Keren Tang is a public health advocate, community organiser and city builder. Her life is vested in communities. LCCMedia has interacted with Ms Tang since 2019 when we held our first Women’s Day Forum. Even though she was unable to attend, the support she gave us was significant. If you need help and unsure of where to know, Ms Tang will point you in the right direction. She is a powerful resource in the community for women. We can write so many things about Ms Tang, here is our summation about her: she is passionate. She is passionate and thoroughly invested in creating much more than ripples in municipal governance. City Council Candidate Keren Tang, is committed to seeing real change in the community. She has been tireless in her work to bring about positive experiences and change in the stories of regular Edmontonians. For this reason and more, we lend our unequivocal support to her candidacy.
Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am a public health advocate, community organizer, city builder, and your neighbour. I began my career as a teacher in a rural, Indigenous community. I have experience in public, private, and non-profit sectors and have worked with diverse communities and families. I am ready to be your City Councillor for Ward Karhiio.
Having spent time in both frontline and policy, working with both provincial and city governments, I want to facilitate a stronger bridge between what happens on the ground and the decisions made at the table. I want our leadership to reflect the changing demographics of our city. And I want to amplify the positive change that I was already supporting. These are the reasons why I decided to run for municipal politics, the level of government which is closest to the community and which has the most potential for impact that benefits all Edmontonians.
Why are you running for council? What are your top priorities?
I am running for council because I have both seen and experienced firsthand the impact municipal politics can have on community members and the importance of connecting community with politics. Council has great potential to benefit Edmontonians through reflecting the changing diaspora of individuals and communities within this city. I want to bring together the stories and experiences of Edmontonians in order to best make decisions at the table and have the most positive impact on all facets of our city.
My top priorities are community, economy, climate, all of which are based on community input, validation and constant engagement. With regards to community, I want to focus on community wellbeing and safety through leading discussions that focus on healing from trauma, racial inequity, and polarization, rather than blame. Edmonton is diverse, and through promoting community wellbeing in a manner which emphasizes both anti-oppression and healing, I hope to build a more inclusive, united city. From an economic perspective, I want to focus on priority-based budgeting to support focused and fair growth and our small businesses. Finally, when it comes to local climate solutions, I will focus on accessible transit options and community initiatives like tree planting, community gardens and tool libraries to promote a healthy and resilient environment for generations to come.
What happens if you do/don’t win?
I am passionate about public service and social impact. As such I will remain in the public sector and/or the social innovation sector. I will continue to work on a national strategy to support social infrastructure at a local level through other institutional and grassroots means, and will support social and technological innovation in the city in order to move our community forward.
Can you describe your plan for women and children?
I have worked extensively with women and children at both a grassroots and organizational levels. My work in teaching and community organizing with organizations like the South Asian Women’s Community Centre gave me experience with youth, specifically girls and young women. I have also served on boards for national organizations which focus on women and children such as the Girls Action Foundation, as well as spending time in policy development with the Ministry of Status of Women.
These experiences have given me a unique perspective in both policy and community initiatives related to women and children, and have given me the tools and thinking about applying and practicing gender-based analysis lens in policy and services at a local level. My own lived experience as a mother has also contributed to my perspective in focusing on women and children as the foundation to our city. My vision is to create a city which centres on children (see this op-ed about child-friendly cities that I wrote several years ago) and a city where women don’t have to fear for their safety.
What will you do to tackle problems of addiction and homelessness?
Addiction is a healthcare issue under the jurisdiction of the provincial government, and coming from a public health background I understand the intersections between mental health, addiction and homelessness. When tackling the issues of addiction and homelessness in our city is it important to facilitate accessible services and focus on building inclusive programs which are available for all. My experience working at the frontline of housing initiatives and my time as project manager of the City of Edmonton Recover Urban Wellness initiative has informed the actions I want to take to address this issue on council, including creating a peer-to-peer community care network in conjunction with professional care in order to support and keep people housed.
Are you happy with Edmonton’s infrastructure?
There is a disparity across the city, including crumbling infrastructure in the mature neighbourhoods of Ward Karhiio. This reflects the need for a renewed focus on innovation and efficiency in relation to public services. We need to ensure our basic, most essential services and infrastructure are not crumbling around us, so that we can take care of everyone. Ward Karhiio neighbourhoods must not be left behind.
What will you change about unemployment?
Edmonton has a strong community of innovators, and we as a city need to create the conditions for them to stay, grow, and thrive. Reducing administrative burden on city processes such as permitting, reinvigorating economic infrastructure and resources such as the Edmonton Research Park, and supporting supporting grassroots and people led economic development projects to create more pathways for the private sector to invest in Edmontonians are some of the ways for our economy to continue hiring and retaining talents. Moreover, as our city grows and we form partnerships within the region for economic development and service collaboration, we need to maintain the integrity of jobs in the public sector.
How important is climate change and what will you do to make sure climate justice is at the forefront?
Climate action is one of the core pillars of my campaign and a top priority of mine in ensuring a sustainable way forward for our city. We are already experiencing the effects of climate through heat waves, smoke advisories and droughts, and the decline in infrastructure and quality of life which climate change is causing will cost us both socially and financially. Taking on climate change is urgent and must be a priority for City Council. I aim to focus on local climate solutions, co-created with diverse communities, to mitigate the impacts of climate change at local level, making sustainable choices for Edmontonians more accessible.
What books inform your knowledge? What do you do for your mental health?
Palaces for the People, Braiding Sweetgrass, Decolonize Wealth are some of the books on my nightstand.
Painting, Lego, and bike rides with my daughter are my self-care and mental health go-to because they remind me of what’s most important in life.
Share a quote or a poem that means something to you.
“Power concedes nothing without demand.” – Frederick Douglass
Where can we learn more about you
Please visit www.kerentang.ca or catch me on social media @kerentangyeg (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook).