Thursday, March 13, 2014

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I am amazed at the names of the provinces and the positions held by my Brothers and Sisters in the African Diaspora in Canada.  I complained constantly about the winter which we are still enduring here in the Northeastern part of the United States.  I can imagine the snow, ice and cold temperatures north of me in Canada.  My politicians of note here in the United States are W. Wilson Goode, Deval Patrick, Condoleeza Rice, Anthony Williams and William Gray.  These individuals have established a legacy of success here.  My focus in this three part series is on our history makers in Canada.  A few of their stories follow.

Robert Davis was born in Toronto, Ontario in 1964.  He received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from York University.  He was one of six new councillors elected to the York City Council in the 1991 municipal election.  Mr. Davis was the first Black Canadian elected to the York Council in the City's 200 year history.  The city of York was created by the combination of several villages including the present day neighborhoods of Lambton, Mills and Weston.  Mr. Davis' main issues that he fought for were tenant advocacy, the restoration of rent control and gas tax financing.  He is a year younger than I am and I'm proud of his accomplishments.  I need to download a free version of Google Earth so I can look at his locations.

Mayann Elizabeth Frances was born in 1946.  She was the 31st Lieutenant Governor of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia.  Nova Scotia was the original home of the Mi'kmag nation of Native Canadians.  We see a mix of Native Canadians and people of African descent throughout Canada and the United States.  In our country, encounters with European settlers led to immense losses of life and land for Native peoples.  Miss Frances was the CEO of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission from 1999 - 2006.  She is a member of the African Orthodox Church.  This church was formed in the 19th Century for the African American community in the United States.  In 2008, she was awarded a Doctor of Human letters from the Mount Saint Vincent University.

George Rogers was born in Jamaica in 1958.  He immigrated to Canada in 1975.  I referenced in an earlier block that Afro-Canadian would not work as a term to cover all people of color in Canada.  In 1988, he received a certificate in local government studies from the University of Alberta.  In 1986, Mr. rogers joined the city of Leduc as an Assistant Treasurer.  In October 1998, he was elected mayor and was re-elected in October 2001.  Mr. Rogers has impressive legacy of achievement in Alberta.  He was also a member of the Legislative Assembly for the Leduc-Beaumont-Devon region.  French and English are the dominant languages in this province.  I congratulate Mr. Rogers for assimilating from his native Jamaica into the Canadian fabric of society.

The youngest member of Black Canadian politicians in my research was Yolande James.  She was born in 1977 in Quebec.  She is the first Black female member of the National Assembly of Quebec.  Yolande's parents emigrated from the Caribbean nation of St. Lucia and St. Vincent.  She represents the Caribbean Canadian portion of the African diaspora.  Ms. James represented the province of Nelligan in a by-election in 2004.  She was re-elected in 2007.  She was appointed the Minister of Immigration and Cultural Communications in the Cabinet of Quebec Premier Jean Charest in 2007.  I can imagine the pride that many immigrants to this country must feel when they see this young woman of Afro-Caribbean descent sitting in am immense seat of power.  I will post her picture on this blog as a sign of my respect.

I am really excited to post the next two parts of this series on Black Canadians.  I am learning a lot about the vast Canadian continent and some of the success that is being accomplished by members of the African diaspora in Canada.  For my interested readers, check out Donald Oliver, Vivian Barbot, Lennox Farrell and Maka Kotto.  I loved completing the research because it shows me that struggles here in the U.S. are replicated in Canada and throughout the world.  Have a Blessed Day!


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