Hamilton Black History Council Gala celebrates the bright stars of the Black community

The Hamilton Black History Council’s annual event unfolded as a celebration of Black excellence and community engagement, spotlighting the remarkable achievements and impactful community work of young individuals in the city. Among the standout winners was 17-year-old Naomi Ogunjobi, a Grade 12 student at St. Thomas More Catholic Secondary School. Ogunjobi, who never envisioned winning awards or attending university as a child, shattered her own expectations by receiving the prestigious Damptey Scholarship for Civic Leadership at the John C. Holland Awards.

Naomi Ogunjobi

Ogunjobi said she was honoured and grateful for the recognition. Her journey from a place of doubt to becoming a scholarship recipient serves as a testament to her resilience and determination. Ogunjobi, who plans to pursue studies in political science or law and society in university, aspires to inspire others. Her message resonates with the belief that anyone, regardless of background, possesses the potential to uplift, inspire, and empower those around them. The 17-year-old received the Damptey Scholarship for Civic Leadership, which was established last year by Kojo Damptey, the scholarship’s founder and former executive director of the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion.

Ezinne Ifeanacho

The event recognized a total of 35 award recipients for their outstanding achievements in various fields. Among them was Ezinne Ifeanacho, recipient of the Marlene Thomas Community Advocacy Bursary. Ifeanacho, a second-year health sciences student at McMaster University and the daughter of Nigerian immigrants, described the event as “illuminating” and “truly remarkable.”

As a community advisor at McMaster, Ifeanacho assists first-year students in navigating university life. Her volunteer work at the Juravinski Cancer Centre involves aiding elderly patients facing challenging times. Additionally, she engages with children through BGC Hamilton and contributes to stress management workshops at Rafiki, dedicated to African immigration services.

The collective achievements of Ogunjobi, Ifeanacho, and other awardees at the Hamilton event illuminated the potential for positive change within communities when individuals are recognized, celebrated, and empowered to make a difference.