Wall of Inspiration honours Black community leaders

Community Builder award winners: Hazel Pompey, Alex Eloise, Anthony Bailey, Catherine Haba, and Ashton Hughes  Photo copyright Black Ottawa Scene

Friday 14 September 2018

Six Black community leaders were among the 32 Community Builder award winners honoured on Friday, as hundreds of people from across Ottawa gathered at City Hall, for the unveiling of United Way Ottawa’s updated Wall of Inspiration – a giant mural of the map of Ottawa that recognizes volunteers and pays homage to the spirit of community building.

“The Wall of Inspiration has a home at City Hall because of its message—that a community is only as strong as its people, and that each of us has the ability to affect change, no matter how small,” said Mayor Jim Watson, before lifting the curtain on the 250-square-foot installation.

The Wall of Inspiration displays a growing list of more than 800 Community Builders recognized by United Way Ottawa since 2000. Community Builders are the organizations, partnerships, agencies, neighbourhood groups and individuals who work tirelessly, often without recognition, to make Ottawa a better place for everyone.

Friday’s event celebrated 32 new Community Builders whose names were permanently engraved on the Wall to serve as a lasting reminder of their contributions.

The Black community leaders honoured at the event were:

Ashton Hughes a tremendous musical volunteer in the Trinidad and Tobago community. Ashton has been instrumental in promoting cultural steelpan music in the region for 40 years and mentors youth in the arts. 

Amanda Krocko empowers and mentors youth through community work with Proud To Be Me and the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre. As a skilled athlete, she also coached girls soccer.

Alex Eloise, President of the St Lucia Association, Treasurer for Caribbean-Ottawa Festival, also fundraised for the Black Students Scholarship fund. He often presents ad primary & secondary schools for Black History Month, and works with community groups on St. Martin Luther King Day. Mr. Eloise has an extensive resume of volunteer experience, and is a leader to many.

Catherine Haba is a mentor at a youth-at-risk education program called YOUCAN and a member of the Youth in Policing Initiative. She is a dedicated member of United Way Ottawa’s Speakers Bureau, spreading her inspiring story about overcoming obstacles to succeed in school, all across the city from government departments to groups of teenage peers.

Hazel Pompey, past President and Vice President of the St Vincent and Grenadines Association of Ottawa, organizer of anti-racism workshops, volunteer at the Kanata Food Cupboard, current co-president of the Canadian Federation of University Women/Kanata, among many other volunteer accomplishments.

 Reverend Dr. Anthony Bailey, senior Minister at Parkdale United Church, recipient of Rotary Club of West Ottawa Community Service award, working with marginalized and vulnerable people during the winter months to provide hot meals. Supporter of Black History Month events in the city, active on many Boards of Directors including Ottawa Mission, Urban Christian Outreach, Parkdale Food Centre, etc.

“The people honoured on the Wall of Inspiration were each recognized because of the actions they took, decisions made, the lives they changed,” United Way Ottawa President and CEO Michael Allen said to the audience. “Like the 2017 inductees who will have their plaque revealed for the first time today— you care about our city. It’s what brought you here this morning. We’ve all got that in common—a local love that inspires us.”

After introducing the new Wall of Inspiration, Allen reminded attendees of their capacity to make positive change in Ottawa.

“There may be a time in the coming months when you are asked to support United Way Ottawa’s important work – and when that time comes, I must ask that you be generous,” said Allen. “Our collective love of community is what compels us, and it’s also how we can solve our city’s greatest challenges – together.”

For more info on Ottawa’s United Way, visit: www.unitedwayottawa.ca

All photos copyright Black Ottawa Scene


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