Sam Akinsanya PRC Report (Nov. 2015)

Report of the Racially Visible Persons Rep to the Prairie Region Council submitted for the November 2015 meeting. This report covers the period from the last PRC meeting.

Sam Akinsanya
Racially Visible Persons Rep
Prairie Region Council November 2015

Date of Events: June to November, 2015.

  • BBQ Day instead of Public Service Week: June 14, 2015 (in person)
    In collaboration with the CAC president, participated in the planning and carrying out the BBQ Day in Calgary as an alternative to the participation in the Public Service Week.
  • National Human Rights Committee (NHRC): June 18, 2015. (teleconference)
    Participated on a conference call that was chaired by Sister Robyn Benson. The teleconference call lasted for about 1.5hrs.

    ​Agenda for the teleconference included:

    • 2015 Elections – National and provincial
    • Discussed PSAC Strategy
    • The role of NHRC representatives
    • Discussion on the date for the National Equity Conference (NEC) scheduled for March 24 – 28, 2017.
    • Also discussed the dates for the next NHRC’s face to face meeting Scheduled for November 2 – 4, 2015.
    • Finally, discussed the new format for NHRC face to face meeting which was slightly changed from previous years.
  • Racially Visible Members – WG (NHRC):  June 26, 2015. (teleconference)
    Participated on another teleconference as dated above and chaired by Sister Jeannie Baldwin. The agenda for the meeting is very similar to the previous one chaired by Sister Benson. The difference this time was that it was specifically for the RVM WG of the NHRC and how we could assist with the action plan in order to positively affect the outcome of the National election on October 19th.
  • Summer Action Plan: Latino Fiestaval – Organized by the Calgary Human Rights Committee Under the Leadership of the Prairie Region RVM Representative – July 17, 18 & 19, 2015. (in person)
    With the collaboration of the Area council, RWC and CHRC, planned and organized the participation of the PSAC in the Latino Fiestaval. This event took place at the Calgary Olympic Plaza. The objective of the event was to interact with the members of the public attending the event to discuss the 2015 elections both at the provincial and national level. Attendance at the event was estimated between 40 – 60 thousands people. With the exception of the first day of the event (which rained cat & dog), the event was very successful with the volunteers engaging the public in various conversations. The “Wheel of Swags” was a big attraction that attracted many people into our booth. We gave away lots of information to the public about the election as well we gave away lots of swags over the 2.25 days. The event turn out to be a success and if I may add, this is an effective way to be engaged with the public at large on a continuous basis without braking the bank account. In the meantime, here are some email feed-back from some of the volunteers who worked some of the shifts.

A. Sam, I am pleased that you took on this project and saw it to the very end!!   Bravo!

You’ve now learned some of the hard lessons I learned long ago!  You just have to find the right people for the right events.

This particular project was very interesting and not all that expensive to join.   The exposure was just about right with 40k visitors to the park.

Aside from weather, our booth was well represented.  We could have used more give away items, however, I was quite delighted with some of the conversations that were sparked during the time visitors were in our both as questions about the sandwich board posters, our new handout and the public service in general.

The only down falls for this year may be timing, its always harder to get volunteers for the summer months.   I think if we work closer with our Regional representatives we can garner a listing of on-going volunteers from all the locals in our area.   We need to work more on the presidents who are filtering our messages out to the grass roots members.

The festival was great place to meet people and exchange ideas with other non-profits and unions as well.

 I would be in favour of continuing this event again next year!

B. Hello Sam, I was very pleased with the event and the interaction with public. I know you worked tirelessly on recruiting, scheduling, ensuring we had what was needed DAILY for volunteers to interact and get our message out, and going so far as to secure materials in your own vehicle so they would not have to be left in the park overnight.

Comments on the event to consider:

  • location – on my days I thot our tent was to far away from the main walkways for public to see and access or stop in.
    The selection of location is not always our choice, and there are usually issues with access etc. but it maybe it could be noted to the event hosts when possible.

  • outreach – absolutely yes, I think we need to engage with public at these type of events. Its provides the most concentrated grouping of public at a location that we can reach out to during a given time. However, we are only volunteers, but our time is as valuable as anyone else’s. I work 5 days a week .. many of us do. I have a personal life and commitment, and my Coll. Agreement does not provide time nor allow for me to host at an event during work week. To get out message out should not be on the backs of exhausted volunteers…we shame the employer for overworking us why does our union make or ask the same? Do functionally make the impact we need of getting our message out, we need support from the RO and financial support from the REVP office.

Thanks again Sam! It was a great event!

C. Sam I loved the time I spent there on Saturday and talking with people, I was really energized and happy to hear many of them express the fact we need a change of government.   People seemed very receptive about   It was a great venue, our tent was in a really great spot.  Was it any better on Sunday after the tent was moved closer to the entrance? 

I think we should do this again next year, but start the drive for volunteers much earlier.  If I had realized that so many in my component do not pay attention to the things we post on the board (heard all about it today)  I would have really really really promoted it more by word of mouth.   We also have a lot of people that take leave with income averaging so they can be gone all summer and this year a lot of people took vacation and LIA in July.  

D. Hi Sam, Congrats I think you did a great job organizing this event. In terms of feedback I would like to echo some of the comments from other volunteers. Although we had traffic going by our booth, I felt we would have had a lot more exposure if we were in a different location (more on the front row).

The give always were good (water bottles were very popular) but I agree that we could have had more variety as well.

Finally I too agree that there should be more financial support from the REVP and RO’s. We also need to find better ways to attract more volunteers to these types of events, this I know is easier said than done.

  • Global-Fest: August 25, 2015. (in person)
    In collaboration with the Calgary Area Council, RWC and CHRC, participated in the planning, organizing and volunteering for the Global-fest event. Participated and volunteered with the Citizenship ceremony on August 25, 2015 at the Ellersly Park in Calgary.
  • Labour Day Action:  September 7, 2015. (in person)
    In collaboration with the Calgary Area Council, RWC and CHRC, participated in the planning, organizing and volunteering at the Labour Day activities in Calgary.
  • PRC Conference Call: September 10, 2015. (teleconference)
    Participated on the teleconference call by the PRC to discuss and select a date and location of the next Prairie regional Triennial Convention in 2017.
  • NHRC Statements of Principles September: (1) 22, 2015. (teleconference)
    The NHRC met to discuss various PSAC policies that are being redrafted as “Statement of Principles”. The NHRC was asked to discuss as a way of getting the inputs of all the equity representatives into the final draft respecting the contents and context of the new document. On this particular meeting, the subject matter for discussion include:

    • Statement of Principles respecting – Pay Equity
    • Statement of Principles respecting – Technological Change
    • Statement of Principles respecting – Childcare
    • Statement of Principles respecting – Telework
    • Statement of Principles respecting – Women’s Equity and Human Rights.
  •  NHRC Statements of Principles: (2) September 29, 2015. (teleconference)
    As a continuation of the September 22, teleconference meeting, a second meeting was held to discuss the remaining Documents of Statements of Principles. The subject matter for discussion at the second meeting include:

    • Statement of principles respecting – Human Rights
    • Statement of principles respecting – Sexual Orientation
    • Statement of Principles respecting – Literacy
    • Statement of Principles respecting – Employment Equity
    • Statement of Principles respecting – Racial Equity

      Suggestions were made from several persons at the meeting and we hope to see a final draft during our face to face meeting in November 2 – 4, 2015.

  • NHRC – Racially Visible Members WG: October 14, 2015. (teleconference)
    This meeting was called and chaired by the REVP for the Ontario region – Sharon DeSousa. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss
    Racially Visible Members annual regional conferences under the newly passed resolution GEN-145 at the National Triennial convention in Quebec City. (Provide details verbally for the benefit of the PRC members if needed).
  • NHRC – Annual Conference: November 2 – 4, 2015. (in person)
    The format this year for the annual NHRC conference was slightly modified as a result of cost consideration. The six groups were split into two and unlike previous years, each group travel on different day to Ottawa. Day-1 for the RVM WG was on Nov. 3rd. This was also the day that all the six equity groups met at the Plenary.

    Highlight of the discussion focused on Identifying opportunities after the defeat of the Conservative government to engage with the new Liberal government.

    •  Identifying what we would like to see the Liberal government deliver to the PSAC within the first 90 days in office.
    • How do we as human rights activists want to respond to fear, prejudice and hatred.

    • What are the human rights issues that we will still have to fight for with the new government?

Day-2:  Nov.4, 2015.
The 2nd day saw each WG in their respective caucus. Most of the conversation at the RVM WG for the day was focused primary at the upcoming regional RVM conference in 2016.
Discussion regarding the event include:

  1. Coming up with a theme for the 2016 conference and making it first priority above all else.
  2. Setting up and agenda template for the event
  3. Communicating with members on issues
  4. Encouraging RVMs to be activists
  5. Development of two workshops to be offered at the conference with a national flavor based on the response from the survey sent out.
  6. Need to develop a 3rd workshop with a regional flavor – to be determined in the region by the steering committee (yet to be set up).

If a formal minutes of the NHRC conference is sent out at a future date by the head office, I will forward it accordingly.

In Solidarity,

Sam Akinsanya