On September 11 an opportunity to celebrate
Community matters. Because whether we like it or not, community defines who we are and how we’re defined by society.
And on Sunday, September 11, a cross-section of the Black and Caribbean community will gather at the Crowne Plaza Hotel to pay tribute to a group of men and women who have had a hand in firming up the foundation of what we have in place today.
These men and women, some French-speaking, others English-speaking, come from all walks of life and have distinguished themselves by the impact they have had on the lives of others.
Among them are judges, a medical doctor, a spiritual leader, educators, community workers, academics and entrepreneurs, all of whom share a common trait of excellence in their profession and calling, and commitment to our community. As such, all have earned the designation of Community Builders. And in shining the spotlight on them, the hope is that another generation of builders will be inspired to construct on what is already in place.
The event will be a gala celebration in every sense of the word, with an elaborate sit-down dinner punctuated by performances by some of the most inspiring artistes in the city at a gathering that is expected to bring together a wide cross-section of Montrealers.
But the evening’s attention will be focused on those who have gotten their hands dirty in the cause of personal development and the indirect consequence of community building.
Here’s the honor-rolls:
Me. Maryse Alcindor,
Me. Maryse Alcindor, a Haitian-born former educator who went on to establish a spectacular career in Law before serving on the Quebec Human Rights Commission. In 2005, she became the first
Black woman to attain the rank of deputy minister in the Quebec government when
she was named to serve under the Minister of Immigration and Cultural Communities. She also served as Associate Secretary General to the Ministère du Conseil Exécutif. She retired from public service in 2009, but continues to work in the community.
Noel Alexander dedicated at least three decades of his life to the cause of community development. As president of the Jamaica Association of Montreal he made education a priority and forged wide-ranging relationships with the various levels of government that benefitted many young people in the community.
Osborne Allen was one of the founders of the Cote des Neiges Child Care Centre when it was established 43 years ago. Over the years, Mr. Allen skillfully built the institution into an educational and community force, preparing generations of Montrealers to enter the school system and life.
Dr Clarence Bayne
played a major role in making Black theatre part of the cultural mosaic of Quebec, with the establishment of the Black Theatre Workshop. The Concordia University professor was also a founder of the Quebec Board Of Black Educators, and was foundational in the creation of the Black History Month Round Table in Montreal, as well as one of the oldest Black organizations in the country, The National Black Coalition of Canada.
Reverend Jim Bennett
Reverend Jim Bennett
has been a spiritual beacon for the community for well over 30 years. A rock of dependability and consistency at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, he has been there for the community through many special moments.
Margot Blackman has been a health care practitioner, an educator and community worker since her arrival in Montreal in 1961, In addition to training mutli-generations of nurses when she taught at Vanier College, Margot was relentless in her desire towards community development serving with Barbados House Mtl Inc. The Union United Church, The Negro Community Centre, Afro Can Newspaper, ASfro Canadian Newspaper and the Montreal Community CONTACT
Judge Daniel Dortelus
Early in his legal career, Judge Daniel Dortelus has been the lawyer of choice for many individuals and groups in the English-speaking Black community. His contributions to both sectors of the community has been unwavering.
Ivyline Fleming has been a constant presence on the frontlines of community work for decades. She became the first female president of the Jamaica Association of Montreal before founding the Jamaican Canadian Women’s League of Montreal about 23 years ago.
Victor Yip Hoi
Victor Yip Hoi is easily one of the community’s most respected men, having distinguished himself by always answering the call to lend a hand at the various events and activities that color our community throughout the year. He is the ultimate volunteer.
has been on the frontlines of community advocacy for decades. In addition to serving on multiple governmental committees on community-relations issues, his has been a strong voice advocating on behalf of immigrants and refugees.
Ms. Thelma Johnson
As founder of the Caribbean Pioneer Women of Canada, Ms. Thelma Johnson has been an inspiration to all women in Montreal. She is also a pioneer entrepreneur with one of the first hair dressing businesses in the community.
Avice Joseph’s forty four years as an elementary school teacher has made her a role model to hundreds of young Montrealers, but it’s the years of volunteer work she undertook outside the classroom that set her apart. She is responsible for establishing netball as an accredited sport in Quebec.
Oliver Jones is an internationally acclaimed icon of Jazz music, but he is also a local treasure for his lasting commitment to causes in the community, including the Union United Church.
For three to four decades, Dan Philip has become the face of Human Rights advocacy and Justice in Montreal. Through his organization, the Black Coalition of Quebec has been a formidable voice in defense of the defenseless and an advocate for the vulnerable.
Dr. Nii Quao
Dr. Nii Quao has kept a steady hand in keeping the community healthy. The highly respected health practitioner is a father to most of his patients and a brother to others. His expertise and commitment to care has been a source of comfort to the community for decades.
When he established the first West Indian-type grocery store in Montreal in the early 1970s, Raymond Ramdas was also setting a trend to heighten the popularity of Caribbean-type food products. Today, jerk chicken and West Indian curry dishes are the rage. Even in difficult times, Ramdas and his family are doing their utmost to keep the store open.
Celitard Louis-Toussaint has devoted a lifetime to the elevation of Haitians, by extension, all people of African descent in Montreal. She served as executive director Maison d’Haiti since 1981 until her recent retirement.
Montreal born, Juanita Westmoreland Traore has elevated to the highest echelon of academia and the Quebec legal system but has always been able to keep her feet firmly planted in the community, serving as a source of inspiration to others..
After being called to the Quebec Bar in 1969 she worked as a university professor and served on various boards and commissions including the Quebec Human Rights Commission before she was named Employment Equity Commissioner of Ontario then dean of the University of Windsor’s law faculty. She made history when she was appointed a Quebec Court judge in 1999, the first Black woman in the position. She has since retired.
In the midst of the presentations and formalities, the evening will be punctuated with performances by a line-up of exciting Montreal artists. Among those who are expected on stage are West Can Folk Performers Company, The African Gospel Choir, Martin Albino, Wendy Davidson, Rashyd Wilson and Claire Jean Charles. Tickets and information at: Montreal Community Contact 514 489-4540 or Judy Ushering 514-249 6432