The prose and poetry of equality

In recognition of the International Women’s Day and the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, there will be a presentation and poetry readings today, from 4 to 5:30pm in the Senate Chamber, N940 Ross Bldg., on the Keele campus. Members of the York community are invited to attend the presentation.

The event, which is hosted by the March 8-21 Coalition and the Office of the Ombudsperson and Centre for Human Rights, will feature introductory remarks by Fiona Crean, Ombudsperson, remarks from York’s President and Vice-Chancellor, Lorna R. Marsden, followed by presentations from Roberta Jamieson of the Mohawk Nation and celebrated author, Austin Clarke. Poetry readings will be given by Rudhramoorthy Cheran and Luis Eduardo Mejicano.

Jamieson is the CEO of the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, former Ombudsman for the Province of Ontario and, until recently, Chief of the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. She received an honorary doctor of laws degree, awarded during York’s Spring 2003 Faculty of Arts convocation ceremony. Jamieson’s presentation today is titled “United to Deal with Unfinished Business”.

Right: Roberta Jamieson

Raised on the Six Nations of the Grand River, Canada’s most populous reserve, she learned to be an effective conciliator and negotiator within her large family – a skill that has defined her career.  Lauded for developing and promoting non-adversarial methods of conflict resolution, Jamieson has collaborated with legal and political experts in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America to advance democracy through institutional change. She has won international acclaim for her passion, willingness to take risks, and commitment to the field of conflict resolution.

As a Canadian writer born and raised in Barbados, Clarke has explored the lives of Caribbean immigrants in Toronto. His ninth novel, The Polished Hoe, won the Giller Prize for fiction in 2002, and the Regional Commonwealth Prize for best book in 2003.

Left: Austin Clarke

Clarke also published six collections of short stories and in 1999 was awarded the W.O. Mitchell Prize for producing an outstanding body of work and the Rogers Communication Writers Trust Prize (1998). He has worked as a journalist and broadcaster, and has been a visiting professor at several North American universities. Clarke will present “Fiction and Its Narrative: a Point of View”.

Cheran is a poet and journalist based in Toronto. Born in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, Cheran was the deputy editor of the Saturday Review, the only independent English-language weekly in Sri Lanka between 1981 and 1987. Cheran has published seven anthologies of poetry and was the editor of We’ll Live Amidst Death, an anthology of Tamil resistance poetry published in 1985 and 1997 in Sri Lanka and India.

Cheran’s poetry has been translated into English, German, Sinahala and Dutch. For the past ten years, Cheran has been an editor of Sarinihar, a Tamil-language bi-monthly newspaper dedicated to uncensored coverage of the ongoing civil war in Sri Lanka. He is currently teaching in the Department of Sociology at York.

Luis Eduardo Mejicano, otherwise known as “SPIN”, is a well-known award winning poet and spoken word artist. He focuses his poetry and spoken word performances to raise awareness amongst and between diverse ethno-racial and multicultural youth in the Greater Toronto Area. As a youth advocate and activist, he is also a positive role model and well respected by many community groups and organizations in Toronto. He will give a spoken word poetry performance.

Following the presentations, there will be a reception from 5:30 to 7:00pm in the Chancellor’s Lounge located in the Underground Restaurant in the York Student Centre on the Keele campus.