NDP Honours Ontario Trailblazers

(Canscene) Last month, at the 10th Annual J.S. Woodsworth Awards, the Ontario NDP honoured Stanley G. Grizzle and the Somali Youth Association of Toronto (SOYAT) for their significant contributions towards eliminating racial discrimination

Stanley G. Grizzle –Labour Hero
Stanley G. Grizzle is a well-known figure within the Canadian labour movement and wider Canadian society as a whole. From 1946 to 1962, he served as an officer of the Toronto CPR Division of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Railway porters were allowed only 3 to 4 hours of sleep each night, and expected to eat the leftover food from the passengers on the train.

After two aborted attempts to form a union in the early 1900s, a porters’ union finally emerged in the 1940s and a collective agreement was reached between the CPR and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP) around 1945. Grizzle was the first member of a trade union appointed to the position of Judge in the Canadian Court of Citizenship. In 1994, in what was arguably the pinnacle of his career, Grizzle was inducted into the Labour Hall of Fame with the help of Afro-Canadian labour activist Carmen Henry.

Youth-based Somali Community Organization
SOYAT is a non-profit youth based community organization serving the Somali youth in Metropolitan Toronto and was established in 1992. Volunteer members of Somali youth organized themselves to bridge the gap and facilitate appropriate service delivery mechanisms for Somali youth. SOYAT partners with key organizations and groups to implement services and initiatives that promote the successful integration of Somali youth and their families into the Canadian society.

Using its community mobilization and outreach capacity, SOYAT engages youth and their families and offers them culturally sensitive services in the areas of leadership, settlement, recreation, employment support, awareness raising and referrals.

NDP leader Howard Hampton created this prestigious award in 1996 after being elected Leader of the Ontario NDP. The award is named after J. S. Woodsworth, the first leader of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), and the forerunner of the modern NDP. Woodsworth fought against racial and religious discrimination in Canada and stood up for the right of minorities to vote.

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