I would like to thank the Province of New Brunswick for giving me the opportunity to serve as a member of the Human Rights Commission so that, together, we can uphold respect for the rights universally recognized in this officially bilingual Canadian province with one of the most culturally diverse populations in the world.
Like other societies around the world, ours is constantly evolving. In recent years, for example, we have witnessed the emergence of various social movements in New Brunswick and across Canada focused on concerns including respect for human dignity as well as human rights in hope that the leaders of our country, Canada, and, in particular, those of our province, New Brunswick, ensure that the principle by which we are all born free and equal before the law is respected. As a result, we all enjoy the same human dignity and rights in New Brunswick regardless of our origin or the colour of our skin.
With regards to me, I am originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and have lived in Moncton for more than 20 years. I have a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) and a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the Université de Moncton.
Based on my education and experience, New Brunswick society has offered me the privileges of teaching at the Dieppe campus of the Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick as well as becoming an entrepreneur. Okana-Solutions Marketing (O.-S.M.), founded in 2000 and located in Moncton, New Brunswick, and for which I serve as consultant, is the first Francophone consulting firm to have conducted, in 2002, a study on the settlement and integration of Francophone immigrants in our province. This study raised the interest of Acadian and Francophone communities throughout the Atlantic provinces with respect to Francophone immigration, and the round table on Francophone immigration and centres for the settlement and integration of Francophone immigrants, among other things.
In terms of political and community involvement, I was president of the New Brunswick New Democratic Party (NB NDP) from 2019 to 2022, and I served as a member of the board of directors of House of Nazareth in Moncton for seven years from 2016 to 2023.
From 2010 to 2013, I was president of the Moncton Intercultural Heritage Association. During my time as president, I organized two exploratory visits, one for Black youth and the other for Black women and children. The purpose of both visits was to expose them to Acadian and Canadian history. During the first visit (in 2011), the young people visited the site of the Acadian Deportation in Grand-Pré, Nova Scotia. They also had the opportunity to meet the then Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Mayann Elizabeth Francis, and a number of Acadian and Indigenous dignitaries. During the second visit, which was organized to Prince Edward Island in 2012, the women and children visited Confederation Bridge, Province House, and the Acadian Museum in Miscouche. At Province House in Charlottetown, for example, they learned about the history of Canada, including the birth of the Canadian nation and the list of Canada’s Fathers of Confederation. Among other things, the women and children learned that E.B. Chandler, Charles Fisher, J.H. Gray, J.M. Johnson, Peter Mitchell, W.H. Steeves, Sir S. Leonard Tilley, Robert Wilmot, and George Brown were among the Fathers of Confederation from New Brunswick.
In my leisure time, I strive to walk an average of 45 minutes each day. I learn by reading books and articles on topics such as immigration and cultural diversity, leadership, public speaking, religion, and organizational management.
I very much look forward to meeting you so that we can get to know each other and make our own contribution toward continuing to create a thriving and culturally diverse New Brunswick where human dignity and rights are respected.