Celebrating Black History w/ The Honourable Jean Augustine
Representing the people is a great responsibility and ought to be reserved for those leaders in society with courage and vision. Jean Augustine was born in St. George’s Grenada and came to Canada with optimism and a dream to maximize her potential. Leveraging the Canada/Caribbean domestic scheme Jean began her journey as a nanny in Toronto, then enrolled in teacher’s college at her earliest opportunity. By the time she left the Toronto District Catholic School Board, she was a Principal.
During her career as an educator, Jean established herself as a volunteer and activist for a whole host of issues and initiatives within the Toronto community. In 1973 she founded the Toronto Chapter of the Congress of Black Women of Canada, and later became president. Jean has never let her blackness nor her womanhood prevent her from reaching a destination, but at the same time has acknowledged and struggled against systemic racism and discrimination her entire career. Her community service work helped to improve many areas of society including immigrant and women’s rights, landlord/tenant relations, violence against women, drug abuse and poverty.
As someone devoted to what’s right, and an outspoken woman-of-action, her peers recognized - perhaps even before her - that these attributes were needed in Ottawa. So, she entered federal politics and in 1993 became the first black woman elected to Parliament of Canada. Over her 12+ years in politics Jean achieved numerous accomplishments many of them trailblazing feats.
It is because of Jean Augustine that Canada recognizes Black History Month, and we at TrepFuel are proud to acknowledge her lifelong work and contributions to Canadian society. We thank her for courageously representing the people and the youth through the work she continues to do.
Writer // Joel Grannum
“It's important that no one be able to say that blacks can't perform in every segment of Canadian society because we can." – Jean Augustine