Ontario recognizes outstanding young leaders

The Ontario government is recognizing six outstanding young leaders with the Lincoln M. Alexander Award for their commitment to anti-racism and equity in their communities.

The award was established by the Government of Ontario in honour of Colonel Lincoln MacCauley Alexander, the province’s 24th Lieutenant Governor. It recognizes his legacy as the first Black person elected to the House of Commons, the first Black Cabinet Minister, and the province’s first Black Lieutenant Governor.

Each year, the Lincoln M. Alexander Award is given to up to three young people — students or community leaders — who have demonstrated exemplary leadership in working to eliminate racial discrimination. Each recipient receives a $5,000 award and a certificate.

The three 2020 recipients are:

  • Julius Nuako K. Adu, 19, of Markham, who is a founding member of the York District Schoolboard’s Rise Brothers Mentorship Program and is founder/former president of the Black Student Alliance at his high school.
  • Mohammed Rafique, 18, of Kitchener, who as a refugee spent years as a volunteer with theRohingya Association of Canada and as an advocate for his community.
  • Ahona Mehdi, 18, of Hamilton, who has led and facilitated various programs that mentor and advocate for racialized and marginalized students both at the district schoolboard and provincial level.

The three 2019 recipients are:

  • Eki Okungbowa, 24, of Toronto, who participates in grass roots initiatives, and volunteers with diverse communities and federal government advisory committees as an advocate for social justice and racial equality.
  • Halimo-Kafia Mohamed Fourreh, 19, of Ottawa, who has led numerous campaigns and programs as Chair of the Women’s Committee and executive member of the Equity and Inclusion Committee at her high school.
  • Deborah Tewelde, 19, of Kitchener, who co-founded the Black Student Union at her high school, organizing projects on inclusion and equality within her school and community.

“Congratulations to the recipients of the 2019 and 2020 Lincoln Alexander Award,” Education Minister Stephen Lecce said. “Through their transformative actions to combat racism, discrimination and inequity, these exceptional young adults have demonstrated exemplary leadership. Their outstanding efforts contribute to schools that are safe, respectful, and inclusive communities that allow for every student to succeed.”

The government encourages all Ontarians to consider nominating outstanding young leaders for this award. Ontario’s robust and extensive honours and awards program also includes the June Callwood Award and the Volunteer Service Award.

Visit Ontario’s website for more information or to nominate an exceptional young leader, volunteer or volunteer organization.


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