Laura Mae Lindo (She/Her/Elle)
Laura Mae Lindo earned both a Masters and PhD in Education, and was the Director, Diversity and Equity at Wilfrid Laurier University before becoming the Member of Provincial Parliament for Kitchener Centre. Laura Mae is an active community organizer, loves to write, and is drawn to music and creative advocacy, focusing her attention on supporting the most vulnerable communities in all that she does. She was the inaugural Chair of the Official Opposition’s Black Caucus in Ontario and holds both the Anti-racism and Equity as well as the Colleges and Universities critic portfolios. And, if you hand her a microphone, she will sing.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black History Month means a lot to me because I know that incorporating Black history into the narrative of our communities’ histories is something that requires intentional organizing, planning, and action. There is no other way to create the world that we want to see without dedicated attention to stories that have often been silenced in the hopes of one day being forgotten.
What are you most proud of accomplishing?
Believing in the power and guidance of my ancestors and community mentors who support and care for me, my family, and my work in community, I am proudest of having sung to my ancestors in the Chamber at Queen’s Park after concluding my speech in support of Bill 75, the Emancipation Month Act which declared August Emancipation Month in Ontario. This Bill passed with the support of ONDP, Green, Liberal, and Conservative party support – a first in Ontario’s history, and sits alongside a few other “firsts” for me. Shortly after my first election in 2018, I was told that I was the first Black person to be elected to Provincial or Federal government in Waterloo region and that it was the first time that Kitchener Center had ever sent a member of the Ontario NDP to Queen’s Park. That’s all super cool… but I did spend a lot of time wondering if, in the words of Beyoncé, they were “ready for this jelly.”
Describe a scene from your vision of the future for Waterloo Region and what allyship to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community can look like.
When I found out about these “firsts” I was both humbled and a little worried. If it took until 2018 to send a Black person to Queen’s Park, how much longer do we have to wait to be part of the leadership fabric in other tangible ways? That’s why my hope is that Waterloo Region will not stop at firsts, but will instead fight to ensure the inclusion of Black, Indigenous, racialized, queer and 2Spirit people become future representatives of the communities being served both Provincially and Federally. I imagine a space where allyship to 2SLGBTQIA+ communities as well as those fighting to survive on ODSP and OW becomes part of everyday leadership. That is what I mean when I fight to have more leaders lead from a place of love, care, and compassion.
What’s on your playlist right now?
I have introduced my children to Dalbello and lots of vault-worthy Prince (you’re welcome). I also have a playlist that my family made for my Daddy featuring all the songs he loved including theme songs to some of his favorite television programs. I miss him dearly, but I carry his spirit and his heart with me with the music my wee fam-jam rocks out to each and every day.