North York Post : 2018-12-01

Inspired : 20 : 20

Inspired

Inspired A look at 12 incredible Torontonians who conquered 2018 by making a difference through their work and inspiring people all across our city and country. AMANDA PARRIS JESSICA MULRONEY Bringing Canadian fashion to Good Morning America I am inspired by Jessica because there is only one her. The person I met when I was 16, the woman I married 10 years ago, the mother of my children, the philanthropist, the stylist, the friend, the entrepreneur, the daughter and the businesswoman: they are all the same person. From the moment I laid eyes on her, right up until today, Jessica has remained true to herself. She has not closed off her generous spirit or her forgiving nature. She does not offer a hand in friendship unless she wants to be your friend and she does not say one thing in public and another in private. The person Jessica is around a boardroom table is the exact same person who makes me laugh from across our dining room table. There is only one Jessica. She trusts herself and is willing to bet that she and she alone is enough. I am inspired by her courage of spirit and her dogged determination to build everything in her life on the same authentic foundations. I am inspired by the fact that so many people — from so many walks of life — have been drawn in by who she is and what she projects. And I am inspired by her courage to resolutely and uncompromisingly be judged by the work she puts in and the results she delivers. There is only one Jessica. One wonderful, beautiful, amazing, funny, loving, witty, courageous, singular Jessica. And that is a good thing, because if I found out there was more of her walking around, I don’t think my heart could handle it. An artist who is bringing a fresh perspective to arts coverage Amanda has always been the kind of person who was bound for success. It was just a matter of all of the puzzle pieces falling into place. I still remember her being cast in the workshopping of my play. She was in the midst of a major transition in her life career-wise, and with some major decisions about what to pursue and what to let go of, she was understandably worried for the future. It was clear to me, even in that state of uncertainty, that Amanda’s universe was going to change and change drastically. It was clear to me that she was destined for greatness. Suddenly it happened: A media community starved for a fresh perspective? A television arts review show that needed someone with both an understanding of all mediums of expression and star quality? A radio show that required expert knowledge of the under-told stories of the R & B/hip hop industries? She fulfilled all of these needs and more. One by one the pieces not only fell into place — they were laid at her feet. And she deserves it all. There is a grace with which she holds knowledge, a respect with which she amplifies the voices of the underrepresented and a sacredness with which she writes that inspires me every day. BY BEN MULRONEY ETALK ANCHOR The Musician JULLY BLACK Inspiring performances from concert stages to Canada Reads I’d heard rumours, stories really, about magical women who rode into battle with full conviction, chests bursting with altruism and confidence — a powerful combination if ever there was one. Women who worked hard for other women. Women who didn’t need anyone’s “Atta girl.” But I thought that’s all they were — stories. And then I met Jully Black. Jully was my defender on the 2018 edition of CBC’s Canada Reads, an annual battle of the books. My book was chosen for the competition. It was a long shot — a book with a storyline that forced Canadians to look at their own genocidal history where Indigenous people are concerned. But there was Jully, on day one, singing her way into the studio, challenging anyone to try to take her marrow. Jully was in contact daily, making sure she understood the issues, building her case supported by her genuine passion. The day after she learned the Pope refused to apologize for the church’s role in Canadian residential schools, she questioned him and all of us on national TV as a woman of faith. Her performance during the show sparked a movement (and a T-shirt) to “Take it to the altar,” and my book sits on the national bestseller list to this day. This is because Jully rode into battle with it tucked under her admirably toned arm, bringing racism, classism, colonization and Indigenous rights to a huge platform. Jully is inspiration incarnate. We are so lucky to have her on every stage she has been invited to. She is more than an ally, more than my sister. She is my absolute hero. The Marrow Thieves BY CATHERINE HERNANDEZ BY CHERIE DIMALINE AUTHOR AUTHOR 20

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