Mar 10 2010

Gary Pieters is a vice-principal with the Toronto District School Board. He also talks to the media. To date he has commented on: the VIA Rail Strike, Afro-centric schools, poverty, soccer altercations, summer employment, the Olympic torch relay and Barack Obama’s election victory.

Gary is also among the 160+ candidates who are part of the DiverseCity Voices media initiative.

You may not consider rolodexes to have personalities (and if you’re under 20, you’re likely Googling “rolodex” right now). But DiverseCity Voices does. It’s an online rolodex of experts from diverse backgrounds willing to speak to the media on a wide range of topics. It’s new, up-to-date and very much alive.

And, thank you mainstream Canadian media, you’re catching on! People from diverse communities can talk about more than just multiculturalism and ethnic celebrations.

We know the industry is changing. Journalists have less time and resources to do more. We get it. That’s why we’re doing this. Media shape the way we talk and think about leadership and have a tremendous power to encourage people to get involved where they live. DiverseCity Voices is about engaging citizens along their areas of experience – which is so often well beyond diversity and multiculturalism.

For members of the rolodex, DiverseCity Voices provides media training and will put their names forward to journalists as sources. To date, there are over 160 members, all visible minorities or immigrants. For the over 100 journalists who have signed on, in addition to an ongoing source of new voices, DiverseCity Voices provides a monthly e-alert featuring upcoming issues and events and individuals who can talk about them.

Candidates and journalists can sign up free at


Tina Edan is Communications Manager at Maytree.