Celebrate with Marilyn The Great this Saturday

By Michael Lashley

Marilyn Daniel-Awong
Marilyn Daniel-Awong

Let me tell you why you are going to join Marilyn this Saturday (June 20) at 2 p.m.

With the valuable support of Christabelle and Tommy Critchlow, Marilyn and her team of volunteers have organized a musically charged food event to raise funds to recover the cost of transporting a major charitable donation of medical supplies sent to Trinidad and Tobago recently. Tickets may be ordered at 416-845-8194 and 416-321-9578.

Marilyn helps load container
Marilyn helps load container

We all belong in that food and music event because it is a celebration of what is best in us: the automatic inclination to give, help and share. Our Marilyn Daniel-Awong is indeed Marilyn The Great because she embodies that dedication to giving. She knows what it means to give until it hurts.

In this field, she has acquired leadership status. When the crunch came, there was a serious danger of losing the donated items, because there was no funding to ship them to the T&T charities which agreed to receive and distribute them. Marilyn leapt into the breach and paid for the shipping with her personal credit liability.

That leadership in the culture of giving is one of the main avenues in which Caribbean people have made a significant contribution to Canada. As is evident in the massive size of its not-for-profit sector, giving is undeniably an integral part of Canada’s DNA.

People like Marilyn – I can make a long list starting with Jean Turner-Williams, Ken Jeffers, Lennox Borel, Colin Benjamin, Steve Khan, Anthony Joseph, Joan Pierre, Rita Cox, and our special honorary Gordon Cressey – tend to belong to and to create multi-generational families steeped in a lifestyle of giving.

I have grown accustomed to seeing her husband Willard, her mother Angela Daniel and her daughter Faith hard at work at numerous community functions over the years.

Which brings us to Marilyn’s co-conspirators in this Saturday’s celebration of giving at the residence of Christabelle and Tommy, 2009 Brimley Rd., just south of Sheppard Ave. in Scarborough. To do justice to the legacy created by steelpan virtuoso Tommy Critchlow and community activist Christabelle Critchlow will require me to write a Ph.D. thesis in Diaspora studies.

As noble an undertaking as that will be, I prefer to rest on my laurels. My own Ph.D. in Mangology is more than enough of an honor for me to share with Aneesa Oumarally’s father who is a highly reputable Mangologist himself.

Coming back to the laurels that must be heaped on Marilyn The Great, her travels to T&T to ensure the smooth distribution of the medical equipment have planted a tree that already has more than 13 thriving branches.

The Red Cross, Lady Hochoy Home, the Living Water Community, FEEL and Princess Elizabeth Home for the Physically Handicapped are among those organizations that have expressed their gratitude for the high quality, brand new medical items that came in the shipment. And for next year, Marilyn and her volunteers are planning to return to T&T to organize a workshop on peritoneal dialysis and to carry out community outreach activities in La Fillette, Blanchisseuse, the Toco area and Tobago.

Marilyn The Great, Christabelle, and Tommy: See you this Saturday afternoon. We comin’ dong!

Michael Lashley
Michael Lashley