SHANEKA TAYLOR - ROLE MODEL & AMBASSADOR
Civil Litigator and Real Estate Representative
Officially Inducted into the “National Wall of Role Models” on June 7, 2014 ( See full list www.BlackCanadianAwards.com )
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am an associate at Boghosian + Allen LLP where I practice civil litigation with a focus on municipal liability, insurance defence, real property and contractual remedies. I am also a Sales Representative with Forest Hill Real Estate Inc., a premier Toronto real estate firm specializing in luxury real estate. I am a recipient of the 2010 Dean’s Gold Key Award from OsgoodeHall Law School where I was actively involved in student governance as the Chair of the Student Caucus of Faculty Council. I am an executive member of the Young Lawyers Division of the Ontario Bar Association, the co-Chair of the Young Lawyers Division of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers and an advisory board member of Food for the Poor Canada.
I am passionate about education and its importance in the lives of people, especially girls in the developing world.
What many people may not know about you?
I enjoy travelling and watching Bollywood films.
What's your inspiration and how do you get motivated?
I am inspired by individuals who have overcome personal obstacles. Individuals who rally back with fortitude and strength of character that defies all human understanding. I find those stories motivating.
How did you get to where you are now and what more should we expect?
Through the love and support of countless family and friends, all of whom have added an ingredient into the recipe of my life so far. Above all, I have accomplished everything that I have and will by the grace of God. I am a self-motivator and I pursue issues and spaces that intrigue me. Since I was a small child, I always wanted to become a lawyer. I had never met a real lawyer or knew what it meant to be a lawyer until I was 18. Nevertheless, I had a goal and I worked towards that goal with single-mindedness and determination. That is how I live my life and how I pursue other interests of mine.
What would you like to be remembered for?
For having a giving heart and a forceful spirit.
How do you balance work, family, friends and leisure?
I make time to pursue all of my passions. I work hard and play hard.
What's your favorite food, book, music and movie?
Food: all things Jamaican! I like trying to dishes too though I will admit that once I try something new, I tend to stick with it for a while
Book: The Bible, The Book of Negros
Music: instrumental jazz, Christian, Reggae, Afro-cuban
Movie: too many to name, but here are a few: Shakespeare in Love, Mona Lisa Smile, Happy Feet, For Colored Girls, Three Idiots, Om Shanti Om, Black, Jab Tak Hai Haan, My Name is Khan
What's your experience as a Black person in Canada?
I have been fortunate to grow up in a country where Blacks were the majority. It helped in my transition to living in Canada where I am often the only black person in the room. I am able to draw from my experiences of being influenced, motivated and inspired by persons of colour and not feel like an outsider or that I cannot achieve something because I don’t see it exemplified around me. It is important for young blacks to see themselves in role models, people who have grown up in communities, schools, situations and spaces similar to theirs and know that there are many options for a rewarding life.
Are there as many opportunities for Blacks in Canada that can produce role models and institutions like TD Jakes, Beyonce, Tyler Perry, Obama, BET, etc.
There are and will always be opportunities in any area one is interested it. Sometimes, the issue is not being in the right place and space at the right time or not being connected to the right people. Then there are moments where you have to create your own opportunities against all circumstances. Believe it, work towards it and achieve it.
Mention a few of your favorite Black Canadian Leaders, Artists and Role Models?
Margaret Best, Mitzie Hunter, Pastor Richard Brown, Obiora Okafor, Michaëlle Jean, Lincoln Alexander.
Should & do Blacks support / patronize black music, events and businesses?
We should. Unfortunately we do not support these events and organizations enough.
What’s your understanding of Black History in Canada?
Blacks were very instrumental in the abolition of slavery in Canada and providing safe spaces for those fleeing the tyranny and oppression of slavery in the south. Black Canadians all across this country have worked hard and diligently to open windows and eventually doors of opportunities for younger generations. I think of Sir Alexander and all the firsts he accomplished within his lifetime. His story is truly remarkable and inspirational. And so are the thousands of nameless and unknown Black Canadians who did their part to evolve the psyche of this nation. Their efforts, while not recognized or esteemed in their given season, are invaluable to our continuing development as a people.
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