ANGEL MAJORIE BROWN - ROLE MODEL & AMBASSADOR
Officially Inducted into the “National Wall of Role Models” on June 7, 2014 ( See full list www.BlackCanadianAwards.com )
Angel Marjorie Brown is a leader, Adult Educator, and organizational change agent with a background in student and employee development, research, and emerging trends related to student academic success, learning, and transition to work. My experience includes strategic planning for resource allocation and result measurement, school transition programming, project management, and learning development, with a focus on post-secondary systems. Find out more about how she models social justice through her work.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a mother and grandmother who lives to educate and model social justice through conscious actions. I could be called a bit of a radical as I have been out of step with my peers at every level of my education and life. I am a mentor and advocate for those less fortunate, and love to travel all over the world to connect with others.
Tell us something not many people know about you?
I sew and design clothing and household goods and can even make some items. As a teenager, I set up a sign that said, “Seamstress Within Reasonable Rates”, and kept myself busy sewing and mending peoples items all summer long for good money.
What's your inspiration or how do you get motivated?
My passion is for all people to have access to becoming their better selves. I love to pass on information and network. So when I see a good idea, I do what I can and find others to do their part. I am truly motivated by people who take action.
How did you get to where you are now and what more should we expect?
I remember creating an academic CV when I was in high school when I wanted to become a psychologist. I created papers and conferences, events and job titles I would have acquired by a certain age. I realized that if I did not set the path toward achieving my goals, I would not be where I am today. Next on my list is the Holding Company I plan to leave as a legacy for my son and his children. We are about to set things in motion for that and activate lots of new enterprises.
What would you like to be remembered for?
Helping people and enjoying life.
How do you balance work, family, friends and leisure?
I set goals and prioritize my activities each day, week, month and year. My practice is to set a goal and a date for accomplishment, then reward myself with small gestures and events as I get closer and closer to the goal and as I achieve my results. I celebrate with a final activity that I usually purchase in advance, and tell myself that if I do not achieve the goal I cannot attend the event – something like seeing Alicia Keys perform at the Stephen Lewis Aids Benefit. I would not miss it for anything else.
What's your favorite food, book, music and movie?
Food: Cherimoya, Atemoya, Mango foods;
Books: Anything about Civil Rights and history of slavery era of USA and Caribbean;
Music: I like jazz and black gospel.
Movies: Anything with Sidney Poitier, Denzel Washington and Jamie Foxx.
What's your experience as a Black person in Canada?
When I arrived in Canada in the 1960’s, I was the first in everything at school, in the community etc. I noticed that the Black Canadians settled for less, and I was here to achieve. So we did not see eye to eye at first. Then I began community organizing and teaching others how to collaborate to move decision and agendas forward. We need to do more of this and teach our youth how to do this. IDLE-NO-MORE is a great example now that we have social media.
What is the Black community doing right or wrong in Canada?
We do not take political stances and stand for any clearly articulated position or have such communicated. Often, unless one has a political party affiliation, it may seem that there is no clear position to take for advocacy etc. ‘It is better to stand for something lest we fall for anything’ my Dad used to say. Take a position and garner action.
Are there as many opportunities for Blacks in Canada compared to the US?
I think that Canada, as the size of one state in the USA, has opportunities to take the world stage and set an example. Sustainability, the environment, Northern Ontario, human rights, indigenous rights and self-government, and the usual economic advantages exist. We need to encourage our youth and children from a young age to begin something. Teach them financial literacy, invest in them, encourage them, and watch them excel.
When will Canada have several role models and institutions like Obama, Beyonce, Oprah, Tyler Perry, BET etc.?
We have them now, but we do not support each other. With the fragmented diasporic relationships among so many countries of origin, being Black in Canada is not a monolithic experience. We are everywhere! So, let us have more awards and media coverage of positive role models for our youth and BIG UP the people dem!
What’s your understanding of Black History in Canada?
The Ontario Black History Society does a great job of monitoring the representation of our heritage in this country. They need help and need to be more inclusive. There is no funding to do this work. It is a labour of love. So Rosemary Sadlier and her colleagues are to be commended. I presented at the First Black Canadian Studies Conference held at Brock University in May 2013. We need to do more of this type of networking and affirming support. Michaelle Jean was the keynote speaker who challenged us to create alliances with others in solidarity.
Define what is Black? We had a great cross-section of academics and community activists that presented. As this group coalesces we will see more defined progress in this generation.