First black Canadian host takes the lead
AMID A pandemic, economic instability and racial unrests of 2020, Maggie John recently stepped into a new role as the first black anchor of Context Beyond the Headlines.
John is a journalist based in Hamilton, Ont. Context is a weekly TV program launched in 2003 as Listen Up TV by founder and previous host Lorna Dueck. It explores news and current affairs from a Christian worldview. John interned with Listen Up, which included reporting from New York City during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
"It’s a great privilege" to take on this role, says John. "I feel this is an assignment from God, and I humbly accept the challenge. My goal is to encourage dialogue." John says she sees tremendous value in the multicultural makeup of Canada. "I love living in this country, and I think we’re selling ourselves short if we don’t reflect our diversity on the airwaves."
She acknowledges a type of "covert racism" she has experienced and overcome throughout her career, such as being "checked upon" at a retail store, sometimes not listened to in meetings, and "being addressed as ‘the coloured’ or ‘lovely black girl’ by viewers.
"As the Holy Spirit teaches me about the privilege that we’re given, I want to leave a better place for not just my children and grandchildren, but also for those who are watching, perhaps in Toronto housing where John herself grew up, thinking there’s no way they can be on TV or sit on a board."
Context is in a unique position to challenge the Church, says John. "The reluctancy of some to enter difficult conversations disheartens me because the Jesus we follow wants us to stand up for those who are oppressed. I’m speaking specifically to Christians because there is a higher expectation put on us as Christ followers." – HELENA SMRECK