9 October 2022
United Way of Eastern Ontario – Celebrating Community Builders 2022
Jean-Marie Guerrier is Vice President of Black History Ottawa
Currently, Jean-Marie works at Flo’s Seniors Health and Care Programs Network and is the treasurer for their board. He has amassed more than 16 years of volunteering experience after engaging in community work in Montréal, back in 1989.
Jean-Marie started working on community projects while employed at CHAIS (Centre haïtien d’animation et d’intervention sociales). CHAIS is an organization that works to actively promote and improve social services for people and families within Montréal communities. It provides literary services and social and academic training for kids aged six to 12, parental education, community integration and adaptation for refugees and newcomers, and so much more.
Jean-Marie then proceeded to form a group injunction with CHAIS, where they secured sponsorships from Hydro Quebec and RBC, executed fundraising events, and designed and created costumes for Montreal’s version of Caribana. His dedication and drive knew no limits. Jean-Marie would spend endless nights making costumes and ensuring everything was done to the best of his abilities.
After his time with CHAIS, Jean-Marie moved to Ottawa in 1998–99 and became a member of Black History Ottawa (BHO). BHO is a volunteer-driven and community-based charitable organization that collaboratively works to increase awareness about the culture, contributions, and history of Canadians of African descent within local community groups and institutions.
Jean-Marie stepped up to provide stability and a direction to keep the organization afloat at times when BHO was struggling. In the process, he inspired people to keep the BHO going until a new team joined and relaunched the organization. If it weren’t for his dedication, BHO would not have made it as far as it has.
Over the years, Jean-Marie has continued to put his utmost commitment and energy into Black History Ottawa, from volunteer management, stage décor and handing out flyers to bookkeeping and seeking new funding opportunities. He currently holds the position of Vice President of Black History Ottawa. Jean-Marie’s positive and approachable demeanour has helped BHO reach people from across the city and secure partnerships with organizations such as the Ottawa Senators Foundation and The National Hockey League.
His passion for Black History Ottawa hasn’t gone unrecognized; his name is now inscribed on Ottawa’s Wall of Inspiration at City Hall.