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For the 19th year in a row, the City of Toronto observed Bob Marley Day on February 6 with the occasion used to support earthquake ravaged Haiti through a ‘One Love for Haiti’ fundraising concert.
At the Bob Marley Day Awards presentation held at City Hall on Friday (February 5), Toronto’s Mayor, His Worship David Miller, read the Bob Marley Day proclamation to an audience, which included Marley’s widow, Rita Marley and daughter Sharon; Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, George Ramocan and Mrs. Ramocan; and the Consul General of Haiti, Dr. Eric Pierre.
The Mayor asked eight-year-old Niya Betty, who was celebrating her birthday on the day and who, along with her sister Justice, had donated C$800 to the Haiti relief effort, to read the proclamation with him. The words are:
“Whereas Robert Nesta Marley was born on February 6, 1945, and in his 36 years created a legacy of socially observant music which continues to inspire hope and acceptance around the world.
Bob Marley’s brand of reggae music, both powerful and distinct, captivated people of all cultures and continues to be instantly recognizable around the world. His profound influence on the musical and cultural landscape earned him a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and changed the history of popular music.
Through his music, Bob Marley became an advocate for human rights and an international ambassador for peace. His courage to speak out against oppression, poverty, slavery and apartheid earned him a Peace Medal of the Third World from the United Nations and the Order of Merit from his home country of Jamaica.
Now therefore, I, Mayor David Miller, on behalf of Toronto City Council, do hereby proclaim February 6, 2010 as “Bob Marley Day” and join with Torontonians to salute a great musician and humanitarian.”
After being presented with a copy of the proclamation, Rita Marley, who was in Toronto to perform at the concert, said “our hearts go out to Haiti especially the children in Haiti, because the youth are our future.”
She presented copies of her book, ‘No Woman No Cry’ to Attorney-at-law Courtney Betty, who proposed the idea of Bob Marley Day in Toronto, and Mayor Miller, who said he is proud that Bob Marley Day is being used to support the people of Haiti.
The Jamaican Consul General, in his remarks, said that Marley’s messages are still relevant today and many people, no matter their discipline, can identify with his passion, his cause and his message.
He also lauded the Betty sisters for donating the money, which they were going to use during their spring break vacation. “It was said that it’s not the village who raises the children, but the children who raise the village and this is one good example of that statement. Here are children who are pacesetters in setting the example for many,” said the Consul General.
Bob Marley awards were presented to one company and seven individuals who have made significant contributions in Toronto, “reflecting the philosophy of Bob Marley.”
Among them were President of the Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA) Pauline Christian; and Member of the Toronto Police Services Board, Hamlin Grange, who are Jamaican-born.