Etobicoke residents are invited to celebrate Black History Month on Feb. 22 at the inaugural Jean Augustine Legacy Award Dinner – a gala launch for a newly established award and scholarship honouring the first African-Canadian woman elected to Parliament.
Augustine, who served as Etobicoke-Lakeshore MP from 1993 to 2005, said she was “tremendously honoured” at being recognized by LAMP Community Health Centre as the namesake for its Jean Augustine Legacy Award, and by Humber College for its separate scholarship of the same name.
“To me, it’s a reminder about what Canada is all about. I came here as a young woman from Grenada with just a small suitcase and $25, and started doing domestic work in the home of a Canadian family. And now, here I am 50-something years later with an award named after me,” she laughed. “Mine is a Canadian story. You work hard, you roll your sleeves up, you find people who are doing things in the community, and you move along with them.”
Augustine did more than just “move along” with the crowd, though – by most accounts, she led them.
Hailed by many as a trailblazer, Augustine is responsible for bringing Black History Month to Canada as an MP back in 1995, has served as president of the Canadian Congress of Black Women, chair of the Metro Toronto Housing Authority, and is currently Ontario’s Fairness Commissioner. She has sat on the boards of the National Black Coalition of Canada, York University, the Hospital for Sick Children, the Donwood Institute, and Harbourfront, and also received the Order of Canada in 2009 in recognition of her dedication to serving youth, single mothers and newcomers.
With the Jean Augustine Legacy Award and Scholarship, representatives from both LAMP and Humber said they hope to honour Augustine’s accomplishments, while at the same time inspiring others to walk in her esteemed footsteps.
“Jean’s achievements and contributions reflect a life of passion and conviction, dedication and service that serve as an inspiration to us all,” said LAMP’s community relations officer Jasmin Dooh, noting that it was LAMP’s community relations committee who came up with the idea of creating an award in Augustine’s honour. “With this award, we’re looking for individuals who, like Jean, have overcome barriers to live the values of social justice, who champion positive social change, who have integrity and compassion, and who really want to make a difference.”
Nominees for LAMP’s Jean Augustine Legacy Award must either live, work or volunteer in the Etobicoke-Lakeshore area. The winner will be recognized at LAMP’s annual Awards of Merit on June 3.
Meanwhile, with Humber’s $1,500-Jean Augustine Legacy Scholarship – the first of which was handed out this past fall – the college is hoping to merge their shared mission with Augustine to help develop “broadly educated, highly skilled and adaptable citizens who significantly contribute to the educational, economic, and social development of their communities,” said Wanda Buote, principal of Humber’s Lakeshore Campus.
“(Jean) recognizes that supporting people in our communities that may not traditionally access education and work is an important part to achieving this mission,” she said. “Humber is honoured to support a scholarship in Jean’s name, as it will aid others to continue on her legacy.”
The first recipient of the scholarship, Buote added, is Etobicoke School of the Arts alum Sarah Gribeauval, who is currently studying towards her Bachelor of Music at Humber. A well-known volunteer in the Etobicoke-Lakeshore community, Gribeauval has volunteered with the South Etobicoke Youth Assembly and the St. Francis Table soup kitchen, among others.
“She’s just a fabulous young woman – energetic, bright, smart. I think she’s going places,” Augustine gushed. “I’m so glad we could help her, and I’m looking forward to helping many more young people like her.”
Both the LAMP award and Humber scholarship will be officially launched on Saturday, Feb. 22 at the Jean Augustine Legacy Award Dinner at Humber College’s Lakeshore Commons, 3199 Lake Shore Blvd. W.
Starting at 6:30 p.m., the gala event will kick-off with a reception and silent auction, followed by dinner, cash bar, and dancing to musical entertainment from contemporary jazz pianist Eddie Bullen and Juno Award-winning soul singer Liberty Silver.
Tickets are $100 per person. Proceeds from the event will go to the Jean Augustine Legacy Scholarship fund.
For more information, call Jasmin Dooh at LAMP at 416-252-6471 ext. 308.
Dooh promises a night of “fun, food and friendship” – with an emphasis on fun.
“LAMP has a lot of values and principles, and one of them, believe it or not, is that celebration helps people belong and stay connected to the community, so we thought this event will be an excellent opportunity for people to connect with each other, celebrate Black History Month, and feel like they belong to something great,” she said.
- How to nominate someone for LAMP’s Jean Augustine Legacy Award
Starting in March, nominations can be submitted by filling out An Awards of Merit form on the LAMP website. Nominations can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or dropped off in writing to LAMP CHC, 185 Fifth St., by submitting the name, address and contact information of the person you would like to nominate, along with details on their contributions to the Etobicoke Lakeshore community.
For more information, go to www.lampchc.org
- How to apply for Humber College’s Jean Augustine Legacy Scholarship (value $1,500)
Presented to a student from the Etobicoke-Lakeshore area entering into any Humber post-secondary program for the first time, the recipient must be able to demonstrate financial need and how they are working to overcome obstacles in the pursuit of their educational goals, as well as participate in his or her local community.
Applications are to be accompanied by the following documentation: two letters of reference, a letter of approximately 250 words on “what I have done to overcome obstacles in pursuit of my educational goals and how I have participated in my local community”, plus a transcript.
For more information, go to www.humber.ca/financial-aid/humber-scholarships