Bursary recipient can't stand injustice
August 23, 2018
Meeting one’s Waterloo is to encounter a challenge far too difficult to overcome.
When Alice Sandiford zeroed in on the University of Waterloo, nothing was going to prevent her from pursuing her undergraduate studies at the public research institution.
“I knew right away that was the school for me,” said Sandiford who was also accepted by Queen’s University, the University of Ottawa and Wilfrid Laurier University.
She’s enrolled in the honours arts & business degree program.
“It’s an amazing co-op program that really caught my attention,” the Bill Crothers Secondary School graduate pointed out. “Nothing was going separate me from that opportunity.”
The recipient of a Trinidad & Tobago Association of Ontario (TTAO) bursary on July 29, Sandiford intends to be a lawyer.
“I have a passion for social justice and human rights issues,” she said. “My blood gets boiling when I see an injustice. Law is one of the professions where you can really impact people’s lives.”
The 2012 York Region Elementary Citizenship Award winner was turned on to law at Bill Crothers named after the former York District School Board chairman and Canadian Sports Hall of Fame inductee who won a silver medal in the 800-metre final at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
“Participating in a mock trial competition provided me with one of the most exhilarating feelings I have ever experienced,” said Sandiford. “I felt like I was applying all of the things I am good at which is critical thinking, deep analysis, heavy reading and being inquisitive.”
Sandiford, whose mother Judy Sandiford migrated from Trinidad & Tobago and is employed by the York Region District School Board, also possesses an enthusiasm for volunteering.
When her aunt succumbed to breast cancer over a decade ago, the then five-year-old girl set up a lemonade stand to raise funds to help find a cure for the disease.
She has cut her hair to benefit the Canadian Cancer Society, donated part of her remuneration from delivering newspapers to charitable causes, provided educational material for students in African schools and requested that donations be made to food banks instead of birthday gifts.
Despite the hectic schedule, Sandiford still found time to referee soccer and coach ringette, badminton and two elementary school basketball sides.
Bursaries were also presented to Mikaelia Miller and Angelo Grant.
Next month, Miller will start her second year of university studies at the University of Guelph where she’s majoring in psychology.
Her career goal is to be a child psychologist.
“I just love working with children,” said the St. Roch Catholic Secondary School graduate who volunteers with the Bramalea Christian Fellowship Church.
Grant, who was a member of his high school soccer team and a food bank volunteer, is enrolled in McMaster University’s health sciences program.
The TTAO also presented community awards to journalist Ron Fanfair and Peel region deputy police chief Ingrid Berkeley-Brown.
She is the first Black to attain the rank in Canada.
Berkeley-Brown was her Service’s only Black female officer after graduating from the provincial police college in 1986. She and Toronto Police inspector Sonia Thomas were the only Black female recruits in a class of about 300.
Promoted to sergeant in 2002 and staff sergeant five years later, Berkeley-Brown joined the senior ranks in 2013 when she was promoted to inspector and superintendent three years later.
One of 11 children, Berkeley-Brown migrated from Guyana in 1974 and completed high school at Sir Sandford Fleming before volunteering as a probation and parole officer. While helping young people find community service placements, she met retired Toronto cop Sid Young who suggested she consider a policing career.
Last month, the senior officer was forced to respond to disparaging remarks made by Mississauga City councillor Carolyn Parrish regarding Berkeley-Brown’s participation in a community meeting last February to discuss the closing of a Malton Community Police station in her ward.
Other councillors voted on a recommendation from the region’s integrity commissioner to dock Parrish five days’ pay and send her to sensitivity training after she sent a series of text messages to fellow councillor Sue McFadden suggested that Berkeley-Brown wasn’t qualified or knowledgeable enough to answer questions from residents and that her promotion was based on her race and gender.
“The comments not only attacked my performance at the meeting, but were discriminatory, bringing into question my character and Peel Regional Police promotional practices,” said Berkeley-Brown in her response.
“They were offensive to me and many of my colleagues at the Peel Regional Police. For the past 32 years, I have worked diligently alongside my fellow officers and with members of our community to ensure Peel Region remains a safe and inclusive community. Peel Region is one of the most diverse communities in Canada and I am proud of that. The suggestion that my promotion to Deputy Chief or Superintendent was based on my race or gender is an affront to the values of the Peel Regional Police and something I take very seriously.”