We pay tribute to a proud history dating back to the Canadian Negro Women’s Association (CANEWA) which was founded in 1951 by a small group of Black women in Toronto. In recognition of the importance of cultural and racial pride to Black people, CANEWA’s goal was to expand Black consciousness in Canada and beyond. The Calypso Carnival, the brainchild of CANEWA, and a fore-runner to Caribana and the current Caribbean Carnival celebrated in Toronto, was one of the first public celebrations highlighting Black and Caribbean culture.

CANEWA also focused on providing scholarships to young Black students. As early as 1951, a program was implemented to award scholarships. It was Kay Livingstone, a founding member of CANEWA who inspired the other pioneers to participate in the scholarship-awarding venture. Their objective was two-fold: To keep Black students in school and to equip Black people with the tools necessary to pursue equality.