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Alberta appoints 9 new members to Anti-Racism Advisory Council

13 members have stepped down from the council that had been set up in 2019.

Last week, Alberta’s minister of culture, multiculturalism, and the status of women announced 9 new people appointed to the Alberta Anti-Racism Advisory Council.

Leela Sharon Aheer said that all appointees will be replacing other members whose terms are expiring. She also mentioned that 2 current members have been reappointed to a second term.

The advisory council was created in February 2019 by the NDP government, just before the last provincial election, following a public consultation process. The council advises the minister on implementing and evaluating action items to combat racism.

Of the original 24 members appointed to the council, 11 remain in 2021. These 9 new additions will bring the council’s membership to 20.

Of the 5 Indigenous members from the 2019 council, only 2 remain, and none of the new appointees appear to be Indigenous.

Here are the new appointees:

  • Mohamad Awada, co-chair
  • China Ogbonna, co-chair
  • Stephen Akindipe
  • Celso Andrade
  • Fariborz Birjandian
  • Kulshan Gill
  • Pauline Greenidge
  • Charles Odame-Ankrah
  • Abe Silverman

Mohamad Awada is a councillor assistant with the City of Calgary. He volunteers with the Alberta Muslim Social Association and the Calgary Lebanese Association, and has held several positions at the Centre for Newcomers in Calgary, which helps newcomers integrate into life in Alberta.

China Ogbonna, is a registered social worker with the Edmonton Catholic Schools. She is a board member with Black Canadian Women in Action.

Stephen Akindipe is a family physician in central Alberta. originally from Nigeria, he sits on the board for the Big Country Primary Care Network.

Celso Andrade is the president of Sunfreight Cargo International. He’s a committee member with the Edmonton Philippine International Centre, as well as the past president of the Philippine Business Society of Alberta. In 2019, Andrade donated $575 to the Edmonton–Glenora UCP constituency association. That same year, he also donated $500 to Marjorie Newman’s election campaign, who ran for the Edmonton–Glenora seat as a UCP candidate, as well as $200 to Kaycc Madu’s election campaign in the Edmonton–Southwest riding. Madu is Alberta’s justice minister.

Fariborz Birjandian is the CEO of the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society. Originally from Iran, Birjandian has volunteered with various local and international organizations connected to immigration, refugees, diversity, equal rights and the cultural arts. In 2009, he donated $450 to the PC constituency association in the former Calgary–Fort riding.

Kulshan Gill is an Edmonton-based holistic health practitioner. She immigrated to Canada from India and currently sits on the Mental Health Review Panel. She also ran as a UCP candidate against Rachel Notley in the Edmonton–Strathcona riding during the 2019 provincial election.

Pauline Greenidge is a human resources consultant and an author in Calgary. She sits on the Grizzly Council of Alberta, which helps re-employ unemployed and underemployed professionals in Alberta.

Charles Odame-Ankrah is a chemist with Global Analyzer Systems. He is a founding member of the African Coalition in Calgary and the current president of the Ghanaian Canadian Association of Calgary.

Abe Silverman is manager of public affairs with B’nai Brith Canada Alberta Region. He has served in various governance capacities with non-profit organizations, including as president of the Edmonton Jewish Federation and Jewish National Fund Edmonton.

Although neither last week’s announcement nor the original announcement mention term limits, a recent tweet from former co-chair Heather Campbell seems to indicate that terms are for 2 years.

Council members are eligible for remuneration for the 4 quarterly meetings they’re scheduled to attend this year, but it’s unclear how much. In 2019, council members received no more than $382 each, other than the two co-chairs, who received $548–766.

By Kim Siever

I live in Lethbridge with my spouse and 4 of our 6 children. I’m a writer, focusing on political news, social issues, and the occasional poem. My politics are radically left.

I’m also dichotomally Mormon. And I’m a functional vegetarian: I have a blog post about that somewhere around here. My pronouns are he/him, and I’m queer.

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