The Harry Jerome Awards

25 Feb 2007

Celebrating 25 years of Black Canadian Achievement

  >> (Left to right) The Hons. Jean Augustine, Mary Ann Chambers, and Alvin Curling.
  >> Governor General Michaëlle Jean greeting.

Many are called, but few are chosen and on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the Harry Jerome Award’s, the Black Business Professional Association marked this milestone by honouring a few good men and women serving our community.  The theme of the evening, “Success Runs through our Race” accurately described the accomplishments of all the award winners. From Academic Award winner Andrew Brown to the Leadership Award winner Tolu Taiwo Shannon Quadri whose tear-filled speech touched us all. Not to be forgotten were the Business Award winner Chief Emmanuel Mbulu and Young Entrepreneur winner Rayonne Caesar-Chavannes.

Past Harry Jerome Award winner, Ben Johnson was on hand to witness Brittnee Habbib accept the Athletics Award while Professional Excellence Award winner, Staff Superintendent Peter Sloly was so popular that he had not one, but two introductions before receiving his award. Arts, Media and Entertainment winner Farley Flex expressed the overall sentiments of the award winners saying, “ It [the Harry Jerome Awards] represents the foundation of our community, it fosters entrepreneurship, it fosters dreams and it fosters inspiration and nothing can replace that.... it’s so important that we inspire young people.”

The highlight of the evening however was the inspiring address by Her Excellency The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean. Her Excellency’s speech focused on timely issues within the community while imploring all of us and especially the youth “to not become victims to circumstance.”  Her Excellency also stressed working together as a community to achieve a common good, and more importantly identified young Canadians as being at the forefront for ensuring that everyone has equal opportunity to flourish.

Other notable dignitaries attending the Harry Jerome Awards included Mayor David Miller, Opposition Leader John Tory, and councilor Michael Thompson.

Premier Dalton Mcguinty rounded out the dignitaries and added to the celebratory mood of the evening by announcing that Queen’s Park would be funding the scholarship program with $250,000. According to the Chair of the Harry Jerome Scholarhip Fund, Stanley Julien, this will lead to an increase in the scholarship amounts for future scholars.  Mayor David Miller reflected on the awards significance stating, “the awards are an incredible inspiration and as mayor [he] would like to ensure that every young person in Toronto has real opportunity.”

This year was also a first, with double award recipients for the Trailblazer Award shared by Jean Augustine and Alvin Curling for community service. Jean Augustine shared her thoughts on receiving this honour saying “I’ve received many awards over my lifetime, [for] over 40 years in community service and tonight this award is deeply appreciated.”

Other 2007 Harry Jerome Award Recipients included:

Community Service Award- Richard Lord

Lifetime Achievement Award- Dr. Ouida Marina Wright

Lifetime Achievement Award- Leebert A. Wright

Technology and Innovation Award- Dr. Victor E. Gooding

President’s Award- Mary Tidlund

Health Services Award- Dr. Kwadwo Asante

The 25th Annual Harry Jerome Awards embodied the spirit of Harry Jerome and his legacy lives on in the past, present and future award winners.  The BBPA and Harry Jerome Awards have been a significant part of the community for 25 years and will hopefully continue to influence and support success in years to come.

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