Almost four months ago, Mitzie Hunter entered the provincial legislature after winning last July’s Scarborough-Guildwood by-election.
Last month, Andre Crawford became York Regional Police Service’s first Black deputy chief, joining Toronto deputies Peter Sloly and Mark Saunders as the only Blacks holding that rank in Canada.
The Jamaican-born Canadian public servants were recognized for excellence last Sunday at the Wolmer’s Alumni Association Toronto chapter’s annual fundraising brunch.
Hunter and Crawford were each presented with copies of “In the Light of the Sun” that chronicles the history of Wolmer’s Girls School.
“Ever since my appointment, the outpouring of congratulations I have received from the community has been overwhelming,” said Crawford. “No words can explain what this has meant to me and my family. This is another example of that and I am so deeply honoured.”
Crawford attended Campion College before migrating at age 13 in 1972 with his parents and three siblings. After graduating from A.Y. Jackson Secondary School and the University of Waterloo with a Fine Arts degree, he spent six years with Royal Bank as a teller and then loans clerk.
Looking for a new challenge, Crawford’s cousin – Toronto Police Const. Don Moss who is assigned to 53 Division — encouraged him to join the Service.
“At around the same time, I had a customer whose husband was a Toronto police officer and he also urged me to send in an application,” Crawford said.
Just when he thought he was going to become a member of Canada’s largest police service, there was a hiring freeze.
On his cousin’s advice, Crawford applied to York and was hired within three months.
In his 27 years on the job, he worked in uniform, intelligence, organized crime, homicide, sexual assault, administration and community services prior to his landmark promotion.
One of two Blacks in the Ontario legislature and the third Jamaican-born woman to represent Scarborough-Guildwood at Queen’s Park, Hunter said the transition has been seamless.
“I have been given the opportunity to bring skills set that I have from many years working in the community and utilize them in government,” she said.
Hunter is parliamentary assistant to Minister of Community & Social Services, Ted McMeekin, a member of the finance & economic and government committees and a special committee on developmental services.
“I am just honoured to be a Jamaican serving in the legislature,” she told the Wolmer’s alumni and their friends. “When I ran in the election, I told my community in Scarborough-Guildwood that my role is to be a strong voice for them at Queen’s Park. But I also believe that as a born Jamaican, my role is to be a strong voice for all Jamaicans anytime I speak.”