A mover and shaker in Hamilton’s diverse community was honoured last night for her transformative contributions to the city.
Evelyn Myrie was inducted into the Hamilton Gallery of Distinction which recognizes outstanding citizens who have played a significant role in helping to better the community.
Born in Jamaica, Myrie spent 15 years in Windsor before relocating to Hamilton in 1989.
“This is really humbling,” she said of the recognition. “I have worked in this community for years trying to ensure that diverse voices are heard in our attempt to build an inclusive city….It’s quite an honour to know that I am being recognized for this work.”
She was one of six recipients of the award which was established in 1984.
“The annual induction is a celebration and a chance to share the stories of these remarkable community leaders,” said Hamilton Gallery of Distinction president, Jane Allison. “The 2011 inductees have made thoughtful and lasting contributions to our great city through civic leadership, professional work and volunteer activities and we are thrilled to shine a light on their accomplishments.”
Myrie worked with the federal government for 15 years before becoming a founding director of the Peel Newcomers Strategy Group three years ago. Last April she became executive director of the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion.
In 1996, she co-founded the Rev. John Holland Memorial Awards which honours excellence in Hamilton’s Black community.
The son of a runaway slave and a railway porter, Holland was ordained a minister in 1924 and was, in 1953, the first African-Canadian to be recognized as Hamilton’s Distinguished Citizen of the Year.
A social issues columnist with The Hamilton Spectator for the past eight years, Myrie established the Lifting As We Climb youth mentorship and leadership program two years ago and has also being associated with the United Way of Burlington-Hamilton, the Social Planning and Research Council, the Hamilton Arts Advisory Committee, the Workers Arts & Heritage Centre and the Hamilton Historical Society.
She joins a distinguished honour roll that includes new Wilfrid Laurier University chancellor, Michael Lee-Chin; Canada’s first Black Member of Parliament, Lincoln Alexander; Ethilda “Tillie” Johnson who is a famous face at Hamilton Farmers Market and an active community leader since migrating from Jamaica in 1968; the late Dr. Ray Johnson, a former McMaster University Kinesiology professor and Lions Club member; Ray Lewis, who still holds several Canadian high school track and field records, and Holland who was inducted posthumously in 2003.