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Six Canadians of Jamaican heritage are among 14 persons, who will receive the prestigious Harry Jerome Awards at a ceremony to take place on April 24 at the Toronto Congress Centre.
The award, named in honour of the Canadian record-breaking sprinter and Olympian, the late Harry Jerome, is presented annually by the 28-year-old Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA), to recognise and honour excellence by African Canadians in a variety of disciplines.
The Jamaicans being honoured are: businesswoman Delores Lawrence who will receive the Business Award; Hamlin Grange, the President’s Award; Michael Chambers, the Arts Award; Dr. Lisa Robinson, the Health Sciences Award; Aaron Brown, the Athletics Award; and Stanley Grizzle, the Lifetime Achievement Award.
President of the BBPA, Jamaican-born Pauline Christian said all the awardees are very deserving and reflect the organisation’s 2010 banner, ‘Bold, Bright, Powerful and Able.’
“This year we will confer the honours of excellence to 14 outstanding achievers, who have capitalised on their opportunities, beat various and numerous odds and have paved the pathway with hope, promise and world class excellence, for many others to follow,” she stated.
Adding that the recipients represent excellence in its highest regard, Ms. Christian noted that they are a symbol of Afro-Canadian pride.
Ms. Lawrence, who is president and founder of Nursing and Homemakers Inc. (NHI), has been acknowledged as one of Canada’s top 100 entrepreneurs and is also a recipient of the Order of Ontario. The native of Ocho Rios, St. Ann, was recently named to the Ontario Judicial Council, which investigates complaints made by the public against provincially appointed judges and justices of the peace.
A former journalist who worked with several mainstream media outlets including the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Kingston-born Mr. Grange is now a diversity consultant, who has his own company, DiversiPro. An advocate for diversity in the workplace, he has been a member of the Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB) since 2004. The TPSB is a seven-member civilian body which oversees Canada’s largest municipal police force.
Another Kingstonian by birth, artist and photographer Mr. Chambers, was recently honoured by the National Film Board of Canada for his contributions to photography and social activism. The recipient of several arts awards, including the 2007 WORD Arts Award in photography and the 2000 Mosaic Image Award, Mr. Chambers’ works have been exhibited and published in a number of countries such as France, South Africa, the United States and of course, Canada.
Trained in Internal Medicine at the Toronto General Hospital, Dr. Robinson has done a lot of research in pediatrics. Canadian-born of Jamaican parentage, the doctor received her Pediatric Nephrology training at Duke University. In 2004, she was appointed the Canada Research Chair in Leukocyte Migration in Inflammation and Injury and in 2006, was promoted to Scientist in the Cell Biology programme. She is the recipient of many awards including the American Society of Transplantation Faculty Development Award; Fellow Research Award from the American Society of Pediatric Nephrology; and Teacher of the Year Award for Undergraduate Education.
Last year, athlete Mr. Aaron Brown won a silver medal in the 100-metres at the World Youth Championships in Italy, becoming the first Canadian to win a medal at those games. The winner of the 2009 Outstanding Youth Athlete of the Year, this super athlete, whose father is Jamaican-born and mother of Barbadian heritage, excels in basketball, football and track and field. He is a two-time Canadian national champion in the 100 and 200 metres and will head to the University of Southern California (USC) in September on a track and field scholarship.
The 92 year-old Mr. Grizzle is a former citizenship court judge who was born in Toronto to Jamaican parents. He has been recognised for his civil rights and labour union work and is the recipient of not only the province of Ontario’s highest honour, the Order of Ontario, but also the country’s highest honour, the Order of Canada. A park in Toronto is named after him.
The other awardees are: Kwesi Johnson, Academics; Ron Fanfair, Media; Winston La Rose, Community Service; Akwatu Khenti, Professional Excellence; Dr. Abdullah K. Kirumira, Technology and Innovation; Dr. Andrew Knight, Trailblazer Award; Saron Gebresellassi, Leadership Award; and Thomas Tewoldemedhin, Young Entrepreneur Award.