By RON FANFAIR
Youth worker and activist Tonika Morgan is a recipient of this year’s Constance E. Hamilton award.
She is being recognized for her dedication in addressing the social and economic barriers women face and also for her tireless work to engage young people in civic life.
Born to teenage parents, the high school dropout lived a nomadic life for several years before winding up at the YWCA Stop 86 shelter (renamed 1st Stop Woodlawn) for young women.
With the support of her new environment, Morgan volunteered with the Toronto Youth Cabinet and became immersed in several community initiatives. The Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre hired her to help form a youth council in the area and she founded the Medina Collective, a grassroots hip-hop feminist, arts and education collective.
Morgan was recognized in 2005 with the YWCA Young Woman of Distinction award.
Other Constance Hamilton award winners are Cindy Cowan, who is recognized for her advocacy efforts and leadership in providing services aimed at improving the lives of marginalized women, and Tam Goossen for a lifetime of leadership, advocacy and public service.
“The leadership and advocacy work by these women has made great strides in improving the lives of women and families in our city,” said Toronto Centre-Rosedale councillor Pam McConnell. “Although there have been significant advances towards gender equity, the work is not done. The achievements of these women continue to be an inspiration to us all.”
The awards will be presented later this year.