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    PROFILES ON BLACK CANADIANS

    Profiles

    Daej Hamilton knew she wanted to be an inventor at 8 years old. By 12, inspired by her mother who was studying interior design at the time, the desire to create segued into a career interest in woodworking.

    “It's time for Canada to talk about climate refugees and lead by example. We need some consistency in terms of government rhetoric and action,” says Debbie Douglas, the Executive Director of the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI). The theme of World Humanitarian Day 2021 highlights the immediate human cost of the climate crisis and urges world leaders to take concrete action for the most vulnerable people in the world. People like Debbie Douglas are on the frontlines of that fight, and so ByBlacks has chosen to feature Douglas on this World Humanitarian Day. 

    Photo Credit: Anthony Gebrehiwot Randell Adjei recently made history after becoming Ontario’s first-ever Poet Laureate. When asked about his life after accepting the honour, Randell Adjei replied, “Way busier, more now than ever!” As of April 28th, 2021, with the approval of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Adjei added another notch to his already abundantly decorated belt. For his work as a spoken word artist and facilitator for young artists in Toronto, Randell Adjei has been given quite a few illustrious titles and accolades including Torontonian of the Year, Local Hero, and now, Poet Laureate of the province of Ontario.

    Photo: Jacquie Comrie, Apanaki Temtayo Minerve (Credit: Neri Media), and Gloria C. Swain (Credit: Kwasi Kyei)

    How do you tell your dad you want to drop out of a university engineering program to live out your childhood dreams as a race car driver?  That's exactly what 23-year-old Toka Murphy, a semi-professional race car driver from Toronto did a few years ago, and he has no regrets. Originally hailing from South Africa, Murphy dreamt of becoming a racecar driver from an early age. After completing high school and studying engineering for a year, Murphy realized his true calling was driving race cars and decided to pursue his ambitions full-time.

    (PHOTO CREDIT: Michelle Dawley) Perhaps more so than any other sport, figure skating embodies the balance between athleticism and artistry. That marriage is part of the reason watching sports is so compelling.  Those attributes also perfectly personify Canadian figure skater Elladj Baldé. 

    Dean Chambers and Craig Brown are Black Torontonians who founded a financial literacy firm called Checks Over Strikes. Both founders grew up in a community that didn't have resources in part because of financial illiteracy. “We've started a trend to teach financial knowledge to our kids so that our grandkids can enjoy the fruits of our labour,” says Dean Chambers. We spoke with them to learn about their story and to find out why and how they wanted to support their community through financial management and entrepreneurship.

    “I want my children and grandchildren to be proud of themselves, to be in love with what they are and to see themselves everywhere. I don't want them struggling with what I got to struggle with,” says Lisa Julien, a licensed esthetician and a skincare specialist in Ontario.

    (COVER PHOTO: "Mind" Courtesy Alexis Eke)

    The BLACK Legal Action Center (BLAC) is a not-for-profit community legal clinic launched to combat individual and systemic anti-Black racism.

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    ByBlacks.com is the top-ranked award-winning online magazine focused exclusively on telling Black Canadian stories. With over one hundred writers to date covering a range of editorial content, we also provide a free business directory for Black Canadian owned businesses, free events listing and promotional services for our clients.

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