Ryerson University associate professor, Dr. Grace-Edward Galabuzi, has been a tireless social justice and anti-poverty advocate for the nearly two decades.
Dr. Galabuzi is an academic partner of the Colour of Poverty-Colour of Change, which works to build community-based capacity for racial equity and racial justice and address the growing racialization of poverty. He was also on the panel that advised the Ontario government on a long-awaited review of its welfare system as part of the province’s poverty reduction strategy.
The academic and advocate was honoured for his outstanding community service with an Urban Alliance on Race Relations (UARR) Award at the organization’s 37th anniversary celebration in Toronto.
“I want to say that I am a foot soldier, as many in this room, in the struggle for racial justice,” said Galabuzi during his acceptance speech. “It is not every day that we get the kind of recognition that the Urban Alliance is bestowing on us. But I have to say that such days make all the others both bearable and worth it.
“And yet our most important reward (is) the small but consequential changes in policies, practices, laws and social norms that accumulate into what can make Canadian society and the world ever more open to the proposition of human flourishing for all her people in the many diversities in which they come and exist. We bear the burden of clearing up the brush of racism, racial discrimination, racial oppression and racial power so that our generation and our young can aspire to greater heights and enjoy great possibilities.”
A former research associate at Toronto’s Centre for Social Justice, Galabuzi said there is still much work to be done to ensure that opportunities and outcomes are equitably distributed in an attempt to reverse racialized poverty.
“It has to be one in which workers labour is rewarded equitable,” said Galabuzi, who was recently honoured with a Planet Africa Renaissance Award. “We must build political power through every day forms of organizing around issues that are important to the everyday lives of fellow Canadians. It is a struggle in the very best tradition of the work of so many of our ancestors. That is a lifetime work and I know Charles Roach was conscious of that temporal nature of the commitment. We also need to be deliberate, intentional and conscious of our power to change this world and act.”
Galabuzi authored the 2001 report, “Canada’s Creeping Economic Apartheid,” on the economic conditions of racialized groups in Canada and worked in the provincial New Democratic Party government as a special assistant to the premier. He was also employed in the Ontario public sector as a senior policy analyst on justice issues and has been involved in other community campaigns around social justice issues, including anti-racism and police reform.”
Others recognized at the event were Canadian Auto Workers national director of membership mobilization and campaigns, Jenny Ahn; Toronto Star columnist Carol Goar and noted civil rights lawyer, community leader and activist, Charles Roach, who passed away last month.
BY RON FANFAIR