Country of Origin:
Trinidad and Tobago
Citizenship, Immigration, Black History/African Heritage, Racism/Discrimination, Human Rights & Social Justice, Identity & Heritage, Multiculturalism & Diversity, Adjusting to Life in Canada
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I emigrated from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and arrived in Canada in 1996. I lived first in Toronto and then moved to Sault Ste. Marie. Education: Sault College (graduated from Graphic Design in 2012) and currently at Algoma University taking Sociology. Professional experience: personality dimensions facilitator, motivational speaker. Community involvement: ACCANO (African Caribbean Canadian Association of Northern Ontario), Local Immigration Program - Committee Member, Sault College Communicators (Toast Masters) and public relations with World University Service of Canada. Awards: Community Diversity Award, Toastmaster Competent Communicators.
I was born in Trinidad. My mother died in childbirth and I was told I was the child. My grandmother, Vernie Mornix, came to Trinidad and took my sister Wendy Mornix and I back to St Vincent & the Grenadines. Growing up on a coconut plantation owned by English plantation owners on St Vincent, I experienced all forms of abuse, hunger and, I can now say, slavery. Also, surviving a volcanic explosion in April 1979 was a terrifying experience. When I got older, I found work in the hotel industry as a waiter, bartender, butler and manager. One September, I came to Canada on vacation with the expectation of going back home -- and never did.
Living in Canada has presented me with many new challenges. The first time I experienced racism was like an out-of-body experience. It was at a coffee shop with six friends… it was my turn to buy… two trays were left, the older gentleman in the line in front of me picked up both. I asked if he could leave one for me and that’s when the racial slurs began. It was the first time I realized I was Black -- and what does that mean?
My first son, Dave Anthony Mornix Jr, was born in 1997 and that changed everything. I had to figure out a way of life in Canada. Then, I met my angel and wonderful wife Rhonda in 1999 and we moved to Sault Ste. Marie in 2002. In 2004, the second king was born, Denziel Victor Mornix.
Moving from Toronto, my immigration file was transferred to the Sault Office and that was a big mistake. I was at work when Canada Border Services showed up and arrested me. According to them, I was illegally in Canada. The officer stated that they would have me on a plane heading back home in a couple of days. While in prison I was not allowed to speak to anyone, not even my lawyer or my family. The officers requested my travel documents from my wife. They asked if I had a criminal record, my wife replied no, and the officer replied, “What you mean no, he is Black.”
These experiences have been a pain for a long time, but they have also equipped me with the strength and clarity to be the change I want to see in the world. I am now a Canadian citizen, a proud graduate of Sault College, a student in sociology at Algoma University, a certified Toastmaster, a member of the Local Immigration Partnership, and a founding member of the African Caribbean Canadian Association of Northern Ontario. I have learned that no matter what your life challenges, experiences or circumstances, you never lose the capacity to choose.
Start consciously making choices, which allows you to feel better.