Today we remember one of Canada’s great leaders, Lincoln MacCauley Alexander. From humble beginnings as the child of immigrants from Jamaica and St.Vincent, Lincoln Alexander overcame discrimination and obstacles to become Canada’s first Black Member of Parliament, Cabinet Minister, and, finally, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. Known as a man of great dignity, he was also known for his openness. No matter what position he held, he insisted that everyone he “just call him Linc.” From his days as a law student at Osgoode Hall to his death in 2012, he led by example, standing up for the disadvantaged and marginalized. He inspired countless Canadians to believe that anything is possible regardless of race, ethnicity, or social class. While many buildings, schools-and even a parkway and Royal Canadian Air Cadet squadron-are named for Lincoln Alexander, his true legacy lies in his spirit of inclusion, acceptance, and equality. As Minister of Canadian Heritage, I am honoured to pay tribute to this extraordinary man, and I encourage all Canadians to learn about and carry on his legacy. [author ]Minister Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage[/author] [divider] Ontario is honouring three young leaders with the 2015 Lincoln M. Alexander Award for their work to end racial discrimination and promote positive social change. The recipients are:
- Darian Baskatawang of Whitesand First Nation, for his efforts to improve the quality of life for Aboriginal youth across Ontario.
- Najma Malaq of Mississauga, for promoting African culture and history in her community and building an inclusive school community.
- Shailene Panylo of Oshawa, for her work encouraging respect and acceptance of diverse cultures and identities.
The Lincoln M. Alexander Award is presented each year to three Ontarians between the ages of 16 and 25 who have demonstrated exemplary leadership in promoting positive social change.
- The Lincoln M. Alexander Award was created in 1993 to commemorate the legacy of the Honourable Lincoln Alexander, Ontario’s 24th Lieutenant Governor who served from 1985-1991.
- The Lincoln M. Alexander Award recognizes youth who work to promote social change through their commitment to eliminating racial discrimination.
- Lincoln Alexander was the first black Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the first black Member of Parliament and the first black federal Cabinet Minister. He passed away on Oct.19, 2012.
- Lincoln Alexander Day is celebrated each year on January 21 in Ontario and across Canada on the anniversary of Lincoln Alexander’s birthday.