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Kamala-Jean Gopie: Equity advocate leads by example

Member of the Federal immigration and Refugee Board, the Ontario Advisory Council on Multiculturalism and Citizenship, and on the City of Toronto’s Committee on Race and Ethnic Relations, Kamala-Jean Gopie is a passionate advocate of ethno-cultural equity. She campaigned to make the House of Commons more representative of women, minorities and immigrants.

Her paternal grandparents went to Jamaica as indentured labourers from Bihar in colonial India. Her father and uncles worked on sugar estates and Gopie recalls being teased as “coolie gal”.

She didn’t let that stop her. She moved to Canada in 1963 and in 1989, helped organize the 150th anniversary of Indian Arrival Day.

Gopie received the Order of Ontario for her community activism.

“My grandchildren are enriched by growing up in a multi-ethnic society,” she says.

“If I say so myself, I was a pioneer. But I look forward to a time when we are not saying first this or first that. These should be the norm.”

Posted: Mar 3, 2013

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