Gone but certainly not forgotten was the theme on Sunday as members of the Black Action Defense Committee (BADC) gathered on the first anniversary of the passing of its president, Dudley Laws.
The memorial started with a pilgrimage to the graveside of the late civil rights activist. This was followed by a reception at Faith Open Door Ministries in Toronto where members and friends of BADC spoke of his contribution to the black community and his relentless fight against discrimination, racism and injustice.
Among those paying tributes to Laws were: Seth George Ramocan, Jamaica’s consul general to Toronto; his wife, Dr. Lola Ramocan, drummer Kwabena Yafeu, Nzinga Walker, interim chair of BADC; Hewitt Loague, president of BADC; Valarie Steele, Thando Hyman, principal of the Africentric Alternative School, Paulette Senior, CEO of YWCA Canada; young Azana Aman who performed a song, and storyteller Phyllis Walker who acted as emcee for the event.
Laws passed away in 2011 after a long struggle with kidney disease and cancer. He was involved in organizations such as: the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), the Lester Donaldson and Albert Johnson Committee, the Black Youth Community Action Project and the Jamaican Canadian Association, among others.
The consul general urged members of the community to become actively involved in the organization so that it may continue to be vibrant and strong. “The foundation that Laws has laid in this community and the legacy he has left behind is too important not to continue.
And, we must keep his name alive and continue the work he has started so that others can benefit from it,” said Ramocan. Steele and Walker reminisced on the good times and close relationship they both shared with Laws. James Robertson, senior pastor of Faith Open Door Ministries where the reception was held, also had words of encouragement for members of the organization.
He told Hewitt Loague to continue the task he has now faced with as president of BADC and publicly pledged his support for the continuation of the organization.