The Gleaner, North America Dec 08, 2022 - Jan 05, 2023

11 Sophia Findlay/Gleaner Writer TORONTO: GRACE CARTER-HENRY Lyons is founder and musical director of Heritage Singers (Canada), and seemingly is revered in equal portions as a CitiBank Canada banker and a real estate professional in the Re/Max Hall of Fame. THAT IS the magic of the Jamaicaborn Lyons, who traverses her business industries effortlessly with stellar performance and discipline. But it is the work and impact of the melodic Heritage Singers, her brainchild, that garnered her the 2022 Heritage Award at the Excellence Awards organised by Afroglobal Television on October 29, at the Meridian Arts Centre, in Toronto. “To me, the receipt of this Heritage Award means recognition and appreciation from not only the Caribbean community, but the African and global community as we lovingly interface, interact, worship, and share our cultural values,” Lyons told The Gleaner. The Heritage Singers’ music is steeped, unmistakeably, in Jamaican culture, tradition, and nostalgia of simpler times.The group of dedicated members reflects, too, the Canadian mosaic, their repertoire ranging from sacred to secular, and includes work songs, lullabies, seasonal ditties, and perennial ballads. They have performed worldwide, including in Holland, Germany, Taiwan, Mexico, and Venezuela. Lyons studied piano in Jamaica through The Royal School of Music (London, England) and was tutored in singing by the late Joyce Britton, a Julliard School of Music graduate. She served for 15 years in the banking industry, including management, and has been a realtor for the past 35 years. She has also received the Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA) Harry Jerome Award for Business Excellence, the Women of Excellence Award from the Congress of Black Women, and was recognised in the Who’s Who of Black Canada. She is also on the board of directors of the Community Folk Arts Council of Metropolitan Toronto. HIGH ACHIEVERS Fifteen other excellence awards were given to individuals in various capacities. The 100 Most Influential Black Canadians: Celebrating Black Brilliance was also a feature at the swanky event, which attracted top-tier black community business and organisations leaders, politicians, sponsors, stakeholders, and well-wishers. The excellence awards recipients were Jeffrey Orridge, Leadership; Hon. Wanda T. Bernard, Lifetime Achievement; Dr Opiyo Oloya, Renaissance; Claudette McGowan, Science and Technology; Andrew Enofe, Enterprise; Kenneth Daniel, Marcus Mosiah Garvey; Shola Alabi, Humanitarian; Michael and Diane Clemons, Global Impact; Charles Osuji, Professional; Dr Rustum Southwell, Visionary; OlunkeW. Adeliyi; Emannuel Jal, Entertainment; Dr Roz Roach, Community; Joan Jenkinson, Media; and Steve Anderson, Legacy. In his publisher’s note, Moses A. Mawa, publisher and CEO of Afroglobal Excellence Magazine, themed: The Pulse of A Determined People, says: “The sixteen recipients of each year are role models for youth in the Crossover Mentorship Program. The premier cable network also runs the 100 Most Influential Black Canadians initiative, who are celebrated at this year’s Excellence Awards gala. This new initiative features high achievers in all sectors across Canada … . My hope is that it will inspire you to aspire to achieve more before you expire.” Mawa and his wife, Patricia Bebia Mawa, executive vice-president of Afroglobal Television, are at the helm of the 24-hour superchannel that ‘informs, empowers, uplifts, and entertains’, with programming focused on Africa and the diaspora. The channel reflects the experiences of people of African descent. Excellence, Destiny, Envision, Diversity, Legacy, Discover and Afroglobal are brands associated with Silvertrust Media and the Transformation, a non-profit institute that runs the Crossover Mentorship Program. Included on the list of the 100 Most Influential Black Canadians were Jamaicans - Wes Hall, Kingsdale Advisors, founder of Black Initiative; Al Ramsay, Market Segment, TD Bank Financial Group; billionaire and philanthropist Michael Lee-Chin, chairman and CEO of Portland Holdings Inc; Michael Forrest, founder of Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce; Chris Campbell, vice-president, Carpenter’s District Council of Ontario; Michael Tulloch, judge, Ontario Court of Appeal; Donovan Bailey, sprinter and gold medallist, Howard Shearer, president and CEO of Hitachi Canada; Denham Jolly, founder BBPA and Milestone Enterprises; Mary Ann Chambers, author and chancellor, Guelph University; Nadine Spencer, CEO of Black Business and Professional Association; Selwyn Richards, chef of Art of Catering; and Evelyn Myrie, president, Afro Canadian Caribbean Association. WASHINGTON, DC: THREE JAMAICANS were among nine Caribbean nationals who were honoured by the Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) in Washington, DC, for their contribution to various fields, ranging from music and education to science and technology. Leader of Jamaica’s renowned Grammy award-winning group Black Uhuru, Derrick “Duckie” Simpson received the Marcus Garvey Lifetime Achievement award, founder and CEO of Bailey’s Medical Supplies Dr Trisha Bailey received the Luminary award, and the chief visionary officer and lead innovator of the aerospace company ParagonVTOL, Dwight Smith, received the Forerunner Award. They were honoured at the 29th annual Caribbean American awards gala sponsored by the ICS on Friday, November 18, at the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington, DC. In commending the awardees, United States Vice President Kamala Harris also hailed the work of the institute.”Since 1993, the Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) has worked tirelessly to uplift the voices and needs of Caribbean Americans and immigrants. “Thanks to you and your work, including your efforts to elevate Caribbean American Heritage Month and advance civic participation, ICS continues to strengthen communities and democracy.” In the message read by Danielle K. Decker, adviser, Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs in the Office of the Vice President, Harris said the Biden-Harris administration was“proud to forge the next chapter in the special and enduring relationship between the United States and the Caribbean region, one based on common bonds, shared values, and generations of families who have called our nation home”. “As vice president of the United States, and as someone deeply proud of my own Caribbean heritage, I thank you for all that you do to strengthen our nation. And to tonight’s honorees, thank you for proving once again that through big dreams, hard work, and unwavering optimism, we can secure a future filled with opportunity and prosperity for us all,” Vice President Harris declared. INDOMITABLE SPIRIT ICS president and founder Dr Claire Nelson, said, “Through the Caribbean Heritage award, we highlight leaders who represent the ideal of excellence and whose genuine and hard work demonstrate the American success story as a nation of immigrants. “As we go forward, we see ourselves as a vital thread in the network of relationships needed to weave a successful tapestry in 21st century Caribbean. Tonight, we honour those among us who gave credence to the saying that the ‘light of God lives within each of us’. Our honorees are beacons of hope, exemplars of the indomitable spirit of the Caribbean. As we see their light, we reflect on our own potential to become more.” In his response, Black Uhuru’s Duckie Simpson said: “I have received many awards including the Grammy. Every award means something to me. But receiving the Marcus Garvey’s award is something special to me as it represents an outstanding Jamaican who has lobbied and fought on behalf of the masses.” The other awardees are Eric Adolphe, Professor Carol Davis, Josanne Francis, Ainsley Gill, Biharil Lall, and Stacey Mollison. Institute of Caribbean Studies honours three Jamaicans as ‘beacons of hope’ Leader of Jamaica’s Reggae Grammy Award winning group Black Uhuru, Derrick ‘Duckie’ Simpson accepts the Marcus Garvey Lifetime Achievement Award from Gloria Davis-Simpson of the Jamaican embassy in Washington at the 29th Annual Caribbean American Heritage Awards Gala at the JWMarriott Hotel inWashington DC. PHOTO BY DERRICK A SCOTT Heritage Singers founder Grace Carter-Henry Lyons receives 2022 Heritage Award From left: Warren Salmon, First Friday; 2022 Science and Technology awardee Claudette MC Gowan, CEO Protexxa & Global It Leader; Patricia Bebia Mawa, executive vice president of Afroglobal Television and Nadine Spencer, CEO of Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA), at this year’s Excellence Awards gala. PHOTO BY SOPHIA FINDLAY Grace Carter-Henry Lyons, founder and musical director- The Heritage Singers (Canada) receives the 2022 Heritage Award from Chris Campbell, vice president Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario Carpenter’s Union Local 27. CONTRIBUTED THE WEEKLY GLEANER | DECEMBER 8, 2022 - JANUARY 5, 2023 | | NEWS