Harry Jerome Leadership Award goes to York alum Rosemarie Powell

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York University alum Rosemarie Powell (MES ’15) will be honoured at the 2023 Harry Jerome Awards for her long-serving work in advancing social, economic and environmental justice.

Rosemarie Powell
Rosemarie Powell

The Harry Jerome Awards recognize excellence in the African Canadian community. Powell will be presented with the Leadership Award on April 29 during the 41st Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA) Annual Harry Jerome Awards Gala.

Powell is executive director of the Toronto Community Benefits Network, a non-profit community-labour coalition where she advocates for disadvantaged communities and equity-seeking groups in the City of Toronto. In this role, she has grown the community benefits movement and strengthened the coalition to create good jobs and opportunities through government investment in infrastructure and urban development for Black, Indigenous and racialized peoples with a focus on those who are youth, women and newcomers.

With more than 20 years of service to grassroots communities and organizations, Powell has led numerous community-based programs and services that support marginalized and under-represented groups and their access to the labour market. Throughout her career, she has advanced equitable approaches to policy development and implementation at various levels of government as it relates to land use planning, infrastructure investment and urban development.

She is the recipient of several awards for her leadership and imagination in community engagement and environmental advocacy, and has previously held roles at the Jamaican Canadian Association, the Jane-Finch Community and Family Centre, and Skills for Change.

Established in the memory of Harry Jerome, an outstanding African Canadian Olympic athlete, scholar and social advocate, the BBPA Harry Jerome Awards celebrates African Canadian achievement that pays tribute to outstanding and inspirational African Canadians who are role models of excellence.

The Harry Jerome Awards focus on a number of different categories, including athletics, leadership, young entrepreneurs, business, professional excellence, leadership, arts/media entertainment, health sciences. These awards are done through a nomination process by individuals and organizations across the country.

The Board of Directors additionally selects the president’s, lifetime achievement and diversity awards.