Event to pay tribute to Dudley Laws this Sunday

The Global anti-racist movement, African Canadian community and Jamaican Diaspora invites all to an event to honour activist and freedom fighter Dudley Laws for his more than half a century of selfless and heroic service to humanity.

On Sunday, March 20, 2011, Honouring Dudley Laws will commence at 2:30 p.m. at the Jamaican Canadian Association’s centre, 995 Arrow Road, in Toronto.

The event  will feature a variety of musical and other forms of entertainment from the talented artists of the community, a selection of food and drink, as well as tributes and greetings from the Canadian community to which Dudley Laws has devoted much of his life and made sacrifice after sacrifice, and from the Global anti-racist movement.

“Too often, we are guilty of not showing our love and appreciation for the people who have made massive contributions to society while they are with us to hear that we respect and love them,” said Valarie Steele, who chairs the committee which is organizing the event.

“At the JCA on Sunday, March 20, 2011 we have the opportunity to honour this iconic elder and example of selflessness. Here is an opportunity to laud and show our appreciation for the more than half century of voluntary labour Dudley Laws has given to communities worldwide.”

Laws left his Jamaican home for Britain in 1955, as a young man, and since then has lived, worked and struggled in African and Jamaican communities in Britain and Canada.

Everywhere and in every community in which he has lived, he has served. His life is an example of how to give and give and give to one’s fellow humans.

His community service and activism began in Britain helping new immigrants from Jamaica and other parts of the world. He was a member of the Standing Conference of the West Indies and a founding member of the Brixton Neighbourhood Association. Both organizations were founded to combat racism and discrimination against the thousands upon thousands of people of African descent who immigrated to Britain between 1955 and 1965.

Laws was also involved in the maintenance of the cultural heritage of Jamaica, other Caribbean and African countries.

Dudley Laws moved to Canada in 1965, and immediately involved himself in the West Indian and African communities through organizations, churches and clubs where community members gathered. He joined the Jamaican-Canadian Association in 1967 and in 1968, joined the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), which later became the UAIA (Universal African Improvement Association). He became president of the UNIA in 1972 and later served as its executive director.

He is a founding member of The Black Inmates and Friends Assembly (BIFA), in the federal prisons such as Millhaven, Warkworth, Joyceville, Collins Bay and Kingston penitentiaries. Among other organizations which he formed and co-founded are the Immican Youth for Skilled Organization, the Committee for Due Process, the Albert Johnson Committee, the Lester Donaldson Committee, Black Youth Community Action Project, the Michael Wade Lawson Committee and he was a founding member of the BADC (Black Action Defense Committee).

Laws is a member of the Jamaican Canadian Association and the Jamaican Diaspora (Foundation) Canada. It is largely due to his efforts that Ontario developed a police accountability process, allowing independent civilian bodies to investigate complaints against the police.

He is truly a man proven worthy of our respect. Please come and show your love.

For further information, contact: Valarie Steele 416-656-4624 or Philip Mascoll 416-465-9933.

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