Community leader. Entrepreneur. Advocate. These are some of the words Rochelle Ignacio’s neighbours use to describe her. When AMA-member Ignacio herself is asked about her work, this co-creator of Black Owned Market (BOM) in Edmonton says it uplifts the city’s Black community—in business, arts and, now, food. In February this year, she co-launched Feed the Soul Dining Week, the first city-wide dining event focused on promoting Black food producers, retailers and restaurateurs. Daily specials—from the classic oxtail meal at Sauce Modern Caribbean Cuisine to an Italian-Eritrean fusion feast at Allegro Italian kitchen—celebrated the history, and future, of Black gastronomy.
Ignacio—who is also the director of equity, diversity and inclusion at the Tamarack Institute, an advocate of community engagement—champions the belief that systemic transformation requires local, place-based solutions. “A national problem such as racism will have unique perspectives and experiences when analyzed at the local level,” she explains, noting that leaders and community members can then co-create sustainable options.
And, given the now-easy access to resources such as Indigenous Canada online courses and digital platforms like the On Canada Project, Ignacio notes, “It’s time to stop placing the burden of educating others on the shoulders of Black, Indigenous and racialized people.”
NOMINATE A LOCALER
If you know someone doing good in your community, send ideas to AMAInsider@ama.ab.ca and they could be featured in an upcoming issue.