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Diasporian News of Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Source: Ghanaian News Canada

Inauguration ceremony of the new Ghana Union of Canada held in Toronto

Speakers at the inauguration ceremony of the New Ghana Union of Canada Speakers at the inauguration ceremony of the New Ghana Union of Canada

The Virtual event was held on May 24th and hosted by Ms. Grace Ata, the V.P of Equisoft. Grace welcomed the guests and thanked them for attending the inauguration ceremony. She then gave a brief introduction and explained the purpose of the gathering.

The Ghana Union of Canada aims to establish a unified voice for Canada’s Ghanaian community. Started out of a need to have a voice at the federal level, the GUC is committed to working with all Ghanaian communities across Canada and representing them both federally and provincially.

Grace said the inauguration is not about one person, one thought or one action. It is about the evolution of our collective action as a Ghanaian community, one voice, in Canada.

Delivering the Keynote speech, Nii Tawiah Okurajah Koney, the Founder and Director of the Afrika Diaspora History Library in Edmonton, Alberta said, he was honoured to be part of the historic initiative. Following up, Koney said that Canada’s Ghana Union is “one people and one voice.”

Koney explained how the initiative’s objective is important, expressing how the Obonu (Talking drums) of Ghana will never stop beating in our hearts and our souls until the mission is accomplished.

“Our nation is at the crossroads, and we need dedicated and selfless Ghanaians to rise up and work together to return Ghana to her former glory.”

Koney went on to say, “your presence here today serves as a reminder of how we are inextricably woven together as a single Tapestry, therefore when you mess with one thread of the tapestry, you messed with the collective whole; this is the very philosophical symbolism of our Ghanaian Kente Cloth.

Our love for one another as Ghanaians is entrenched in the most powerful statement ever made by an African president – ‘The independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked with the total liberation of Africa in the spirit of UBUNTU.’ In essence, I am who I am because of who you are. This is the spirit of Oman Ghana, the eagle of Africa and the warrior king.”

In his speech, Oseadeyor Nana Kwateng Amanin of Montreal Traditional Council, who was the chairman for the inauguration made a passionate plea to all Ghanaian Canadians to support the new Ghana Union of Canada to succeed. He said “Today, we have a new birth of the Ghana Union of Canada.

This association embraces all Ghanaians living in Canada from Inuvik in NWT to Windsor in Ontario and Victoria in B.C. to St John’s in NFLD. I am making this passionate appeal to all Ghanaians from Coast to Coast to embrace this idea of a Ghana Union in Canada so that we could have our voice heard as people when confronted with challenges.

Our unity is our strength. We can only confront our common purpose when we come together. There is a saying that goes “living a good life is making healthy choices”. The same goes to achieving our purpose is to come together as one people. That is the only way we can be heard. Individually, we have made some progress but, collectively we have very little to show to our children and grandchildren”.

Hon. Judy Sgro, MP Humber River- Black Creek sent her message via a pre-recorded video. Hon. Judy Sgro began her message by congratulating the GUC on its inauguration on behalf of herself, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and all her liberal caucus members.

In her words, “I have nothing more than excitement to see the Ghanaian community continue to move forward.” She also expressed looking forward to working with the GUC, seeing how they meet their objectives, understanding their desires in order to ascertain how she can help to advance all the issues that will help the Ghanaians in Canada.

There were other speakers at the event who also added their voices to congratulate the birth of the new Union and they are.

Dr. Ama DeGraft Johnson, (Her speech is published in its entirety on page 28 in this issue) Paul Banahene Adjei, Professor at Newfoundland & Labrador, Dr. Kwadwo Kyerenateng of Ottawa, and God knows Hope Kumasah of Manitoba.
Mrs. Sarah Awuah, the founding member of the Ghana Union of Canada explain the need for this new organization by presenting the overview and the objective of GUC.

She started with reference to our numbers in Canada, she said.
According to Statistics Canada, there are approximately 85,000 people of Ghanaian heritage living in Canada. This number is not trivial, and it is ever-growing.

Over the years, many Ghanaian Associations have filled the need for a community forum via associations and groups at the provincial and city levels. Therefore these associations are to be commended for their role in the Ghanaian community here in Canada.

But is this enough? There have been many attempts by prominent members of Ghanaian Heritage in Canada to create an organization such as the Ghana Union of Canada (GUC) in the previous years, but we could not do so due to various reasons, including distance and communication challenges.

With the advent of COVID-19 and its attendant problems, we all experienced increased networking and communication opportunities facilitated through technology. Thus, something that may have seemed elusive was no longer an unattainable goal or something on the roadmap.

Birthed out of a need to have a voice at the federal level, the GUC executives believed it was the right time to gather persons of Ghanaian Heritage in Canada to reconsider the idea, backed with action.

Furthermore she explained that, GUC is a federally registered not-for-profit organization and their mandate is to represent the voices of all Ghanaian heritage persons across the breadth and width of Canada at the Federal Level.

She said being federally focused means, GUC will endeavour to work hand-in-hand with the existing Ghanaian associations in the communities, provinces and territories representing Ghanaian communities to ensure our voice is heard at the federal level.

The GUC structure is very similar to that of other cultural groups such as the Ukrainians and Chinese, and it has been proven to be a successful model.

To be clear, the existing Ghanaian associations are not accountable to the GUC, and neither is the GUC accountable to the current bodies. GUC will fill the gap, where there is any, and work hand in hand with the Ghanaian Associations to influence policies at the Federal Level.

Finally she invited all readers to visit GUC website (www.ghanaunion.ca) for factual information about the organization.

There were about 200 participants login during the virtual launching across Ghana and Canada.

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