Community leaders inducted into Ottawa’s Wall of Inspiration

Thursday 13 March was a day to remember for several African Canadian community leaders and activists as they were inducted into the City of Ottawa’s Wall of Inspiration at a ceremony presided over at City hall by Mayor Jim Watson.  In the presence of hundreds of  friends, supporters and admirers, they were conferred with this honour, a follow up to the Community Builder awards they had received in 2013 from the United Way of Ottawa.
Agoro Family
In 2002, the Agoro family was faced with a tragedy. In memory of their son, Dapo, a peacekeeper and a strong believer in non-violent conflict resolution, they turned that tragedy into a mission: to fight against the rise of youth violence in our community. The Dapo Agoro Foundation for Peace was formed and they have been living true to their mission ever since. Through the Scholarship Award for Peace, awarded to a graduating student at Lester B. Pearson who embodies the same peacekeeping spirit as Dapo, and awareness events they host, the Agoro Family is spreading peace in our community and across Canada. In 2012, in recognition of the difference the Agoro family has made, they received the Ontario Attorney General’s Victim Services Award of Distinction.
Noella Charles
For over 25 years, Noella Charles has been a committed volunteer in Ottawa, while holding a full-time job and caring for her family. Noella served as the Vice President of United Black Women of Ottawa, and the Vice President of Fête Caribe. She’s been a Fundraising Coordinator at Robert Bateman School and Lead Organizer for the Ottawa Caribbean Associations Love for Haiti fundraiser. In the past decade, Noella has been both the Vice President and the President for the Saint Lucia Ottawa Association, spearheading several important events. She’s also belonged to various committees over the years, including the Caribbean Association Presidents Committee, the Parents Committee at Hillcrest High School and the SLOA fundraising team, that helped to rebuild St. Jude’s Hospital in Saint Lucia after Hurricane Tomas. She even made the trip to Saint Lucia to meet with the people affected by this natural disaster.
Christopher Harris
Christopher Harris is a dedicated and respected community leader who has been instrumental in addressing many of the racial and cultural problems of the Multicultural community. He helped co-found many organizations, including the Ottawa-Carleton Immigrant Services Organization and the Jamaican Ottawa Community Association, has been a leader on their executive committees and helped develop their programming.  Mr. Harris provides information to the federal, provincial and municipal governments on many issues relating to the treatment of visible minorities, resulting in positive legislative changes. One such issue was policing, where with three others, he formed a citizen’s committee and produced the first study on the hiring of visible minorities and the training of police in Ottawa. He has volunteered with the Ottawa-Carleton police for the past 60 years and the RCMP for 26 years. His dedication to the community has not gone unnoticed as Mr. Harris has received many awards, including the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario, a Canada’s Citizenship Award, and The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee.
Suzan Lavertu
Suzan Lavertu has volunteered countless hours to different causes and organizations in Ottawa, leaving her positive and impactful mark on whatever she touches. She founded The Cultural Arts Studio School Of Afro-Caribbean Dance eighteen years ago and it’s presence in the city has helped Ottawans gain a deeper appreciation for Afro-Caribbean culture and boost their overall well-being. By engaging people of all ages and skill levels, Suzan has brought the community together in a way that inspires pride and admiration. Suzan has been a City of Ottawa volunteer lead for United Way Ottawa, organized fundraising events for the Eating Disorders Clinic at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and volunteered for the Snowsuit Fund, the Ottawa Food Bank and the Eastern Ottawa Resource Center.
Others received these coveted awards were: Yasir Naqvi, Ontario’s indefatigable Minister of Labour; lung transplant champion, Helene Campbell;  CTV announcer Kimothy Walker, and Community Builder of the Year winner Diane Morrison.

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