Topics about Toronto have been on my mind for the last little while, and no - a certain alleged crack-smoking mayor and the media maelstrom surrounding him have little to do with it.
Toronto is a small town in a big city, if that makes any sense. Everybody seems to know everybody, or know of everybody - and social media has just made the circles even smaller. I've been feeling a bit disillusioned with Toronto as of late, and almost felt that I had out-grown it altogether. Was it time to peel off this too-tight sweater of a city and look for a roomier fit somewhere else? HomieLoverFriend and I spent an afternoon playing "Where In The World Should We Go?" before sighing and resigning ourselves to the fact that we probably wouldn't be leaving any time soon.
Within the multifarious Black community in Toronto, it often felt that I was seeing the same faces at events. The same voices behind podiums. The same names listed alongside the titles that have become known to hold weight in our city. Strong and consistent leadership and inspiration is necessary, but stagnation has to be avoided at all costs. If you're a "leader" who would rather stall progress in order to keep your grip on perceived power, how effective are you? If you're a "leader" who functions from an egocentric paradigm, how can you help anyone except yourself? Do you know when it's time to trust someone to inject fresh energy into your movement?
It seems that a collective disenchantment has given way to fresh, new perspectives. Perhaps my internal yearning for something new led to an external display of all those people who are doing something new. I'm finding a new offering of intelligent and entertaining events. I'm finding a new offering of grassroots organizations that are actively doing crucial work. I'm finding a new definition of what it means to be a "young Black professional" in Toronto, and I'm finding a new demographic of innovative, thought-provoking, passionate people who fit the bill in so many different ways. Call me naive, but it feels that some of the dust has been cleared. The city feels newer to me, filled with more opportunities - and I'm again tasting that delicious anticipation that I haven't tasted since I first moved here.
Photo source: LIWI68
Tonight, I'll be attending the Herbert Carnegie Future Aces Foundation Gala. The Future Aces Creed or Philosophy was created by Herbert Carnegie (one of Canada's first Black professional hockey players and an accomplished businessman) in 1956 as a way to help youth develop self-knowledge and self-confidence, take control over their lives, and use their abilities in a positive way. Since its establishment in 1987, the Foundation has offered scholarships, community projects, and educational programs to assist youth and fulfil Carnegie's Philosophy. Tonight's gala will be honouring the work of Bernice Carnegie, daughter of Herbert and Executive Director of the Foundation for the last 17 years. A new Executive Director will continue where Ms. Carnegie has left off, building upon Herbert Carnegie's legacy and mission.
If I believed in coincidences, I'd call this exactly that - for two reasons. One, being that attending this gala is another new and exciting opportunity for me, continuing my trend of meeting new and exciting people. Two, being that the Future Aces Foundation is a microcosm of the positives I've been seeing in Toronto - leadership that trusts the process and creates opportunities for new blood to course through its veins.
Tonight, I'll be live-tweeting and sharing the Gala via various social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram), so make sure you tune in! Next week, I'll also be posting a recap post about the event, so if you're not there, you'll be able to feel what the experience was like. Hopefully this is a sign of good things to come for the city and its inhabitants that are craving something more. Keep showing me newness and progression, Toronto. I might just stick around.
Have you ever felt like you've outgrown your hometown? If you're in Toronto, have you felt stagnant or cramped in the city? Are you sensing anything new in the city that is changing your perspective? Lastly, if you're going to be at the Herbert Carnegie Future Aces Foundation Gala tonight, let a sista know!