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Few are aware that a Montréaler played key role in expanding British colonial rule across Africa. Sir Édouard Percy Girouard rose to fame by helping Britain conquer Sudan.
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Ask most Canadians about black history and they'll tell you about slavery in America, victories of the Civil Rights Movement and the giants who led it. But what about Canada? Mathieu Da Costa, a renowned translator hired by Samuel de Champlain, was the first recorded black person in the country.
For too long, the achievements of our community were rarely listed in text books, showcased in film, or shared with a wide audience. Black Canadians have come to expect their stories to be ignored in Canadian history.
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My Jamaican Grandparents came to Canada in 1967, just after new immigration laws allowed entry on the basis of a new merit-based points system. My entire life, the Jamaican-Canadian trajectory story from their humble Caribbean beginnings, to the United Kingdom where they met as students, and finally to Canada with their four young children for opportunities they could not afford in Jamaica, has been etched into my conscience as a constant reminder of how far our family has come, to seize the opportunities and carve out the legacy that is now well underway.
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But does he make a good argument?
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Canada is a better place to live and a freer and more equitable society because of the long history of oppressed communities coming together and saying a better world is possible, and fighting to make it happen -- not just for themselves, but for the entire community and in solidarity with other oppressed groups.
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Did you know that the mathematician who calculated the trajectories for NASA's Apollo 11 flight to the Moon was an African-American woman? Her name is Katherine Johnson. Thanks to the movie Hidden Figures, her story, and that of two other brilliant African-American women, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, is finally being told.
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I'm not sure who is advising the Black Lives Matter Toronto chapter. Social justice should be about resolving issues that exist and preventing new ones from popping up. Regressive justice and the approach of BLMTO seems to be creating division. They're stepping on others and provoking controversy. Making such outlandish commentary and actions, they become their own worst enemy.
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The City of Toronto's recent punitive measure of cutting the annual Afrofest festival down to one day from its original two has made me question how we evaluate this "within reason." What is the threshold of noise, traffic congestion, number of complaints and general inconvenience one should tolerate before the city has to put its foot down?
When he spoke about some of the worst hate crimes experienced by black people, Chris Rock made sure to let these stars know that our ancestors were "too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematographer". How did they react to the "grandmother swinging from a tree"? Laughter!
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A few years ago I decided to embark on a backpacking trip across Europe for two months. Towards the end of my travels, I found myself at the Sisteen Chapel in Rome, Italy. As I was standing there, enchanted by this insanely crazy masterpiece, I felt a soft whisper perk the tiny hairs on the back of my neck.
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Her appearance left us "clueless" as to its intent...
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