Monday 25 January 2021
Theme: Is there Justice for Blacks in Canada?
In light of the province-wide pandemic lockdown, the 2021 Martin Luther King Jnr celebration, hosted by Ottawa’s DreamKeepers, was a virtual event. Keynote speaker was retired RCMP officer, Alain Babineau, a renowned law enforcement & social justice advocate, currently an advisor to the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations. In his speech, Babineau highlighted the disproportionate number of Black people in jail, or engaged in hostile and negative encounters with law enforcement authorities and called for stronger measures to counter systemic anti-Black racism and racial profiling.
During the ceremony, awards were given to the following community leaders and advocates:
Farhia Ahmed – Hon Jean Augustine Lifetime Achievement award. For a lifetime of volunteering in the community, her heartfelt devotion to Social Justice, along with her other community engagement and advocacy activities.
Richard Sharpe – Outstanding Leadership award. For coordinating volunteer-led efforts to address anti-Black racism through change in education, justice, employment, business and politics, as the Co-Lead and Founder of the 613-819 Black Hub; along with his other community engagement and advocacy activities.
Vanessa Modeste-Doherty – Outstanding Leadership award. For co-founding and leading Ottawa’s DreamKeepers, fund-raising for hurricane victims in Granada, along with her other community engagement and advocacy activities.
Lynsey Alcy – June Girvan Youth-in-service award. For volunteering with the local Rogers House palliative care for sick children and the Shepherds of Good Hope; volunteering on three distinct humanitarian missions with vulnerable populations in developing countries; providing peer mentorship to prospective students at Carleton University; and fighting anti-black racism as a member of the the executive team of Carleton University’s Afro Caribbean Mentorship Program (ACMP).