History


The African Canadian Achievement Awards (ACAA), which has evolved into one of the most-anticipated and prestigious events in the African-Canadian community, is an idea whose time has come.

It celebrates the achievements, and pays tribute to the exemplary contributions of African Canadians to their community, and the wider Canadian society.

These celebrations have had the cumulative effect, over the 28-year history of the ACAA, of fostering a sense of pride and a spirit of dignity within the African Canadian community. The ACAA has also acted as a catalyst, inspiring many of our youth, and some adults, to pursue and attain success and excellence in their lives.

Founded in 1985 by its current Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson, Michael Van Cooten, who is also the editor and publisher of Pride News Magazine, the African Canadian Achievement Awards (ACAA) is organized and hosted annually by Pride News Magazine, under the esteemed stewardship of Mrs. Joan Pierre, its President and Executive Producer.

The ACAA seeks to address four core objectives:

  • Demonstrates that people of African ancestry can achieve, accomplish and attain excellence in wide and varied fields of endeavor which has the effect – as it is widely publicized in mainstream media – of gradually shattering those negative stereotypes, replacing them with positive ones of African Canadians;
  • Provides shinning examples of accomplishment and excellence in the dedicated lives of its recipients, who highly qualify as role models for us and our children to emulate.
  • Pays tribute to, honors and congratulates our heroes and contributors, now, when they are alive and can appreciate it.
  • Diligently seeks out and exposes the sparkling contributions of African Canadians, thereby providing historians with the “grist” necessary to document, in history books, the invaluable African Canadian involvement and contribution to Canada and the world.

Among the stalwarts and high-achievers, who have been recipients of the ACAA are:

Jazz Great, Oscar Peterson; Rosemary Brown, Canada’s first African Canadian female MPP; Hon. Alvin Curling, former MPP for Scarborough-North and Canadian Ambassador to the Dominican Republic; Lincoln Alexander, Ontario’s former lieutenant-governor; Julius Isaac, former chief justice of the Federal Court of Canada; Hon Louise Bennett-Coverley, storyteller extraordinaire; Austin Clarke, award-winning author; Dr. Rita Cox; Bev Salmon, former Metro Toronto councilor; Salome Bey; The late Wilson Brooks, Canada’s first African Canadian school principal; Donald Moore; Arnold Auguste, publisher of Share Newspaper; Dr. George Bancroft, educator; Harry Gairey; the Jamaican Canadian Association; Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA); The late Al Hamilton, founder of Contrast Newspaper; former Judge Maurice Charles; Human rights Lawyer Charles Roach; Stanley Grizzle, former Citizenship Judge; Jackie Richardson, actress; Dudley Laws, Chair of BAD-C; Herb Carnegie; Jo Jo Chinto, broadcaster; Human Rights activist, Bromley Armstrong; Denham Jolly, President of Milestone Communications Inc., owner of FLOW 93.5FM; Donovan Bailey, former Olympic Sprint Champion; Tropicana Community Services Association and many, many more.