Magdalena Manea (Ionescu) is a Romanian journalist and writer who immigrated to Canada in 1998. Under her record of achievement, she has multiple books that I hope will be translated into English one day, and a long history of journalism transmissions, ranging from correspondences from Sarajevo/Yugoslavia during the war, to Romanian breaking news. Magdalena, in an effort to help me win the “ Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award” http://rbctop25.com/ wrote on her blog “Foaie de drum lung” (which translates roughly to: “A testament for the long run”). This is a short story about my experience helping advance Canadian multiculturalism. It’s a big honour to have this opportunity so I felt I should have it translated and shared. Thank you so much, Magdalena!
Canadian multiculturalism is the result of one of the most advanced social projects of modern times. In Ontario, the project was first started almost 70 years ago by Johnny Lombardo, an Italian-Canadian born on December 4th, 1915 in Little Italy (South of Toronto). Lombardi, as the son of immigrant parents without much education, understood the set of complex factors his family went through in order to adapt, to make Canada feel like home, and to embrace a new lifestyle. Leading with a great vision and equipped with charisma and intelligence, Lombardi developed and painted the initial contours for a diversity concept in Canada. He first materialized this by initiating a radio station that was completely multicultural (CHUM FM), based in Toronto.
Later, about 30 ethnic groups joined forces, and today, many diversity and multiculturalism concepts are closely associated with Lombardi’s vision. Through much hardship, under reluctance and fear, navigating the discomfort and often mistrust of locals in the newcomers at the time, Lombardi stuck to his vision. You can find out more about the birth of multiculturalism in Ontario on Wikipedia. Diversity, much like democracy, are responses to our evolution and consequently, our desire for modernity. They do not always come as natural responses, but often, are imposed as a society progresses. As a result, more often than not, they remain fragile concepts. I started this story sharing Lombardi’s tale because of today, at almost over twenty years of Romanian immigration after the fall of communism in 1989, we find ourselves in a community built by passionate individuals who are always striving to advance multiculturalism efforts throughout the country.
I am talking about Gabriela Covaci, a proud Canadian of Romanian background, who immigrated to Canada in 2003 together with her family. I always say: Gabriela is one of those people blessed with having over 40 hours in a day! I don’t understand, how else, she manages to be a mother, wife, full-time employee with a packed agenda, and get involved in a myriad of social activities. Gabi works together with children part of the Romanian school; she dances and paints with them and engages them in all kinds of activities and lessons; she works tirelessly with community partners to enhance the wellbeing and integration of newcomers; she plans, leads and implements an impressive list of community events; she was named Romanian Community Ambassador; and most recently, due to her tireless and humble involvement, she was nominated as one of RBC’s Top 25 Immigrants, an impressive award celebrating the achievements of Canadian newcomers. I’m asking you today to continue celebrating the good work Canadian immigrants are doing in this country by voting for Gabriela.
Vote here: http://rbctop25.com/
Leading with much integrity, Gabriela is someone ready to engage and represent. She might not know all of you; you can get to know her by clicking on her Facebook profile or visiting the contest page. However, she is always present, committed not only to better her own community, but that of others. She is always there for anyone who needs assistance, both in her professional and personal life, striving to make newcomers’ voices heard, offering help when needed. Away from the negativity of our currently world, away from webs of pride and vanity, Gabriela Covaci, with tenacity and a zeal for life, strives to place Romanians on the ethnic map of Canada, strives to show the world, Romanians are there not only for each other, but ready to help anyone else. I ask you to join me in supporting Gabriela Covaci. I thank you all. Much success Gabriela, I’m rooting for you!
And the original BLOG POSTING: