Meet Brian Seremba, BCCA Co-Founder & Steering Committee Member
A graduate of International Business Management from the University of London and an active committee member of the Ugandan Cultural Association of BC, Brian Seremba co-founded The BC Community Alliance after witnessing the lack of support systems available to racialized students in British Columbia. Recently we sat down with him to learn more about his passions and his vision for the future of BCCA.
Why did you start the BC Community Alliance?
What led me towards being a part of BCCA arose from the lack of accountability from institutions when addressing racism in schools and the lack of response following the Lord Byng incident. As a young Black man growing up in London, England, it was somewhat tricky adjusting to the constant racism that many within my community faced every other day. In 2000, the murder of Damilola Taylor, aged ten years old, shocked Britain as a whole and left many Black families in London afraid to let their children go to school. London learned the hard way when White children aged 11 and 12 killed Damilola. So, to see a pattern of racism in schools, specifically Lord Byng, challenged the Black community and supporters to stand up to racism before Vancouver faced a similar fate with Black children in schools.
Creating inclusive spaces for visible minorities benefits the community as a whole and empowers organizations to embrace people. Knowing the challenges London, England, has faced, I still believe the institutions here in Vancouver can make meaningful changes to tackle any forms of microaggression and racism of any kind and protect children from harm’s way. Although we have made strides, we hope to continue working with stakeholders towards bridging an inclusive institution that is fair to all.
What are you most proud of BCCA accomplishing in 2020?
BCCA receiving written confirmation from the Chair of the BC Human Rights Tribunal (HRT) that they have accepted both complaints against the Vancouver School Board and the Ministry of Education. As well, our efforts towards introducing Black Curriculum into K-12 schools in British Columbia.
Who is one activist / thought-leader / change-maker you’re inspired by and why?
Barack Obama inspires me, not only for his achievements, but also for his earlier years as a community organizer – knocking on doors, handing out pamphlets and encouraging others towards a shared goal of community change. I have no desire to become a politician but to know the level of work and impact he achieved on the local level is inspiring. I’m also inspired by the people I work alongside through BCCA – we motivate each other to keep going.
With all of the work you do, how do you approach self-care?
As an ENFJ, I recognize my pros and cons and so my digital calendar includes time for self-reflection, future planning, reading, and working out. Working from home has also rekindled my love for cooking again and I’ve taking up smoothie making too! Pre-isolation involved many bad habits, so I’m grateful that I can form better habits overall. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of a tech career, so working from home gives me greater flexibility in how I spend my time. Will things change when I’m back in the office? Potentially, but not in the way life was before. Isolation can affect us in many ways; that’s why I try to ensure I can balance my time better for a positive outcome in my life and others.
What is your goal for BCCA for the year ahead?
To further deepen and widen our partnerships with Black-led organisations leading the charge in closing systemic gaps in education for K-12 curriculum and up. Creating and maintaining a robust communication strategy to ensure our message is delivered across our media channels, raise money for our projects in the pipeline, and to build our community of volunteers and advocates to help us continue to build on the foundation we’re setting.
Tell us one thing parents, teachers, or students can do to help support BCCA’s work?
Sign our petition and share our work by following us on Facebook or Instagram. This is a collaborative effort and we can’t do it without community.