Teacher (Retired) / Author / Community Organizer, Niagara Falls, ON. Born: Trinidad & Tobago.
As a retired teacher, writer, author, publisher, and community organizer, Lennox Farrell was and is among those advocating for positive, needed social change in Toronto in the 1980s, especially, but not exclusively with regards to issues affecting the Black communty and children. He is also a founding member of the Black Action Defence Committee (BADC).
Highlights: Successfully negotiated with former City of North York for the transfer of a building to be used as the Marcus Garvey Centre for Leadership and Enterprise; also negotiated with the City of Toronto for the use of a building for Caribana headquarters; ran for public office, provincially and municipally; was part of the North York Black Education Committee (NYBEC) that for over a 3-year period, met on more than one hundred occasions negotiating with the North York Board of Education on issues in education concerning Black youth (e.g. streaming, low teacher expectations; representation in curricula materials and staff, etc., and which, following the example of others, advocated for an Afric-centred School). Campaigned for greater police accountability, and for fairness in the media coverage concerning the portrayal of Black youth.
Community: Lennox was involved with many community organizations including Chair, Ontario Anti-racism Committee; Caribbean Cultural Committee for Caribana, 2005.
Honours: Inclusion in Who’s Who in Black Canada (1st & 2nd editions, 2000 & 2006), Canada Annual Centennial Medal (1995); Jane-Finch Community Award (1995, ‘89, ‘80); Provincial Award for “Merit in Teaching”, Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (1993).
Works: Including novel, Poetry Not Amnesia; musical dramas, Soul Brother Job (1995) and Warahoun (1992).
Reviewed in: NOW Magazine, Globe & Mail, Toronto Star, Share.
Education: M.Ed., B.Ed., BA (1973-80), University of Toronto.
Favourite book? The Story Of Philosophy by Will Durant. Given to me by my father when I was about 14 years old, it spoiled my life into loving philosophy. I used to blow the minds of my soccer colleagues as a boy when, on the field they were talking about girls and I would be talking about Baruch Spinoza, my favourite philosopher of all time. My wife, Joan, however fell in love with me when there were more acceptable suitors because I could converse about almost everything, especially on philosophy, and because, on the guitar, I could play and sing her favourite songs, “Red Sails in the Sunset” by Nat King Cole, and Brook Benton’s “Higher Than the Highest Mountain”, etc. And I could kiss and not tell!
Favourite quote? Marianne Williamson’s quote cited in the movie, Akeelah and the Bee: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Given the chance, what would you love to do that you haven’t done yet? Complete two screenscripts on which I am working.
Who inspires you? People whom espouse the possibilities inherent in effort seasoned with hope.
Why do you do what you do? For the upliftment of family, self, and community. I am the child of my parents, Medford Farrell, and Philippa (nee Niles) Farrell, and grandchild of my grandmother, Augusta Wilhelmina DeBique. She the granddaughter of slaves, knew her enslaved grandmother, Dear Dear, and lived to tell me as a boy stories like “The Shame of the Congo”, and “Lady Smith Release in Dominica.”