Interviewed by Patricia Wejr
Michele Alexander was born in St. Boniface, Manitoba. She moved to the United States in the early sixties after her parents divorced and her mother married an American. She returned to Canada in 1992 seeking a better life. At the time, she was a single parent, living on welfare. Her first job was with the City of Vancouver in the Equal Opportunity Employment Program. She worked for the City of Vancouver for 29 years, 23 of which were in bylaw enforcement. It took six years for Michele to obtain a permanent position with the City and her frustration with this resulted in her becoming active in CUPE Local 15, first as a shop steward. She was a union facilitator for 15 years and was CUPE BC’s diversity vice-president representing racialized workers for 12 years. Michele is active in the National Congress of Black Women Foundation and the Junior Black Achievement Awards.
Keywords: City of Vancouver, Equal Opportunity Employment Program; tokenism; bylaw enforcement; CUPE BC; union facilitator; COVID-19; The National Congress of Black Women Foundation (NCBWF); Junior Black Achievement Awards; diversity; racism; Abe Mortimer; Black history; Black History Month