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“Where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”

~Frederick Douglass

 BHM2

By: CJ Ramsaran

February marks Black History Month and it is a time for all of us to reflect on and to learn from a painful and deplorable past. 

The many stories we’ve heard, not just of savagery and oppression, but of bravery and triumph must be told to ensure such a tragic and unjust past will never be repeated.

It is with certainty we cannot change the past, but we can all strive for a unified future – one of respect and dignity for all of humanity. 

 A Happy Chinese New Year to you!

 

YearOfTheHorse

Kung Hei Fat Choy!

 

By: CJ Ramsaran

It’s a sad, sad day here on earth.  Nelson Mandela’s passing has caused an outpouring of emotion.  As South Africa and the world mourn their beloved Madiba, the angels in heaven are rejoicing.

 

Mandela we thank you for having the courage that so few ever could.

We thank you for your selflessness.

We thank you for your fight to ascertain peace between blacks and whites.

We thank you for your fight to unite humanity.

We thank you for your quest to end poverty.

 We thank you for your determination and perseverance.

We thank you for your passion that burned within.

We thank you simply for being you.

 

Madiba, you have left a footprint on the hearts of many the world over.  May your voice echo in our ears for a lifetime and may your spirit forever be with us.  You may be gone from this world, but you will never be forgotten.  May the ancestors greet you with open arms Madiba.  Rest now, forever in eternal peace.

By: CJ Ramsaran

Many before us have paid the ultimate price and sacrifice by giving their lives in defense of, and in honour of this great country. 

Today, we also pay tribute to the men and women enrolled in the military and to those on current tours of duty –  they too have paid a price.   They selflessly give of themselves to defend our rights, our freedoms, and our honour.

Remembrance Day… Lest We Forget!

The Honourable Lincoln MacCauley Alexander

He inspired and motivated a City and a Country.

He was a role model to our youth; and he led by example.

He was a man well before his time.

May his soul R.I.P.

By: CJ Ramsaran

One would expect to see masqueraders, revelers, and steel pan drums at the 2012 Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival, formerly and still affectionately known as Caribana to many.  One would also expect to see any number of random faces in the crowd of a million plus parade goers; yet in the midst of it all, one of those not so random faces stood out in the crowd – that face belongs to Canadian Olympic Athlete Susan (Sue) Stewart.

Stewart played for the Canadian Women’s Basketball team at the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia, where the team finished 11th overall.  She is also known for her representation of Canada at the FIBA World Championship, the PanAm Games, and the FISU World Student Games.

Stewart was making great strides in her basketball career and was on top of her game when tragedy struck in April, 2005.  Stewart suffered a head injury resulting in extended hospital stays and has required ongoing rehabilitation over the past seven years.  The road to recovery has been long, however, Stewart’s will and determination has propelled her forward in her recovery.

Stewart, like many attending the 2012 Caribana parade was introduced to the festival as a child.  “I remember my parents used to take us, we loved to see the spectacular costumes and there was food galore.”  Stewart lets out a chuckle as she says “I remember when the parade used to be on University Ave. – they used to turn down the music when they passed by the hospital so the noise wouldn’t be too loud for the patients.” Stewart also affirms “the parade became such a large event it had to be moved to the Lakeshore, and it continues to grow each year.”  “I have fond memories of the parade, those were the good old days” Stewart conveys. “People didn’t let things bother them; they came out to enjoy the Caribbean culture – everyone was there to have a good time.”

Some family traditions fade as the years go by, but for Stewart and her family 2012 proved to be a walk down memory lane.  Stewart, accompanied by her father, sister, niece and nephew made their way along the parade route, where she reminisced of Caribana days gone by, and optimistically looks toward the future of new traditions to come.  Stewart who is of Jamaican heritage wishes for her niece and nephew (the next generation) to embrace the spirit of Caribana. “We need to celebrate who we are – we can’t deny our heritage or culture”.

Today Stewart resides in her home-town of Mississauga, Ontario, where she has diligently taken on the role of community leader and advocate; proactively seeking out opportunities to make a difference and to impact lives wherever and however she can.

Stewart is a Mississauga Sports Hall of Fame inductee and she actively serves on the Mississauga Sports Council’s Board of Directors.  In 2009 and 2010 Stewart Chaired the Sports Council’s Annual Sports Awards Dinner, and in 2011 she went on to Chair Sports Week.

Stewart currently serves as Coordinator, Sports Ministry for Praise Cathedral Worship Centre (PCWC), where she works with young men and women from the community with a primary goal in mind – to keep them engaged in something productive and proactive which will ultimately keep them off the streets. “If I change one of these lives for the better, my work here is done.” says Stewart.

Stewart is also an ambassador and public speaker for One Voice One Team, founded by former Toronto Argonauts player Orlando Bowen.  One Voice One Team is an educational platform which teaches youth to make cognitive decisions to garner success in their personal lives and their communities.  The teachings and principles of One Voice One Team are simple: Self Respect, Work Hard, Overcome Adversity, Lead by Example, and Excellence; better known by the acronym S.W.O.L.E.™.

If all these hats weren’t enough, Stewart also took on the role of Assistant Coach for the Ryerson Rams Women’s Basketball Program during the 2011/2012 season.

Stewart’s passion for basketball remains – she’s just taken her game off the basketball court and into her community.  Her passion and leadership resonates in all she does and is echoed in her words “my community has given so much and done so much for me; and to whom much is given, much is required.”

By: CJ Ramsaran

It’s that time of year again Toronto!  The Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival, more affectionately known as “Caribana” is fully upon us!!! 

Over this weekend, the City of Toronto can expect to see over a million folks flocking to its streets and into its various venues.  All eager to indulge in the rich, vibrant culture of the Caribbean paired with the excitement of palancing down the Lakeshore as they follow the route of what may very well be North America’s largest street parade.

With such an influx of people in the City, it’s with certainty all venues hosting Caribana events will be packed to capacity.  Keeping this in mind, don’t be alarmed if someone accidentally steps on your shoe or toe, and if you get the occasional push or shove, take it with a grain of salt and carry on. 

Over this weekend, please leave all negative attitudes, chips on your shoulder, and unresolved quarrels at home.  Don’t let ignorance get the better of you.  Caribana is about culture, family, community pride and unity, so let’s all come together as one. 

This weekend, let’s all be safe and have fun.  Remember to keep the peace & stop the violence!

145 Years Strong…

Happy Canada Day 2012!

By: CJ Ramsaran

Happy International Women’s Day to you… yes you!

Today we pay homage to you, and so many other wonderful women like you.  Women whom have impacted our lives; whom have given us strength and whom have encouraged us along the way.

You, the woman whom has overcome adversities and struggles to be where you are today. You the woman whom has made a difference and impacted change in so many ways. 

You, the woman whom has endured and whom continues to pave the way.

Today is your day, and without question, it is well earned and well deserved!

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