Dawn Williams: An Open Letter

July 17, 2010

Who's Who in Black Canada book jacket

Frustration Can Be a Powerful Tool for Evoking Change

The idea for Who’s Who in Black Canada, was borne out of my frustration in seeing very few representatives of the various ethno-groups represented in Canada reflected in trade publications and at some public media events. It concerned me that examples of success rarely portrayed those who were from my community.

It’s almost been a decade since I published the first edition of Who’s Who in Black Canada, and four years since the second was released. I wrote two editions to prove a point – that this was not a fluke and that it was very necessary.

It took five years of my life to compile, produce, edit and publish such a comprehensive snapshot of our community’s achievements. I am immensely grateful for the support and encouragement I received from those who bought into this idea and helped to make this “dream” a reality. I remember the many hours of meetings, phone calls, correspondence,fact checking and research that this project required, as this book not only had to be all-encompassing, but accurate. In addition, it had to reflect our contributions in every province and territory, include both official languages and acknowledge, respect and consider our diverse cultures as a people.

But the work is not done. I have been waiting to pass the torch. Over the years, many people have approached me to “do something” with the book. I have always been open to the conversation. But it has not been until now that someone has come forward and followed-up with an actual plan to take Who’s Who in Black Canada to the next level.

Ricardo McRae and Mhairy, with my consent, used the 2nd edition of Who’s Who in Black Canada in a web-based project in 2009. They were heartened by the response and saw the need to continue this project. Since then we have had conversations and discussed their vision for the future of Who’s Who in Black Canada and its possibilities.

Dawn Williams

I was delighted by what I heard and thrilled by their enthusiasm. It is now official and I am both pleased and proud to give my blessings, as you continue this important work. Best of luck.

And I encourage you to support their endeavours on the next leg of Who’s Who in Black Canada’s journey.

Dawn Williams | June 20, 2010

Leave a Comment

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Brenda Jean Lycett January 28, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Hi Dawn,

It has been a while since we talked. This is a wonderful website. Thanks Dawn, and all the best,


Rosemary Sadlier September 4, 2010 at 8:27 AM

From the outset, I knew that this type of information was both missing and needed. I was happy to provide Dawn Williams with scores of contacts from across the country to help her get her first edition of Who’s Who in Black Canada off the ground. This material is valuable in providing our youth with role models and the opportunity to learn from the experiences of others. It is valuable for us to see ourselves affirmed and highlighted. It is necessary in the process of supporting and underscoring the diversity of Canada, that we hold up those persons most reflective of that diversity – Canadians of African origin, so that the entire country is better informed about their/our stories, struggles, experiences and achievements. I am very proud to have contributed to the development of this work and my congratulations to Dawn for conceiving of the idea, for taking the idea into a real product and her tenacity in making it work! We all have benefitted from her efforts!

Lennox Farrell August 19, 2010 at 12:17 AM

Your historic work deserves the heartiest thanks and deepest appreciation possible from a community most grateful for your splendid vision and insightful efforts.

Kathy Garnt August 10, 2010 at 2:39 PM

Bravo, Bravo, Bravo…….

Are you aware of the new CIC Multiculturalim Grant InterAction..
Perhaps your oganization and this type of initiative qualifies.

My dad, the late Owen Rowe was featured in Dawn’s first book and sang her praises up until he passed away.
for now

The grant is below
There are two funding streams…
Projects (long term/multiyear) which have a deadline of October 15th to submit http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/multiculturalism/funding/index.asp#projects

Events ongoing…no deadline http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/multiculturalism/funding/events.asp

{ 1 trackback }