This month we are proud to celebrate the many achievements and accomplishments of Canadians of African descent, including our founder Eva Smith and her many friends, colleagues and contemporaries, whose advocacy and resistance contributed so much to the City of Toronto, our country and laid the ground-work for our organization.

We stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. We are grateful and honoured to celebrate their legacy.

Kamala Jean–Gopie

At Eva‘s Initiatives we stand on the shoulders of our founder Eva Smith and her contemporaries, like Kamala-Jean Gopie, a Jamaican-born Canadian community advocate.

Kamala worked beside our founder Eva Smith to address the systemic barriers that contributed to the disparities in outcomes for Black youth in Toronto’s education system. Together with Eva and many other advocates Kamala has helped to even the playing field for students of all ethnicities by pushing the education system to make the changes necessary for more equitable outcomes.

A teacher by trade, previous president of the Jamaican Canadian Association, former chair of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations, and founding director of the Black Business and Professional Association. Kamala also served on the Ontario Race Relations and Policing Task Force in 1989. The task force drew attention to reports of systematic racial discrimination in Ontario’s police services, and encouraged the Ontario government to establish mandatory hiring quotas for racialized communities.