‘We always knew that Share had our backs’

Mr. Auguste:

Many times we can be beneficiaries of something around us, something that is so much a part of our lives, we no longer see it or even recognize what it means to the betterment of our lives and community.

In fact, our expectations, unconscious, is that it will always be there, ever present.

Share Newspaper is one of these things, these institutions so encompassing we accept them even as we accept the inevitability of weekends and friendship.

Your service as editor and publisher has been a professional one; in that what you do makes the efforts of others easier. For example, while I was a teacher (Share and I haven’t always been in sync on many issues), I felt no difficulty sharing the newspaper with staff, students and others who were strangers to our community, and the challenges we face(d).

The layout, grammar, presentations, independence of thought and breath of opinion made it useful and informative. Something of which one could rightfully be proud.

Your current position on the seizure of the Caribana carnival and festival weekend by the City of Toronto is yet another of the independent – and possibly also costly – positions Share has taken over the years.

I am reminded, especially because I was also involved in Share’s advocacy for the Black-focused school, and during the period when its concept was bitterly opposed both in and out of our magnificent Black community, our African-Canadian community.

Today, this school, in its elementary programs is serving our youth. It is a great victory, and as an early advocate and activist on this, I take this occasion to laud you for your paper’s definitive position.

I am also reminded, too, of the sterling engagement, unequivocal and incisive, of Share’s articles and editorials against ‘Showboat’, the theatre festival staged in North York in 1993. Then, every newspaper in the country, some in our community, too, supported this travesty of art. Share did not back down. Those of us weekly in the trenches – Dudley Laws, Charlie Roach, Cleveland Moulton, Sherona Hall, Nomvuyo Hyman, Stephnie Payne, Colin Kerr and a vast coterie of others – always knew that Share had our backs on Showboat. Share informed our community greatly.

One example of this resulted in one young lady, then a 10-year-old student, Fayola Leach, making a presentation to the Toronto Board of Education against the Board’s decision to carry students to see Showboat, part of the organizers’ counter-propaganda.

Fayola said, while holding a photocopy of a Share article in her hands, that she had viewed a taped copy of Showboat and didn’t like how it portrayed Black people.

Even today, more than a decade later, many people, also when recalling Showboat automatically also recall the heroic role played by Share, indomitable, unwavering and objective.

I do not know how many other campaigns Share and you will be involved in, but this I do know: There will be other campaigns in the future, and the stand taken by Share will surely be, by example, an inspiration of how a community, despised and overlooked, can mount a response that is as epic as it is just.

Hats off to you, Share, and may the Creator continue to lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

Lennox Farrell,

Niagara Falls, Ont.