One of the things that marks the human family is its propensity to change. Change happens to everyone. Fittingly, the story of the butterfly comes to mind. Kindly listen to this ditty:
“The butterfly life cycle goes like this …
Four unique stages of metamorphosis
Stage 1 is the egg on a leaf.
Stage 2 is the caterpillar; that’s the larva.
Eating that leaf and growing ever larger!
Stage 3 is the chrysalis … that’s the cocoon
Changing inside was the butterfly soon
Stage 4 … Here comes the butterfly!
Oh so beautiful and so bright!
And the life cycle goes on and on.”
Let us think of Caribbean people as the butterfly.
They adapt to the challenges of their environment and emerge from their cocoons as beautiful specimens of humanity. With this picture in mind, let us reflect on the admirable changes and contributions of the Caribbean people to this community, indeed to the Canadian society.
What are some of the significant achievements and contributions of Caribbean Canadian Association of Waterloo Region (CCAWR) since its inception in 1975?
Before citing such highlights, it might be interesting to note the forces that contributed to its inception. One was multiculturalism – Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau declared his government’s commitment to the principle of multiculturalism in 1971 and later enshrined this concept in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom.
Another was the formation of the Kitchener- Waterloo Multicultural Centre in 1967, which sought to celebrate ethnic diversity. Thirdly, the influence of members of the Black Students Union at the University of Waterloo.
The right to promote multiculturalism was thus the order of the day.
CCAWR, (formerly, Caribbean Canadian Cultural Association – CCCA), is the offspring of a 1974 summer project by Caribbean students of the University of Waterloo.
They obtained a grant to set up cultural programs for Black and Caribbean youths. Patricia Moore, Tracy Wilson and Oliver Sampson spearheaded the summer camp attended by the children of local Caribbean families.
The overwhelming success of this project underlined the need to continue it. Thus the Association was formed in 1975. The founders were Hilda Fletcher, Chloe Callender and Jello Wickham. What lovely butterflies!
Let us salute the past presidents: Hilda & Leonard Fletcher, Wesley Johnson, Philip Craan, Calder Roach, Patricia Tuckett, Bernard Ellis, Jennifer Hayden, Anthony Robinson, Kenneth Grant, Lauris DaCosta, Ivan Muhammed, Ingrid Berkley Brown & Royston Simon.
Congratulations to all these past leaders, as well as members of the board of directors who served faithfully with them.
This sets the stage for four decades of outstanding achievements and contributions within the Canadian mosaic. What are some highlights?