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by Cindy Tan, CivicAction
With the newest cohort of DiverseCity Fellows beginning their leadership journeys in January, there are now over 100 Fellows. Our alumni from past years are still busy in the city-sphere, making change and transforming the leadership landscape.
What can we learn from them?
Here are four kinds of leadership action that the Fellows are demonstrating:
1. Recognize and encourage diverse talent that is making a difference
In February, local artists who are changing their communities were recognized with an Artists for Community Engagement Awards. The awards were created by a group of 2010 DiverseCity Fellows, led by Melanie Smith and Saumya Gautam, who partnered with the Neighbourhood Arts Network of the Toronto Arts Council. Receiving the awards were the Friendly Spike Theatre Band and Joshua Barndt, which included a cash prize of $2,000 through a sponsorship from TD and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship. Congratulations to the winners, all finalists, and to the DiverseCity Fellows for successfully creating these awards.
2. Inspire others and provide role models
Wendell Adjetey (2010) worked with young men in the Jane-Finch and Rexdale areas. One of his accomplishments was bringing a group of youth to meet parliamentarians in Ottawa, an experience that was featured in the Toronto Star article “Toronto youth inspired by visit to Parliament Hill.”
3. Create networks of support and share your message
Brandon Hay (2011), founder of the Black Daddies Club, is reaching out to broader audiences with important messages about re-thinking fatherhood and finding ways for fathers to support each other. Brandon was one of the featured speakers at TEDx in Toronto – and he spoke about “Redefining Fatherhood.” Also, his work with the Black Daddies Club was profiled in the March issue of Toronto Life.
4. Engage in dialogue on diversity and city-building
2009 Fellows Craig Cal and Adriana Beemans participated the panel “Diverse and Equal: How Can Toronto Thrive in All Senses?” organized by the Canadian Urban Institute as part of a series commemorating the 50th anniversary of Jane Jacobs’ book, The Life and Death of Great American Cities.
In Peel region, Dave Deforest (a 2011 Fellow), the Chair of the Regional Diversity Roundtable in Peel was part of organizing a “Tough Questions Café” with the topic, “Is homophobia the new racism?” Among the panelists was Suhail Abualsameed (a 2010 Fellow), from the Sherbourne Health Centre.