While Toronto's Jane-Finch neighbourhood is often the focal point of negative attention, in reality it is one of Canada’s most diverse, enriched, and resilient communities. It is not often that the great work done by many Jane-Finch individuals, families and community groups is reported by the media, but that is not an indicator of the community's commitment. Daily, community leaders strive to alter the negative image Jane-Finch has come to have.
One such individual is Andrea Tabner. She embodies the resilience of her community.
Over the past several years, Andrea and a group of colleagues have put their efforts together for what has grown to be known as The Annual Unity Barbeque. Hosted every August, the event aims to bring the community together to celebrate its many talents, hard-work, and triumphs. It also aims to engage youth and combat youth violence.
This year’s event was the largest yet and was attended by over 600 community members. For many, this feat would suffice. However for Andrea Tabner, this was not the case. Instead, after learning from Students Against Migrant Exploitation (SAME) about the hardships faced by migrant agricultural workers that come each season to Canada, Andrea also took it upon herself to bring the Jane-Finch community together with the Jamaican migrant worker community in Virgil, Ontario. In fact, at the Virgil gathering on September 30, one Toronto community member had a surprise reunion with her nephew who comes to Canada each year under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP).
The event was a hit with the Toronto community and migrant workers alike, and has led to a commitment of further visits and events by Andrea and her fellow community members.