SPEAKING NOTES – PETER OBIEFUNA, CO-CHAIR ACLC
AFRICAN COMMUNITY OUTREACH MEETING
THURSDAY, MARCH 15, 2012, 7:00 P.M.
AFRICA CENTRE, 13160 – 127 STREET
His Worship, Mayor Stephen Mandel,
Chief of Police, Rod Kneckt,
Ag. Deputy Chief and ACLC Co-Chair, Brad Ward,
Esteemed Leaders of the African Community,
Ladies & Gentlemen,
It is a rare privilege and honor for me to welcome you to this maiden African Community Outreach Meeting of the Edmonton Police Service, hosted by ACLC (African Community Liaison Committee).
The ACLC is a committee of representatives from both African and EPS communities. Our mandate on the committee is to work together with one another and with The Chief and EPS to improve mutual understand, co-operation and synergistic relationships. To most intents and purposes, ACLC seeks to form a bridge through which you, as a member of the African community, can more easily access the EPS as a government service to you; and you as a member of the EPS community, ACLC should bring you better access to the unique values, skill set, experience and expertise that members of the African community bring to the Edmonton multicultural table; for among other things, better community policing.
With me on this noble ideal is a handful of hard-working men and women drawn from various sub-regions of the African continent and from the EPs.
[raise an ovation for ACLC members]
Ladies & Gentlemen,
We called you out tonight to:
create a platform for you to network with one another;
tell you what we are about and ask your advice as to how to work with and for you;
work with us to help us fine-tune our strategies.
To the African Community leaders here present, I say: This is a historic moment. It is a solemn responsibility to contribute to a discourse that can usher in an Edmonton of tomorrow where your children and grand-children will look back at this moment and remember that it all began here. And that you, granddad/grandma, that you were here. And that you were one of those that made a difference; that helped to start a conversation that ushered in a better, safer Edmonton for everyone.They will be proud. Make them proud today.
To the EPS Community, I say: These African community leaders are here today because we told them that this is different. They know enough of some of those programs that governments implement simply because it looks good on paper without commensurate commitment to drive out abiding results [present company excluded]. We told them and they believed. These African community leaders are here because they believe. They believed us. They believe you. They believe that you are here to seriously learn something, to seriously share something and to seriously do something about what you learn today. Please, prove worthy of that faith.
And to both African and EPS communities, I say: Your time is precious.For you to invest it to be here, this must mean something to you. One approach that will bring us the greatest win is the attitude that we are not here to demand a perfect system; we are not here to sell or defend a perfect system; We are together in this. We are here for one another. This is our city. We are here to find the best way to achieve the same ideals.
And I believe that together, in an environment of mutual respect and empathy, we can either find the way or pave one.
Thank you and have a great deliberation.