Local leader receives national accolade
“This honour came about by just simply adding value to people, identifying with their needs, and treating them with the respect and the dignity they deserve,” and that’s Regina Oppon in a nutshell. The well-known local leader was included in the prestigious 100 Accomplished Black Women (ABC) book a few weeks ago.
Oppon, who has been in town for 10 years is active in promoting the Black Canadian diaspora. She is the Executive Director of Rehoboth Alliance, a local group founded in 2013 with a mandate to promote the healthy development of youth, women, and children's social, cultural, and emotional needs in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and Alberta. She also helps oversee the annual Black History Month Gala, and Black History Month essay contest for local schools, the Afro-Canadian Festival of Arts and Festival, programs for Black youth, plus other similar local events.
The 100 Accomplished Black Women publication is co-authored by Hon. Dr. Jean Augustine, the first Black MP in the Canadian Parliament, Dauna Jones-Simmonds, President of DEJS (Diversity) Consulting, and Dr. Denise O’Neil Green, the inaugural Vice President, Equity and Community Inclusion at Ryerson University, TO. The book is published by the Ontario-based 100ABCWomen non-profit group. The “goal of this informative and educational publication is to highlight, document, acknowledge, and support the accomplishments of Black Canadian women in terms of their social, educational, political, and professional accomplishments.”
Dr. Augustine nominated Oppon for inclusion in the 2020 edition. She first met her in 2018 when she was invited to be the keynote speaker at the local Black History Month Gala. She notes “Oppon is an impressive, community builder.”
“As I flew from Toronto to Fort McMurray for the 2018 event, I wondered if there were enough people in McMurray for the gala. I was so impressed to see the full house, and how Regina had me meeting the MP, the Mayor, and community decision-makers. They all had great respect for her, and I was impressed,” Dr. Augustine recalls.
“Her concern for the programs, and the communities she serves is amazing. She’s a pastor along with her husband, and to see the youth, and people, moved by her - I thought here’s a dynamic woman. I continued to follow her work, and followed-up with some people for references as we decided to include her. The 100 Accomplished Black Women book has a high-calibre criteria. We validate the inclusion, which shows in your work. You have to be a motivator to be included, and Regina definitely is one. She was top-knotch in terms of her work with the community at large, and Black women as well. She is able to move in all community circles – while advancing inclusion, and diversity for all.”
“In addition, her work goes beyond Fort McMurray. One of the things she was able to do was forge program partnerships in Calgary and few other surrounding areas. We push that too – find partners, and share your good work with others. She’s a real role model and a mentor, and a community builder,” Dr. Augustine said.
Oppon was delighted with the inclusion, and said she’s honoured.
“I believe in supporting, promoting, and in the advancement of Black women and girls, as well as helping organizations with activities helping these causes. Thank you to the 100 Accomplished Black Women organization for this honour.”