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Project seeks to connect targeted Central Alberta Black Muslim women with mental health services

‘Being both Muslim, Black and a woman puts multiple targets in their backs’
Sadia Anwar (left) and Dieulita Datus are directors with Ubuntu — Mobilizing Central Alberta. (Contributed photo).

Connecting Black Muslim women in Central Alberta who have been targeted by haters with mental health supports is the goal of a local non-profit group.

“To be Muslim is one thing, to be a Black woman is one thing, but the intersectionality of being both Muslim, Black, and a woman puts multiple targets on their backs… especially here in Alberta,” said Parisa Boroumand, program cultural co-ordinator for the local non-profit Ubuntu — Mobilizing Central Alberta.

The Red Deer-based group is raising awareness about the importance of mental health supports for Black Muslim women in this area through a project called Resilience and Intersectionality in Ethos.

Ubuntu — Mobilizing Central Alberta is partnering with Black Women United YEG, which received a $75,000 from the provincial government grant, for a project designed to help these women access community mental health resources

As a first step, impacted women are invited to come and share experiences on Friday at Cronquist Tea House from 4-8 p.m. The event will feature guest speakers and facilitated conversations about what challenges exist in accessing appropriate mental health services and what’s needed to overcome them.

The Resilience and Intersectionality in Ethos project seeks to identify healthcare providers that specialize in helping Muslim people, such as doctors and psychologists that understand Islam.

“It should not be another thing the patient has to explain during their time. We will start an open conversation at our event and provide attendees with resources we have identified,” said Boroumand.

She added that multiple incidents of gender/race-based attacks on Black Muslim women have happened throughout the province. Attacks in the Red Deer area have, so far, been verbal, she added, but many women have been hesitant to report them to police, feeling they wouldn’t be taken seriously.

An emailed release from Ubuntu states: The disproportion of Black Muslim women being attacked “is distressingly jarring.” As Black Muslim women were found to experience 70 per cent of gendered Islamophobia, “we carry the brunt of the advocacy that comes along with it…

“We are constantly told: Black women are so strong. Black women are so resilient. Black women are so powerful. Yes, we are. But we are also tired. There is an immense and inherent injustice in not only experiencing brutal and extreme forms of violence but also being one of the only voices speaking up about such violence.”

The project’s ultimate goal is to create an action plan that will help connect low-income racialized and Muslim women to services.

For more information about the project, please email

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Lana Michelin

About the Author: Lana Michelin

Lana Michelin has been a reporter for the Red Deer Advocate since moving to the city in 1991.
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