“Thinking has changed about the role of girls since I was child,” said The Honourable Jean Augustine to Trafalgar’s captivated girls at a whole-school assembly. “You now know that the sky is the limit in terms of what you can do as a young person and as a young woman.”
Dr. Augustine visited Trafalgar Castle School to offer an inspiring talk to students about equality, social justice and what it means to use your voice.
“It is so important that we are seen, we stand up, use our voice, and as Jamaican’s would say, ‘walk the talk’,” said Dr. Augustine. Adding, “Each one of us has a responsibility but dreaming about what we can do is not enough. We have to have the determination to make our dreams come true.”
In 1960, Dr. Augustine came to Toronto from Grenada with that determination and spoke with students about how different the world was in the ‘60s. “We had no Charter of Rights and Freedoms and no human rights discussions,” she said. “You saw no one of colour reading the news or making any comments about international issues but now we see faces of all races, all colours and all ethnicities on our televisions. So things have changed and opportunities for young women have changed.”
Dr. Augustine made history in 1993 by becoming the first African Canadian woman elected to the House of Commons and she shared what motivated her with the students. “I had a grandmother who always said, ‘to whom much is given, much is expected.’ So the expectation is that as young women you will grow up and make a difference in the world,” she said.
Dr. Augustine continues to leave her mark on the world with countless notable achievements including becoming the first Fairness Commissioner of Ontario, a Member of the Order of Canada and a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.