How the CK Nigerian Community started:
The birth of the CK Nigerian Community as an association was long overdue. Nigerians have been part of the Chatham-Kent community for over two decades. The few Nigerian families living in the Chatham area often gathered to socialize and celebrate events. Over time, more Nigerians chose to relocate to the Chatham-Kent through word of mouth about the community's positive characteristics and growing job opportunities. Our population also grew as Nigerian students enrolled at St. Clair College's Chatham Campus. Following the onset of the pandemic in 2020, many Nigerians have taken advantage of increased opportunities to work remotely and are relocating from the Greater Toronto Area to Chatham-Kent. Today, about fifty or more Nigerians reside in Chatham-Kent.
When a new Nigerian person moved to the Chatham-Kent in 2021, established Nigerians living in CK were contacted by the municipal Community Attraction & Promotion team to provide cultural connections and offer informal integration support. The encouragement and support offered by the municipality made the CK Nigerian Community a reality. Due to COVID-19 lockdowns, our monthly virtual meetings began in 2021 via Zoom. On June 3, 2022, the association was registered as a not-for-profit organization.
To support the well-being of all persons who identify as Nigerian living in Chatham-Kent, and promote CK as a place to live and thrive.
Commitment to Our Membership:
- Take care of one another
- Preserve our shared heritage
- Strengthen the next generation
- Contribute to the development of our new home community
- Volunteer our time and talents when needed
- Provide informal support to encourage integration so newcomers to Chatham-Kent who identify as Nigerian choose to stay
- Foster positive networking amongst Nigerians living in Chatham-Kent
- Celebrate and preserve a shared heritage through social occasions and educational offerings
- Support developing and implementing the Municipality of Chatham-Kent's Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Justice (DEIJ) Strategy
- Seek participation opportunities in our local community's events and programs
Current Activities and Achievements:
- Promoted social interactions and support the mental well-being of our members while the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions prevented large gatherings. In December 2021, we organized a non-contact end-of-year event to light up the season for families, especially children. To their delight, Santa Claus delivered gift baskets to their homes.
- On July 1, 2022, we celebrated Canada Day as an association at a community event at Kingston Park.
- On October 1, 2022, we celebrated the Nigerian Independence Day with a get-together.
- In October 2022, we applied for the first time for a Together CK Municipal Grant Program and were awarded funding to launch the association.
- Many of our members are volunteers in the following community organizations: CK Local Immigration Partnership (CK LIP), CK Immigrant Advisory Group (through CK LIP), Chatham- Kent Ontario Health Team's Anti-Black Racism/Anti-Oppression Working Group, CK LIP's Anti Racism Working Group, Habitat for Humanity, LINCK (Formerly Chatham-Kent Children's Services). Members also volunteer in faith-based organizations.
- Met with the municipal DEIJ representatives for collaborative efforts on ways to foster diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice initiatives in the community.
- Met with College Boreal to discuss opportunities for settlement and integration service enhancements.
Value to Chatham-Kent:
- We are a thriving community of persons who celebrate their cultural heritage while enriching our new home of Chatham-Kent with our time, skills, and talents.
- We actively participate in community members' civic, cultural, social, and moral welfare to foster growth and understanding while promoting sound citizenship principles.
- We facilitate a forum for open discussions on matters of community interest while avoiding debates on partisan politics and sectarian religion.
- We encourage members to serve our community without personal financial gains and promote high ethical standards in professional, public works, or private endeavors.
Those interested who identify as Nigerian can join the association by contacting Mr. Bookie Oludotun at +1 519.784.3293 or emailing Info@CKNigeria.ca.