BY EMILY SINGH
The sweet sound of the steel pan filled the room as Kwesi Johnson, dressed in a simple black suit and a bowtie greeted guests as they entered the Estate Banquet and Event Centre on Saturday. Johnson is one of the many candidates running for the position of Toronto District School Board trustee in Ward 21, Scarborough-Rouge River. However, Johnson is unlike any other candidate in this ward, he is already a winner in the eyes of community. On Saturday evening Johnson held a Holiday Soiree where he aimed to raise funds to make his dreams for a better community a reality.
Guests enjoyed a feel for the Caribbean as Johnson’s younger sister, Arienne Johnson played beautiful Soca music on the steel pan. The dinner was nothing short of amazing and included everything from salmon and chicken to delicious penne pasta. Johnson is without a doubt a leader, mentor and role model within the Scarborough community. However, a leader is not only one who can inspire those around him but also one who can seek inspiration from others. One person who took to the stage to speak about Johnson was his mentor, Priya Ramanujam. She is not only a long time friend of Johnson, but has also witnessed his active involvement in the community whether it was delivering food containers during the holidays to the needy or working alongside the youth. Ramanujam knows first hand the dedication and passion Johnson has for creating change and stepping up to the plate.
Another friend who has thrown her support behind Johnson from the get go has been Nadia Bello who is an Education and Communications Advisor at the Centre for Human Rights at York University. It was evident through her positive words about Johnson that he is more than capable of holding the position of TDSB trustee.
The evening was nothing short of entertaining especially when the very talented King of Heartz took center stage to perform. His song “Power” sends an empowering and uplifting message to women about realizing their true potential and rising above abuse. A young singer known as Sanae Paris, gave another beautiful performance and blew the audience away with her sweet voice..
Anticipation was at an all time high as the special guest of the evening, Michael “Pinball” Clemons approached the microphone. Clemons is not only the American-Canadian Vice-Chair for the Toronto Argonauts but an avid supporter of Johnson and his mission to become the TDSB trustee in ward 21.
As the evening began to wind down it was finally time for the man of the night to take the stage, Johnson himself. He began his speech the same way he does with most, by acknowledging the 600 plus Aboriginal communities in the Americas. He also mentioned our ancestors who have departed that leave not only a legacy of resilience but also hope for the future.
“Take the necessary time needed to nourish the relationships around you because in your time of need these are the relationships that will sustain you, says Johnson in his moving speech.
For Johnson this isn’t just about securing a win and obtaining a title it is about building a foundation for young people in the community and being a connector.
This holiday Soiree was thrown with the hopes of encouraging the community to help Johnson and his campaign team towards reaching their goals of obtaining lawn signs and flyers in order to be more competitive in this journey. However, it isn’t just through donations that you can express your support, get out and knock on doors in the ward 21 area with Johnson and help spread the word.
On January 25, 2016 those living within the postal code boundaries of M1B, M1X, M1V and M1S can all vote for Kwesi Johnson as the next TDSB trustee. Advance polling will also be taking place on January 16, 2016 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on January 17, 2016 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
With over 18 years of community service experience, Kwesi Johnson is more than qualified to become the next TDSB trustee for Ward 21, Scarborough Rouge-River. We wish Johnson nothing but the best as he continues to make a difference not only in our Caribbean community but the community as a whole.