LATANYA SMALL - ROLE MODEL & AMBASSADOR
Officially Inducted into the “National Wall of Role Models” on June 7, 2014 ( See full list www.BlackCanadianAwards.com )
BIO: Latanya Small is a Direct Banking Manager at Bank of Montreal and an aspiring entrepreneur. She was born in Toronto and grew up in Richmond Hill, Ontario. Eventually, she graduated from York University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
In addition, I graduated from Everest College with honors in legal administration. I was also privileged to receive a Canadian government scholarship to participate in the French Immersion Explorer program at the University of Chicoutimi in Montreal, Quebec. My emphasis is education is because it changed my life. Being one of seven young black educated females in my graduating class this knowledge has enabled me to embrace and promote higher education.
I have been an avid soccer player since the age of four with the Richmond Hill and Newmarket Soccer club of which I played at the Provincial level. Having such a huge passion for soccer, I’m currently in the process of starting my own soccer club. People would say that I am very outgoing, funny, and smart but can also be reserved at times. Something interesting about myself people may not know is my fascination with Jamaica and my passion to be involved in the overall development of the country.
What's your inspiration and how do you get motivated?
My inspiration is fueled by my hunger for success. I have had a clear vision of where I want to be in life and the lifestyle that is going to make me happy and I will not stop until my dreams are a reality. My motivation to achieve my goals is my family and friends. I have such an amazing circle of people that motivate and push me to be the absolute best.
How did you get to where you are now and what more should we expect?
I got to where I am now with the strength and motivation of my family. As an aspiring entrepreneur, I am poised to be an independent business owner, youth mentor and outstanding Canadian citizen.
What would you like to be remembered for?
I would like to be remembered as a person that always gave their one hundred percent in any and everything. I want people to remember me as the strong black Canadian woman that encouraged development in the Caribbean and created more opportunity within the region for people who wish to pursue their dreams. I also want to be remembered as a leader in my community for young girls with big dreams.
How do you balance work, family, friends and leisure?
It sounds like a task but if you love something, you make time for it. I have managed to maintain a healthy social life while being able to work part-time at the Bank of Montreal and travel all at the same time. Although a tight balance it keeps me going and makes me happy.
What's your favourite food, book, music and movie
Favourite Books: I, Tituba Black Witch of Salem written by an amazing Caribbean author Maryse Condé and also Black Skin, white masks written by another Caribbean author Franz Fannon.
Favourite Food: The Jamaican national dish, ackee and salt fish. I like it coupled with yam, dumplings and at dinnertime with steamed white rice.
Favourite Music: Reggae music without a question; I love all aspects of it from the conscious reggae to dancehall.
Favourite movie: For Coloured Girls, the best movie that highlights black artistic talents and black struggles and achievements.
What's your experience as a Black person in Canada?
My experience being a Black woman has had its ups and downs. I have encountered many people who encouraged me to be the person I am today but also encountered others who told me outrightly that I won’t succeed because of my colour. I have consciously chosen to stay connected with the people who have supported my success. I believe that the only struggles in the Black Canadian community are people who aim to convince other blacks that they are incapable of success. Canada is seen as a white-dominated society and the minorities who are in my opinion, the majority, are the drivers of the country’s economy. They are the majority of the working class and are being discredited on a daily basis. Awareness is one of the only solutions I can think of but how to tackle it is another question.
What is the Black community doing right or wrong in Canada?
The Afrocentric School in Toronto almost had me in tears when I heard about it. This was one of the most powerful moments in black Canadian history. Every other race has their own religious, racial focused schools, churches, summer programs, and camps but as a black community, we never had anything to claim as our own. They say that education at a young age is the best time to mold the minds of individuals and this will be a test for the upcoming black students in that school. I am very passionate about the school and its aims and hope to be involved somehow in its development and progression. I don’t want to discuss what the black community has done wrong I just believe that we need to stay united to create a better future for our upcoming black youth.
Mention a few of your favourite Black Canadian Artists?
First off I want to mention that Canada is one of the most underestimated countries in the world when it comes to musical talent. I am a fan of so many Canadian artists it’s hard to name them all. I listen to a variety of music but I enjoy Toronto’s own famous, Drake, Melanie Fiona, Kardinal Official, K’naan, and The Weekend. From attending Toronto’s Manifesto concert for the past two years, I understand how much talent there is in this city.
What’s your understanding of Black History in Canada?
Being a history major at York University I never noticed until now that there were no classes solely focused on Black Canadian history. I took a Jamaican Creole language class as well as Caribbean history and African history classes. This leads me to believe that black Canadian history is either not important or non-existent, which is untrue. Surprisingly, I have a degree in history yet I know next to nothing about black Canadian history. The only one I know of is the history that we have created during my lifetime in music, sports, business and the arts