A milestone politician with deep Humber connections celebrated a milestone birthday with some milestone guests this weekend.
The Hon. Jean Augustine, the first black woman in Canada’s House of Commons, celebrated her 80th birthday with a guest list that included Premier Kathleen Wynne, Mayor John Tory and Humber Lakeshore principal Wanda Buote.
Humber staff celebrated with special guests to recognize Augustine’s achievements throughout the years and helped her to make the next step in launching her latest project– the Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community and Diaspora with York University.
She is also no stranger to Humber College where she has worked with students during her political career and with the LAMP Community Health Centre where many projects have helped improve the lives of the Etobicoke-Lakeshore community.
Ten years ago, friends of Augustine established the Jean Augustine Legacy Scholarship with Humber. Through Augustine’s work and community involvement, the scholarship aims to inspire students to create positive change.
Similarly, much of Augustine’s work in social justice and advocacy was inspired by words from her grandmother.
“‘Your life could be that person’s life’. As I grew older I realized, when a person is not invested in others, people begin to struggle because there is a lack of care for the community, families and the aspirations of others that surround them,” she says.
Since arriving in Canada in 1960, Augustine has lived by these words and has served on numerous boards including the Board of Trustees for The Hospital for Sick Children and as the National President of the Congress of Black Women of Canada.
After learning Humber has recently launched the Bachelor of Community Development program, Augustine hopes more students will recognize the importance of community and community building.
“It’s about time we make community a role in the professional field,” she says. “There is full evidence when one is involved and conscious of paying it forward, they realize they are not here on their own and they are supported by their community.”