Celebrating Canadian Black History Month 2023
(From left) President Alan Shepard; Michelle Jenkins, granddaughter of James Jenkins along with former national basketball player Barry Howson with the plaque honouring Jenkins. (Chris Kindratsky/Western Communications)
Scholarship for Black students at Western named in honour of Michelle’s grandfather James Francis Jenkins.
Three new scholarships for Black students at Western have been named in honour of members of the Black community who, through their association with the university and their contributions to the community, have left a legacy of commitment to education and social justice.
James Francis Jenkins what a magnificent man he was
Poem written by Michelle Jenkins
A trailblazer for us.
A Father, a brother, a friend and Mentor for generations to come.
Armed with education he knew his calling and paved the way for future generations
America’s cruelty and racism was not an option for our leader, thus escaping to Canada had to be done. It was a hard and dangerous trip to Canada, yet James wanted to ensure he used his education and envisioned a better life for his family and Blacks in Canada. James would take the positive practices of America’s Black newspapers and use these tools to create a new network in Canada.
One of the first Black settlers in London, a new life began. Protecting and empowering black lives – who were the endangered ones. Determination, hard work, James would honor and praise the work of other Blacks in the community. The drive for education did not stop, as James worked with other Blacks and Whites in the community knowing the true potential of Black men and women had to be protected and uplifted. A better life for Black Canadians a new era had become. The Dawn of Tomorrow, a life line for many, James’ entrepreneurism had just begun.
What a magnificent man he was. Today’s scholars still study him. Brave, fearless and driven, history making is exactly that of what he had become.
My hero, father, Uncle, brother or son, Grandfather, husband, Canadian leader, our visionary Black trailblazer. That is the man he was.
He saved my life, he gave me hope, he protected my family are words those who knew of him might utter. Changing lives of many across Canada that is the magnificent man he was.
As we remember, as we rejoice here today, at home in the books of history, let us praise the man who’s selfless acts made such a heroic outcome.
Strive forward, don’t give up, be aware of the attacks. Blacks gather in safety, give worship and honor your brother and sister were a few written sentiments James felt were a must. That is merely a brief clip of who the strong Black leader, a man with a vision that is who James Francis Jenkins was.
Friends – Education is the key – Fuel your mind with knowledge and ignore hate. Rise and realize your true potential – Black brothers and sisters the time is now, please do not wait. In 2023 we still feel the weight that our fathers carried and fought for, we will make them proud. Black men continue to mentor and create new chapters, Black women shine brighter than the stars. Sisters you can do it, no obstacle you cannot overcome.
My face is your face
My face is your face
We share beauty, pain, laughs and insecurity.
My face is your face.
My face is your face
Sometimes we dance, we jump, we build, we climb
Like the different hues of the sunset
My colour and yours have glorious different tones.
Like the whisper of the wind
The tone of my voice may differ to yours
Yet at the end of the day my face is yours.
As we need trees to breathe, to grow
We need each other to survive.
We need to love and nurture each other.
Let our kind ways, our compassion and love be the fertilizer we need to grow, as we are one.
My face is your face
When you cry I do too,
When you fall, I will pick you up, when you feel nervous, remember I will hold you.
My face is your face,
Together, as one, my face is your face.
By Michelle Angela Jenkins
Thank you to Rob Rose from CIBC who took the time to share this poem with this branch along with three others.
Find the Safe Place Within
– You Have It
For the heroes and heroines who we don’t see struggle – I recognize you.
For those who battle demons, doubt and negative thoughts – I will fight for you.
For the days when you can’t get out of bed or struggle to look in the mirror – I will cheer you on!
For the comment that cut like a knife and the conversation you won’t let go – I will clear the air for you!
We have all been there to different degrees, stages and ages. We have all wondered why and had a heartfelt cry.
What we need to remember is that we are each someone’s hero or heroine. We are each someone’s rock, safe place and listening ear. Together we are without a doubt warriors!
We are kind, loving, sharing and caring. We all have weak moments but the weak moments make the triumphs, the tears of joy and the accomplishments even better.
You have it within, some days you might have to dig deeper, somedays you will have to pick someone else up.
You are loved, you are needed and valued. Even if I have not met you, I know you are amazing. Look in that mirror and remind yourself how GREAT you are!
Hearts with Love Project
My Goal: Bring Awareness to the Community about Racism in a non-confrontational and gentle manner to address the subject of Equality. The Black Heart represents all black lives lost due to racism and the red heart, or any other color heart that an individual may choose represents a special person in one’s life.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Michelle graduated from the University of Toronto’s Teachers College (OISE) where Art was one of main studies of focus. During her undergraduate studies at the University of Windsor, Michelle had the opportunity to use different mediums such as metals and clay. Painting with acrylic has proven to be her preferred medium. For Michelle it is an exciting feeling to look at a blank canvas:
“I enjoy “growing” with my painting. I find it interesting to watch how the color begins to take on movement in different directions and styles. It is a type of freedom.”
“Michelle Angela Jenkins made an indelible mark on art lovers within Dubai’s community when she displayed her artwork at Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina. Smitten with her work, they’ve invited her back.”
Melissa Randhawa – Author dxbuzz
“I personally feel that we are all creative in many different ways shapes and forms, yet it is how we choose to express ourselves. In this fast paced world that we live in, I feel too often that we neglect the true beauty and splendor of art.”
–Michelle Angela Jenkins
Copyright © 2020 Hearts with Love Project