Canadian News


TORONTOJan. 30, 2023 /CNW/ – Toronto’s business and community leaders came together on Saturday January 21, to celebrate the extraordinary work of the BlackNorth Initiative in its continued commitment to removing anti-Black systemic barriers, at the Inaugural BlackNorth Gala.

The event also celebrated outstanding Black Community leaders and gave a huge nod to the signatories, sponsors and allies of the BlackNorth Initiative, whilst raising funds for well needed programs to help in the quest of bettering the Black community.

According to BlackNorth Initiative Founder and Chairman of the organization, Dr. Wesley J. Hall, “since its launch in 2020, the BlackNorth Initiative has worked alongside Black communities across Canada to address the underlying challenges and hurdles faced in identifying, uplifting, and retaining Black talent. Funds raised at the gala and throughout the year work to create generational change and empower Black communities. Addressing anti-Black barriers ensures that Black people are afforded equal opportunities to succeed.”

Dahabo Ahmed-Omer, Executive Director of the BlackNorth Initiative, gave an impassioned speech in thanking the 1,000 community members, partners, funders, sponsors, contributors, believers and change makers who joined the inaugural Gala. “It is truly a blessing and privilege to be part of this outstanding organization that assists and empowers our communities. “At the BlackNorth Initiative, we strive consistently and persistently.

This year the Gala honoured and awarded the following:

Lifetime Achievement

  • Honourable Dr. Donald H. Oliver, Q.C. O.C. – sponsored by Enbridge
  • Jane Omollo – sponsored by HSBC

Beyond the Call of Duty Award

  • Voice of Innovation Award – Hill+Knowlton Strategies
  • Social Impact Contributor Award – Boston Consulting Group
  • Community Capacity Builder Award – Bain and Company

Community Champion Award

  • BlackTech Hub – sponsored by LCBO
  • Canadian Black Scientists Network – sponsored by BMO
  • Black Law Student’s Association – sponsored by IG Wealth Management
  • Health Association of African Canadians – sponsored by Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA)

Entrepreneurship Award

  • Kerin John – Black Owned Toronto – sponsored by Scotiabank

Homeownership Bridge Program

The BlackNorth Initiative Homeownership Bridge Program in partnership with Habitat for Humanity GTA empowered by Dream Legacy Foundation helps working Black families become homeowners, empowering them to build security, stability, equity, and the opportunity to make life better for themselves, their children, and generations to come.

Youth Leadership Award Winners:

  • Joelle Kabisoso, Sisters in Sync – sponsored by Fasken
  • Fanta Ly – sponsored by Sobeys
  • Celeste Ceres – sponsored by Hyundai
  • Bunisha Samuels – sponsored by MLSE
  • Milen Baliho – sponsored by CIBC

Focusing on Youth:

BlackNorth Initiative is proud to have awarded scholarships to thirty young Black youth, thanks to the partnership with CIBC and BGC Canada. This represents a $1.5 million scholarship program for 30 Black students across Canada for 6-7 years.

Athletes on Track (AOT) Scholarship Program

The AOT is a bursary and mentorship program led in conjunction with U Sports, designed to financially support University level student-athletes and provide them with the tools necessary to enter and thrive in the job market once they graduate.

Recipients include:

  • Aja Sy – University of Northern British Columbia, Women’s Volleyball
  • Hazim Mohamed – University of Victoria, Men’s Swimming
  • Maya Addai – Carleton University, Women’s Rugby
  • Alexander Odle – Guelph, Men’s Volleyball
  • Jessica Salanon – McGill University, Women’s Basketball
  • Ismail Sow – Université de Montréal, Men’s Soccer
  • Kira Atherley – St. Francis Xavier University, Women’s Basketball
  • Devaughn Blackwood – St. Francis Xavier University, Football

Toronto Metropolitan University’s Lincoln Alexander School of Law Scholarship

  • Shardaine Rowe Brown
  • Ever Imafidon
  • Kafela Campbell
  • Stacey Newman
  • Shaun Shepherd

The Wes Hall Award for Black Journalism through Toronto Metropolitan University’s Journalism faculty is awarded to

  • RayanaRojoBolton

The BlackNorth Initiative is on a mission to end anti-Black systemic racism throughout all aspects of our lives by utilizing a business-first mindset. We are committed to the removal of anti-Black systemic barriers negatively affecting the lives of Black Canadians. For more information, visit: and follow us on social media @blacknorthca.

SOURCE BlackNorth Initiative

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *