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Monday, 24 July 2017
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SIERRA LEONEANS ROCKED THE STAGE AT FOLKLORAMA 2016

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CANADA AT 150 CELEBRATION

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FOR CANADA AT 150 CELEBRATION, SALNAM PRESIDENT, ABU BAKARR KAMARA, IN HIS BRIEF REMARKS, URGES SIERRA LEONEANS IN WINNIPEG TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEIR CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP

FOR CANADA AT 150 CELEBRATION, SALNAM PRESIDENT, ABU BAKARR KAMARA, IN HIS BRIEF REMARKS, URGES SIERRA LEONEANS IN WINNIPEG TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEIR CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP 

 
 
Today, we are celebrating a milestone anniversary marking the 150th year of Confederation of this great country, called Canada. The colorful t-shirts we are wearing, is a symbol of our unity as a community, coming together to display our love for this welcoming country to people of all races. Like any birthday, this is an opportunity for all of us to take a moment, and reflect on the things we have to do to continue making Canada, as a welcoming home for all of us. 

Like many other Canadians, we Sierra Leoneans in Winnipeg, are proud to be hard working citizens of this great nation. Our gathering here this afternoon, underlies our collective demonstration and appreciation of our Canadian citizenship, which gives us the opportunity and the freedom to express our values openly, in ways that affirm the true nature of a multi-cultural society such as Canada.  

We are truly blessed to be a part of this historic moment in time, by taking part in this historic celebration which brings Canadians together, in every part of this great country. We are here today, joining hands with other peace loving Canadians, to continue finding new avenues to make this country an inclusive entity for all of its citizens.  

As we celebrate, it is very important that we remember the hard work and sacrifice made by those pioneers who laid the foundation of this great country, which made it possible for all of us to live here in peace, and to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Remember that our contributions to building a stronger and an inclusive multi-cultural Canada, is going to be measured, not in quantitative terms only, but it should also be evaluated in qualitative terms. Translation: It is our duty and responsibility to be law abiding citizens backed by hard work and strong family relationships. 

This country provides plenty of opportunities in every aspect of socio-economic activities, for those who are ready to take advantage of these opportunities, for the expressed purpose of improving their socio-economic conditions generally. The choice is yours. The policy of Multi-culturalism, which was championed by the late prime minister Pierre Trudeau and others, created favorable conditions, for Canada to open its doors to people of all races and religious beliefs. In a truly multi-cultural community of communities, every citizen is free to share their own cultural space with others in the quest for harmonious interactions in the socio-political and economic environment, with the objective of building a progressive and a united country. 

Are we ready for the challenges? Yes we are. It is instructive to note, that our community is almost fully employed in this Province. This suggests that we are taking advantage of the opportunities available in the market place to all Canadians, and that we are prepared to do what is necessary, to make this country one of the most developed nations in the world.

Sierra Leoneans cannot afford to be an island by themselves in a multi-cultural society like Canada. Our long term goal is to fully integrate with the rest of society, with our neighbors and with our co-workers in the work place. Integration gives us the opportunity to lay a strong foundation for our children in the long run. Failing to do this means that one day, some of our children who might have fallen through the cracks, would ask this question: Dad/mom where were you twenty years ago, when some families were busy laying the ground work for the future prosperity of their children; while you were busy hiding in the background running away from the rest of the community. Definitely, no one, no body, no dad/mom would ever be prepared to handle this question now or in the future, should it arise.  Simply put, integration is the ability of Sierra Leoneans to join hands with like minded Canadians, to make Canada a better place for all of its citizens.

Joe six pack mentality is not the answer and it will never be the answer. Certainly, there is a better way: Arguably, the primary road to Integration with the rest of society in Manitoba, goes through our community organization in Manitoba. SALNAM is that instrument. SALNAM continues to lay the ground work to assist our community become an important player in the quest for integration of our community with other communities. SALNAM has succeeded by doing this through its various community initiative programs. The train left the station over thirty years ago; but fortunately, there is still room for additional fellow travellers who are willing and ready to accept the challenges of nation building. On a day like this, I would like to take the opportunity, to thank SALNAM's founding members, the pioneers of our community, for taking the initiative to form this great organization in the summer of 1980. 

Our presence here this afternoon is a testimony to the successes of their initial effort. SALNAM's community Centre, is a quantum leap in the process of assisting our community becoming a productive member in inter community relationship building in this Province. SALNAM has established a fully functioning Community Resource Centre which represents our physical and collective presence in the province of Manitoba. Please note that all proceeds from the sales of the t-shirts we are wearing today will go towards the operation of the Centre. And on behalf of my Executive, I would like to thank Blackpearl Press, owned by former SALNAM president, Alex Bockarie, for partnering with us on this venture. I also thank and appeal to you all to continue supporting your community centre which has defined successfully, the Sierra Leonean reality in this province.  

In order to avoid that vexing question: Dad/mom where were you twenty years ago.....it is imperative and urgent that we support SALNAM as the collective programming initiative of a community determined to succeed in this land of boundless opportunities. To this end, SALNAM continues to work and collaborate with other community organizations to make Manitoba an inclusive and a welcoming society for all of us.

Thanks to the government of Canada for supporting this celebration, and happy Canada Day to you all.