William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations
Established in 1989, the William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations is presented to a resident(s) of Toronto whose outstanding achievement and commitment has made a significant contribution toward a positive race relations climate in Toronto.
Past Award Recipients
Black Lives Matter – Toronto (BLM – TO) is a diverse coalition of Black activists, students, workers, and parents who are committed to eradicating all forms of anti-Black racism, supporting Black healing and liberating Black communities. The Toronto chapter of the international movement works to bring a Canadian-specific narrative to the global fight against anti-Blackness and to (re)build the Black Liberation movement.
BLM – TO is a platform for Black communities to actively dismantle all forms of anti-black racism, liberate blackness, support black healing, affirm Black existence, and create freedom to love and self-determine. Their mission is to forge critical connections and to work in solidarity with Black communities, Black-centric networks, solidarity movements, and allies in order to dismantle all forms of violence and brutality committed against Black peoples.
In just two years, the coalition has shaken up politics in Toronto, forcing the issue of anti-Black racism as a priority for municipal, provincial, and federal policy makers, local and international media, and the public. Their two-week long occupation of Toronto Police Headquarters during winter, shut down of the Allen expressway, and sit-in at the Toronto Pride Parade are just a few examples of their commitment to direct people-led sustained action.
BLM – TO is loud, strategic, and persistent.
BLM – TO’s work extends to the affirmation of Black lives. They have organized a Black-victims focused Take Back the Night march, community healing spaces, and children’s programming. This includes their Freedom School initiative which is an arts-based summer program for Black children in the GTA. The program offers an alternative setting to teach children about Black Canadian and diasporic history and to engage them in political resistance to anti-Black racism through a trans-feminist lens.
BLM – TO uplifts the lives of Black queer and trans, disabled, Muslim, undocumented, incarcerated or formerly incarcerated, women, and lives along the identity and expression spectrum. BLM – TO includes those who have been marginalized within Black liberation movements.
BLM – TO is working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. They put sweat equity and love for Black people into creating a political project – taking the hashtag off of social media and putting it into the streets.
Black Lives Matter is not a moment, it’s a movement.
Kamala-Jean Gopie embodies what we can achieve if we work together to effect change in our communities. Her resume and bio indicates the depth and breath of her contributions to make this a city we can proudly call home. As minorities, we are beginning to see ourselves in the media reading the news, in advertising, on law enforcement and other facets of city life thanks in part to the work of people like Kamala-Jean Gopie. She is a doer, not a chronic complainer and encourages us all to rise above our insecurities. She has lobbied institutions to change their practices and become more inclusive but she has also challenged the youth to participate in institutions such as the United Way and other services and other government organizations and give back to their communities. By example, she is encouraging support for the arts and for us not to limit ourselves to just what we know and are comfortable with and this augurs well for race relations in this city. If people are involved in the institutions that help make the city function they are less likely to feel disenfranchised and this leads to social harmony, thanks in part to the work of Kamala-Jean Gopie.
Ritu Bhasin is a lawyer, advocate, and social entrepreneur who has spent almost 20 years working to eliminate racism and prejudice.
For 10 years Ritu practiced civil litigation, human rights, and constitutional law on Bay Street and then she broke new ground in the Canadian legal profession by becoming one of the few people of colour to serve on a senior management team, focusing on talent management for law students and lawyers. Ritu worked tirelessly during this time to advocate and promote diversity and inclusion within her law firm and across the legal profession in Toronto and Canada.
In 2010, Ritu completed her Executive MBA while continuing to work full-time in her demanding Bay Street job. Upon completing her MBA, Ritu took a leap of faith and founded her own consulting firm. The firm focuses on advancing diversity and inclusion within organizations, and coaching diverse professionals to find success. Ritu works with a range of world-renowned organizations, including law firms, corporations, banks, academic institutions, professional associations, and non-profits.
Through her work, she brings together people to become actively involved in the elimination of racism and other forms of prejudice. Ritu has previously taught in the Executive Program at the Rotman School of Management, and in diversity strategy in not-for-profit governance. Additionally, Ritu was on the instructing team that contributed to The Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance’s 2011 DiverseCity Fellows Program. Ritu contributes to many of Toronto’s community organizations including CivicAction and the Maytree Foundation, and is a mentor to dozens of emerging leaders from racialized communities, including youth from Toronto’s Regent Park community.
Ritu has been a member of the Pan Am Games Toronto 2015 Employment Advisory Council, the City of Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square Board of Management and the Habitat for Humanity Canada Board of Directors. She has previously served on the Rotman School of Management’s Values Initiatives Working Group, the Law Society’s Equity Advisory Group, the Board of Directors for the YWCA Toronto, and Rotman’s Business Edge Mentorship Program for Women In Business. Ritu is a recipient of numerous awards and distinctions, including the 2011 Gordon Cressy Leadership Award from the University of Toronto and the University of Western Ontario’s Young Alumni Award for 2013.
Samuel has been a dedicated volunteer and community journalist for more than a decade. He is an ongoing contributor to Generation Next and writes regularly for Sway, TZTA and The Huffington Post. He is also a regular commentator in the media on diversity issues. He has always used these outlets to tell the story of emerging immigrant Canadians.
Since 2009, Samuel has served as a board member with the Africans in Partnership Against AIDS (APPA). Previously, he served as a board member for the United Way Impact Committee (2005-2008), Citizens Advocacy Ottawa (2004-2008) and Swansea Town Hall (2009-2011).
Since coming to Canada from Ethiopia, Getachew has valued most the mentorship he has provided to countless young people. He has personally reached out to many of the country’s most dynamic yet under-resourced young leaders and has extended his own networks, time and support in service of their personal and community ambitions.
A 2010 Maytree Foundation fellow, Samuel studied Political Science at Carleton University. His efforts have been recognized with a 2011 National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada award, an Ontario Volunteer Service Award and a Duke of Edinburgh Award gold medal.