Lieutenant Governor to honour three young Ontarians for promoting racial harmony



    QUEEN'S PARK, March 21 /CNW/ - Three Ontario youths, this year's
recipients of the Lincoln M. Alexander Award for Leadership in Eliminating
Racial Discrimination, will be honoured on Wednesday, March 21, at Queen's
Park at 2:00 p.m.
    March 21 is the annual United Nations proclaimed International Day for
the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
    Saeed Selvam of Toronto, Sasha Sky of Thunder Bay, and Sheryl Walker of
Toronto will receive the 2006 Lincoln M. Alexander Award for promoting racial
harmony and diversity. Mr. Selvam and Ms. Sky will receive the award for
exemplary service in a school environment while Ms. Walker will be recognized
for her role as a community activist.
    The Honourable James K. Bartleman, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the
Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander, former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, and
Mr. Khalil Ramal, Parliamentary Assistant, Ministry of Citizenship and
Immigration, will present the awards at the ceremony at Queen's Park.
    "Throughout his life, Lincoln Alexander has made major contributions in
promoting and encouraging racial harmony," said Mr. Bartleman. "This year's
recipients are following in his footsteps as exemplary advocates for a new
generation."
    "These young adults deserve the awards that they will be receiving," said
Alexander. "They are leaders and excellent role models for people of all ages
because of their accomplishments in promoting racial harmony."
    Seventeen-year old Saeed Selvam is a senior at Oakwood Collegiate
Institute in Toronto and has been involved in consultations with
representatives from all levels of government, the justice system and the
police. He is Director of Youth-Police Relations for the Toronto Youth
Cabinet, Facilitator of Project PEACE (Public Education and Crime
Eradication), and Youth Representative for the "Stop the Violence Foundation"
of the Toronto Argonauts. He speaks in schools, at major political events and
at conferences on preventing youth violence and opportunities for youth
empowerment.
    Sasha Sky, age 18, at the University of Guelph, has assisted in
developing guidelines to aid teachers in integrating aboriginal students into
local schools. Last year, she delivered a presentation at the Northern Ontario
Educational Leadership Conference about the invisibility of aboriginal
students in school systems. She is the current president of the Regional
Multicultural Youth Council, and chaired a group that coordinated a Peace
March and Violence Prevention Youth Rally. This event highlighted youth
concerns over street gangs, bullying, and youth violence that distracts
children from learning and threatens their safety.
    Sheryl Walker, age 18, is a young woman who has made many contributions
to the Regent Park community in which she lives. Working as a member of the
Dixon Hall's Young Women's Program, she has been an outstanding role model,
mentor and facilitator of anti-racism workshops. She also developed a
diversity workshop for the Harmony Movement that explored the issues of racial
profiling and harassment. She is involved with programming on verbal bullying,
which was presented on behalf of the Toronto District School Board to grade
six girls across the city.
    "The achievements of these young people embody the government's
commitment to deliver real, positive change," remarked Ontario Minister of
Citizenship and Immigration Mike Colle. "Their work to prevent and eliminate
racism states loudly and clearly that individuals can make a difference in
Ontario and the world."

    Created in 1993 to honour former Lieutenant Governor Alexander's
commitment to youth and promoting racial harmony, these annual awards are
presented to three Ontarians between the ages of 16 and 25 who have provided
outstanding leadership in improving racial understanding. Each of the
recipients receives an award of $5,000 and a framed scroll.
    An independent committee of community leaders selects the recipients.

    Disponible en français

    
                          www.citizenship.gov.on.ca
                          www.gov.on.ca/citizenship


    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                       THE LINCOLN M. ALEXANDER AWARD
    

    Program Description
    -------------------

    This award was established in 1993 to commemorate the term of the
Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander as Ontario's 24th Lieutenant Governor. The
award recognizes young people who have demonstrated exemplary leadership in
eliminating racial discrimination. There are three awards presented each year;
two to students and one to a youth in the community. Each recipient receives
an award of $5,000 and a scroll signed by the Lieutenant Governor and the
Premier.

    Eligibility Criteria
    --------------------

    Nominees for the student award must be senior secondary students planning
to enter a post-secondary institution on a full-time basis. Nominations are
made by the school. Nominees for the community award must be between the ages
of 16 and 25 and be nominated by a community organization. In both cases,
nominees must have demonstrated leadership in making a significant and
sustained contribution towards eliminating prejudice and discrimination.

    Selection Process
    -----------------

    In 2006, 40 nominations were received. The nominations were reviewed and
recipients were selected by an independent Selection Committee made up of five
members of the community. The members of the Selection Committee are appointed
by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and the Minister of Education.

    Ceremony
    --------

    The ceremony is held in the Lieutenant Governor's Suite. The awards are
presented by the Lieutenant Governor and Lincoln M. Alexander.

    Disponible en français

    
                          www.citizenship.gov.on.ca
                          www.gov.on.ca/citizenship
    





For further information:

For further information: Rick Byun, Minister's Office, (416) 325-3460;
Michel Payen-Dumont, Communications Branch, (416) 314-7010; Nanda
Casucci-Byrne, Office of the Lieutenant Governor, (416) 325-7780

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Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration

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