this year.

Over the years, we have contributed to events such as the Anti-Racism Summit and The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination with our President and other Community Association leaders speaking to plenary sessions and participating on panels of community leaders and civil-rights activists. In December 2019, we set up an anti-racism and diversity committee. In February 2020, we donated $2000 to the Somerset West Community Health Center Anti-Racism project. In March 2020, our Board undertook anti-racism training.  We will share some of what we learned at that training in our next post.

Do you want to help us with our work on these issues? Send an email to Radha through


Read our previous post on anti-racism.

Read our next post on anti-racism.

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