JCA Boonoonoonos Brunch – a Black History Month celebration

From left: Yanique Williams. Cheryll Case, Julius Lindsay and Rokhaya Gueye

The Jamaican Canadian Association Boonoonoonos Brunch is a cultural event that celebrates the Black and Jamaica communities by bringing them together to celebrate Black History Month.

The word “Boonoonoonos” is a Jamaican term that was coined by the late Louise “Miss Lou” Bennett – Coverly. It means, among other things, “gathering” or “get-together.” This event certainly lived up to its name.

The Theme for this year was Celebrating Black Youth Excellence.

The brunch featured a variety of Jamaican dishes such as ackee and saltfish, jerk chicken and plantains. Guests were also treated to traditional Jamaican music provided by DJ Joshua Lucas, and live performances by artists such as Eliana Sinclair, The Elite Dancers, Queen Banton and Samantha- Rae McLean.

Dr Sylvanus Thompson and Co Hosts Kashane Denton and Stacy-Ann Buchannan

There were also inspirational messages from a number of Government and Community Leaders: Judy Sgro, MP Humber River-Black Creek; Charmaine Williams, Associate Minister of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunities; Mitsy Hunter, MPP, Scarborough- Guildwood; Jamaican Consul General Lincoln Downer, and Jim MacSween, Chief, York Regional Police.

The event was professionally co-hosted by JCA Communications Director Kashane Denton and Stacey-Ann Buchanan, one of the 100 Black Women to Watch in Canada.

Four individuals were recognised for their personal accomplishments and contributions to the Black Community: Cheryll Case, Rokhaya Gueye, Yanique Williams and Julius Lindsay.

Cheryl founded the Community in Public in 2017 to integrate human rights values into community planning. Her leadership in the co-design of neighbourhood, city, and nation-wide planning strategies has raised millions of dollars for solutions that uphold the economic, social, and cultural rights of marginalized people.

York Regional Police Officer Dovelin Hawthorne, Rokhoya Gueye and Clifton Donegal, Carpenter Instructor, College of Carpenters and Allied Trades

Rokhaya Gueye is a Carpenter, Mentor/Coach, and Community Organizer. Currently, she is a member of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee at Carpenters Local 27, Delegate at Toronto & York Regional Labour Council, and Ambassador & Mentor at Toronto Community Benefits Network.

Yanique Williams is Uber’s Public Policy Manager responsible for Western Canada. In her role she is also focused on the company’s national safety policy including road safety, personal safety, women’s safety, and health safety.

Julius Lindsay is the Director, Sustainable Communities at the David Suzuki Foundation. He leads the Foundation’s work to accelerate and raise the ambition of climate action in cities across the place now known as Canada. Julius is also a co-founder of the Black Environmentalist Alliance, an organization that seeks to champion Black people in the environmental profession.

“The Boonoonoonos Brunch is an important event that celebrates the Black community and provides a space for members to come together, connect, and support each other,” saidDr. Sylvanus Thompson, Co- Chair of the Planning Committee. “Through its focus on food, music, and community building, the event helps to preserve and promote Black culture in Canada.”