Dear Dauna and team,
I just wanted to say how inspirational the gala was on Saturday. My guest was a dear friend who has lived in Toronto since the 1980s and we both marveled at the huge number of Black Canadians in the room compared to other gatherings 40 years ago. We also were so proud to congratulate my young colleague and fellow anti-black racism activists, Dr. Onye Nnorom for one.
I was so pleased to see other members of my faith and academic community, students and family in the crowd. This gala and the book — this new tradition that was started years ago, has touched our community in profound ways. I can tell you how proud I was of everyone present. I saw the joy and dignity each Black woman demonstrated as they strutted their stuff, their bling and their swaying African hips across the floor in stylish frock and sculpted tresses. I heard their song, their laughter, their music, their souls. This is one of the very few venues that they get to dress up, in a safe space where they are genuinely admired by all who know what beauty really is. And how they glowed. They glowed brighter than the light of those elegant chandeliers! In this transformative space, my guest, a cancer survivor, beamed as someone at another table admired her hair and complimented her beauty. Those words were a kiss from God, and sent her soaring. That’s what this space, this book, the venue and planning did. You brought us pomp and circumstance reminiscent of ancestral traditions.
Thanks for this excellence, this beauty, this reminder that WE ARE.