Communications Advisor, Ontario and Prairie Region, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Before joining the public service, being the sole minority in spaces was not uncommon. I was born in Haiti and landed in the United States at age six. We moved to the small town of Flandreau in South Dakota, where my family was the only Black family. When our status as illegal immigrants resulted in a deportation order, my family fled to Canada. We first lived in a hostel in downtown Winnipeg. To make sure we did not fall behind in school, my mom thrifted English and math workbooks.
Later on, in orchestra and youth parliament spaces, my background would often be questioned by other students, teachers, and dignitaries. Subsequently, I’d be met with disbelief about my presence and ability. To this day, I am frequently the only person of colour in the room and it feels as though I hold the full weight of unspoken expectations placed upon us.
My micro-mission with the Diversity and Inclusion Office surprised and inspired me; I not only had the chance to work with a Black team lead, but multiple Black team members. It was hard to believe that I was part of a team where we had the ability to develop long-lasting diversity and inclusion programming that is supported at the executive level.
While creating the Lifting as You Lead program, I was given the chance to use my love and talents of public speaking, teaching, communications, and graphic design to reshape the work culture and uplift those often forgotten across the public service. Within a three-month micro-mission, I was given opportunities I thought I’d have to wait years for.
If there’s one thing I’d leave you with, aside from actively listening to your minority co-workers, it is a reminder to not limit yourself. Pursue development opportunities, especially if they seem unorthodox. Redefine what it means to be a public servant. Believe that diverse change is within reach.
Focused on diversity and inclusion, Biggie advocates for bettering the racial inequities in the federal public service.