WIBCA becomes the owner of its property, and makes a monumental shift in its services in response to a world-wide pandemic.
WIBCA made the final payment on its mortgage in 2019, becoming the first organization of its kind to own its own building.
In 2020, in the face of the world-wide pandemic, WIBCA faced the very real possibility that funds would run out. The need for social distancing severely limited the organization’s ability to hold any fundraising activities, and although the government was offering aid to several charitable organizations and NPOs, WIBCA did not qualify as building-owners.
Social distancing also made it impossible for WIBCA to continue offering their programs as they were all held in-person.
To mitigate these challenges, WIBCA made a shift to virtual program offerings, thereby allowing them to continue their free Saturday Morning Tutorials, as well as to create new programs such as:
- Senior Fit – fitness classes for seniors
- Senior Surf – computer classes for seniors
- Black Girls’ Gather: A Book Club – book clubs for young black girls aged 12-14, and 15-18.
It was also during this time that the world was horrified by the brutal murder of George Floyd.
Under the chairpersonship of Kemba Mitchell, WIBCA held two virtual Town Halls with elected officials at different levels of government. WIBCA not only called for official statements from West Island mayors denouncing anti-Black racism within their communities, but also for concrete actions to be taken in order to eradicate the social injustices faced by all members of the BIPOC community.
- WIBCA also host its two Town Halls addressing systemic racism within the community. From these efforts, a member of the community approaches WIBCA with the idea of creating the Confronting Racism Discussion Group
Looking to the Future
As the organization looked to continue its growth and expansion well into the future, several pivotal changes also took place:
- WIBCA launched its capital campaign to assist with renovations to the building, raising over 100K.
- WIBCA also created a free mentor-based Robotics Club with the goal of inspiring young Black students between the ages of 9 and 19 to explore science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), ventures, and projects.
- WIBCA revised its Constitution and Bylaws, with one of the most significant changes being the revision of the titles Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson to President and Vice-President. This ratified by a voted in the AGM of June 2021.