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Black Coalition For AIDS Prevention Honours Trailblazers With Lifetime Advocacy Award

Al Ramsay, Associate Vice President, LGBTQ2+ and Black Customer Segments, TD Bank Group. Photo contributed.

Black Coalition For AIDS Prevention Honours Trailblazers With Lifetime Advocacy Award

TORONTO, Ontario (Tuesday, February 1, 2022) — The Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention (Black CAP) — Canada’s largest Black-focused AIDS service organization — will honour three community trailblazers with a Lifetime Advocacy Award for their sterling contribution on Saturday.

At its Harvest Moon Supper Fundraiser, 2022, Black CAP will present the award to Ontario NDP MPP for Toronto-St. Paul’s, Dr. Jill Andrew;, Aina-Nia Ayo’dele Grant, former Director, Community Resources, City of Toronto; and Al Ramsay, Associate Vice President, LGBTQ2+ and Black Customer Segments, TD Bank Group.

The inaugural Black CAP Lifetime Advocacy Award will be given to individuals, who have focused their efforts on the betterment of the community; and whose dedication, to advocating for the important and necessary work of the Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention, has not gone unnoticed.

The organization says, in a media release, that it appreciates their steadfast support, and thanks them for all that they have done, and continue to do, for African, Caribbean and Black (ACB) communities.

Dr. Andrew, PhD, serves as the Ontario NDP Culture and Heritage Critic and Women’s Issues Critic for the Official Opposition. She is also a member of the Ontario NDP Black Caucus, a first of its kind in Ontario legislative history and she also sits on the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

Andrew is the first Black queer person to be elected to the Ontario Legislature and, reportedly, in Canada. Since then, she has been a leading voice on issues of gender, race and social justice, the housing crisis, healthcare inequities, education and the immeasurable benefit of arts and culture to our communities but also to our physical, mental, and social health. Andrew holds a Child and Youth Worker diploma from Humber College, a Bachelor of Education (BEd) from York University among her other undergraduate degrees, a Master’s degree in women and gender studies from the University of Toronto New College and her PhD from York University’s Faculty of Education.

Dr. Jill Andrew. Photo contributed.

Dr. Jill Andrew. Photo contributed.

She is a community co-owner of Glad Day Bookshop – the world’s oldest LGBT bookstore — and has been an avid volunteer and donor supporting organizations, across the GTA, that prioritize Black and racialized communities, youth, women, the arts, LGBTQ2+ communities and chronic health advocacy among others.

As a leadership coach, ancient wisdom teacher and spiritual liberation activist, Grant has been supporting individuals to live their highest vision and experience their life, desired and deserved, with peace, purpose and power. This is her mission, and she is living her vision.

Over a decade ago, she created Sacred Women International and the life transformational process, Sacred Leadership Training (SLT). She has also created other personal and professional development programs. She is an ordained metaphysical minister, as well as a Reiki Master Teacher, who has studied extensively under the tutelage of various spiritual master teachers, including the world-renowned Iyanla Vanzant.

Aina-Nia Ayo’dele Grant. Photo contributed.

Aina-Nia Ayo’dele Grant. Photo contributed.

In 2016, she accepted the request to become the lead consultant for the City of Toronto initiative to address anti-Black racism. Grant became integral to the creation of the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism and, in 2018, established North America’s first government-sanctioned strategy and permanent office to address anti-Black racism.

In October 2021, she launched the first of her 5-book series, which she calls tablets — Self: An Inner Journey to Re-Membering Your Power.

As Associate Vice President, LGBTQ2+ and Black Customer Segments, TD Bank Group, Ramsay spearheads TD’s LGBTQ2+ and Black Customer Segments, designing and executing innovative strategies, which are considered leading edge within the financial industry, across North America.

Originally from Jamaica, Ramsay and his family moved to Canada in 1994 to start a new life and complete his education. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Ryerson University.

Over the past 20 years in the financial industry, Ramsay has held increasingly senior positions supporting TD’s diversity and inclusion mandate spearheading customer, employee and community initiatives. He is instrumental in helping TD to become a leader in the LGBTQ2+ communities.

Ramsay has a passion for advancing inclusiveness in the workplace and in his community. He spearheaded the launch of several of TD’s Employee Resource Groups, including its LGBTQ2+ and Black Employee Networks that have now expanded to include thousands of employees across North America.

He has served on numerous work committees and boards championing equity, diversity and inclusion. He currently sits on the board of Rainbow Railroad and the Dean’s Advisory Council at the Ted Rogers School of Business Management. He is a trusted advisor to the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and ExeQutive group.

Every year, Black CAP holds an annual event to raise much-needed funds and to acknowledge those who have contributed selflessly to its important work. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the fundraiser was rescheduled to February 5, and will take place, from 2:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., at Small Arms Inspection Building, located at 1352 Lakeshore Road East, Mississauga, Ontario.

Tickets are on a sliding scale of $75 to $125 and limited after-party tickets costing $50, can be obtained atk: protect-eu.mimecast.com/s/emoTC9njtZ7Qwtopkdy?domain=harvest-moon2021.eventbrite.ca

Funds raised will support the Newcomer Settlement Program that assists ABC individuals, who are living with HIV and/or LGBTQ identified who are newcomers to Canada. The program helps them to successfully navigate the immigration process and connect with housing and employment support. The evening will be one of celebration complemented by the live performances, a fashion show, and the tantalizing tastes of freshly Jerk drum pan cooked Caribbean food.

Since 1989, the Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention (Black CAP) has worked to respond to the threat of HIV and AIDS in Toronto’s African, Caribbean and Black communities. Its work is guided by its motto: ‘Because All Black People’s Lives Are Important’, which serves as a reminder of the organisation’s commitment to the human rights and dignity of all Black people, who are vulnerable to HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

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