A York University Master’s in environmental studies student has received an award for his impressive extracurricular and community work.
Jerome Morgan was presented with the award which is named for former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Lincoln Alexander, and recognizes young leaders who are advocating against racism and discrimination.
“When I was younger, he was one of the African-Canadians that I researched and was quite impressed by his body of work as a lawyer, politician and university chancellor,” said Morgan who graduated from Ryerson University with a degree in Psychology. “He’s a positive role model for me and I was so happy to be in his presence to receive this special award for the work I do in my community.”
Morgan was quite active during his four years at Ryerson. He was president of the United Black Students organization and a youth ambassador for three years in the university’s unique Tri-Mentoring First Generation program established to help first generation and new immigrant students with their transition to post-secondary education.
Morgan also tutored students, coordinated free art programs for the Art Starts Neighbourhood Cultural Centre in the Lawrence Heights community and worked as a youth leader with School Without Borders, which supports a global network of grassroots educators and learning communities.
Three years ago, he visited Brazil and worked with neighbourhood leaders to learn about community development, poverty and culture. Using this experience in his practicum course, he returned to the South American country a year later to connect his experiential learning project to his research on liberation psychology. He also helped rebuild homes in New Orleans destroyed by Hurricane Katarina and worked in New York for the Leave Out Violence program with its violence prevention initiatives.
Earlier this year, Morgan was one of 66 recipients of Dennis Mock Student Leadership awards that recognize graduates who have made outstanding voluntary extracurricular contributions while on campus.
Coming to Canada from Jamaica in 1991 at age four, Morgan spent two years each at Martingrove and Emery Collegiate institutes.
Morgan and two other youth winners each received a scroll signed by Alexander and Premier Dalton McGuinty and $5,000.
“These young people are fighting racial discrimination so that others may more easily accomplish their goals,” said Alexander. “They are role models for people of all ages.”
Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor David Onley saluted the winners.
“It is paramount that we as a society continually seek, recognize and encourage young people who have the courage to live out the highest ideals and whose efforts provide all Ontarians with inspiration and hope for the future,” he said.
The province’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Charles Sousa, said the recipients are change-makers.
“We as Ontarians celebrate their commitment to fighting discrimination,” he said. “Their examples inspire us all to be better citizens.”
The Ontario government established the Lincoln Alexander Award in 1993.