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Dr. Maya Angelou

 

By: CJ Ramsaran

Dr. Maya Angelou had an extraordinary wit and her literary style was passionate and profound in every sense ; some would say her style was irrefutable.

Angelou’s poetry and essays recanted stories of her personal life experiences and struggles.  Experiences and struggles of family, friends, love, trust, inequality, heartache, pain, inspiration, and spirituality which Angelou’s fan base could relate to.  Angelou’s stories resisted stereotypes and broke barriers leaving us with a number of valuable lessons:

  • She taught women to be bold and fearless, yet she taught them to maintain a classy and sophisticated demeanor.  
  • She taught men to be strong and to respect women.
  • She taught men and women alike there is a whole world out there and encouraged us to explore it.  
  • She advocated for change and encouraged us to do the same.
  • She taught us about spirituality and being thankful.
  • She taught us to be proud of and to respect who we are.

Dr. Maya Angelou your legacy is phenomenal and we thank you for the lessons you have bestowed upon us.

May the ancestors welcome you with open arms and may your sweet soul rest in eternal peace.

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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.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

July 18, 1918 – December 5, 2013

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!

There are two kinds of talent, man-made talent and God-given talent.  With man-made talent, you have to work very hard. With God-given talent, you just touch it up once in a while.

~Pearl Bailey~

By: CJ Ramsaran

Knowledge by definition is “Information and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject or what is known in a particular field or in total; facts and information.”

The Internet is where the greater part of the population goes to gather information.  It is a vast wealth of knowledge. It is free and open to all; and has been so since it’s inception.  Despite this, US Congress and House of Representatives are currently reviewing legislation which could see an end to the Internet as we know.

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) are Bills intended to stop copyright infringement, and will target foreign infringing  sites.

SOPA is primarily supported by media companies; inclusive of, but not limited to movie studios, record labels, TV networks, and book publishers.

In their current state, both SOPA and PIPA raise serious concerns around false accusations, and censorship.  They are valid concerns and warrant further investigation prior to each bill being passed into law.

January 18, 2012 is “Go Dark” day.  It is a movement intended to stop US Congress from moving forward with legislation that may see an end to the internet as we know it, as well as certain fundamental rights and freedoms. 

Craigslist, Wikipedia (English Language), and WordPress are among those who are supporting the Go Dark movement.  They have blacked out their websites; taking a stance to ban censorship of the web.

It is pertinent we educate ourselves of the consequences of SOPA and PIPA.  Only then can we understand the impact both Bills will have on our lives and the way in which we engage and utilize the Internet.

By: CJ Ramsaran

In many Cities, the word “community” is often chewed up and spat out; discarded like chewing tobacco…. but not here, not in the City of Toronto.

For Torontonians, community is not about where you live; your postal code is of insignificant value.  Community is who we are; the way we think; what we do, and how we do it; it’s a state of mind!

With that said, it’s only fitting the City of Toronto would host Manifesto – A Festival of Community & Culture.

The 4th Annual Manifesto; a week-long showcase of Toronto’s very talented and precious gems, from the music and arts community concludes today.

The main event; a much-anticipated day-long neighbourhood block party is being held right in the heart of the City at Yonge-Dundas Square. 

Before the curtain call; it’s time for you to head on out to Yonge-Dundas Square and show your community pride & spirit in support of our local artists!

Let’s get this party started right…..

For more details on Manifesto click here.

By: CJ Ramsaran

132 years – now that’s a long time.  Founded in 1879, the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) has been a community act; and has had a rich, vibrant heritage in unison with the City of Toronto, the community which it resides.

Each summer, commencing 18 days prior to, and including Labour Day, the CNE, also referred to as The Ex, has become not only Toronto’s, but Canada’s largest annual community event; attracting a reported 1.3 million people each year.

For some, it has become an annual family tradition.  A tradition where together as a family, they muse over the various midway rides to partake of; the games to be played; the prizes to be won; the various performances of the arts to observe; the tasty delight of international foods; the shopping to be done; all leading up to the much anticipated grand finale….. a three (3) day air show, and of course the fireworks!!!

Labour Day marks the unofficial end to summer…. but before the summer ends, head on out and enjoy the 132nd annual CNE!  It has been and continues to be one of Toronto’s many treasures!

For more information on the CNE click here.

 

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By: CJ Ramsaran

Toronto, I’m sure you’ve heard by now, is a diverse, multi-cultural City. 

Within the City of Toronto, you will find many smaller communities.   Each known for their lush and vibrant heritage, and each full of community pride and spirit!

Greek Town, situated along Danforth Ave (between Broadview & Jones Ave) has been centre stage for the past 17 years as host to North America’s Premier Greek Festival – Taste of the Danforth. 

The 2010 Taste of the Danforth is brought to you by Pilaros; running  from Friday, August 6th – Sunday, August 8th.

Take a stroll over to the Danforth this weekend to enjoy the best in Greek Cuisine.  The sizzle & thrill of the grill: gyros, shish kabobs, and the best souvlaki and spanakopita (spinach pie) you’ll find outside of Greece itself.  You will also be able to indulge in a variety of savoury Thai Cuisine while you are there.

While you are walking along the Danforth, be sure to take in the various performing arts; live bands, music, belly dancing, and other cultural events the street festival has to offer. 

You will be enlightened by the warm, friendly Greek hospitality and by the many festivities waiting to be unearthed at the 2010 Pilaros Taste of the Danforth. 

 

For more details visit:

Taste of the Danforth OR Greek Town Toronto

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