Unifor national representative John O’Dell was recognized for his community service at Saturday's African Canadian Achievement Awards (ACAA). The ACAA were founded in 1985 by Michael L. Van Cooten, Founder, Publisher and Editor of Pride News Magazine and continue to celebrate the excellence of African Canadians more than thirty years later.
On Saturday, February 25, O’Dell was awarded the Excellence in Community Service for his work as co-chair of the Toronto Police Services’ Black Community-Police Liaison Committee. In his remarks to the audience at Saturday’s awards show, O’Dell dedicated his award to community organisers who continue to work in grassroots activism across the country and around the world and recognised Unifor as a provider and defender of good jobs and a leader in the fight for the rights of women and all workers. Joined by family from Guyana and New York, he recognised his aunt for first introducing him to work towards social justice.
An ex-police officer himself, O’Dell is involved in leadership of community groups such as the Alliance of Guyanese Organisations; the Guyana Ex-police Association of Canada; the Association of Black Law Enforcers; and the Board and choir of the Church of the Nativity.
O’Dell was recognised alongside Marie Clarke Walker, who is the first Black Executive Vice-President of the Canadian Labour Congress. Clark Walker was awarded the Excellence in Business Award for her unending dedication to fight for working people.
“Being the first, it’s your responsibility to make sure you are not the last,” Marie Clark Walker dedicated her award to Black activists who helped her find her way. Both O’Dell and Clark Walker spoke to youth in their remarks, encouraging young people to be involved in community.
To read more about the ACAA, visit Pride News magazine.