The early 1970s was an important period of social change in Montreal’s Black communities as new organizations formed, taking place alongside older institutions founded in the early 1900s. This made for a vibrant scene of cultural, educational, and political activism, led by a wide array of community members. Often overlooked is the role that "communication activism" played during these years, which community educator and researcher Desirée Rochat explores in this talk. Through various media, Black leaders strove to ensure that information was widely circulated in their communities and that Black voices could be heard. One of the pioneering figures in this movement was Betty Riley.
While working as an office supervisor for a local cable TV company, she was prompted into action by the lack of television programming that reflected the realities or met the needs of the city’s Black residents. In 1971, she created the first Canadian TV show for Black audiences, and was one the first women in the country to work as a producer.