The Toronto Argonauts and & the Pinball Clemons foundation gave a student, who was the target of racist behaviour, a 4-year scholarship to any university of his choice.
In honour of his 18th birthday, Joshua Telemaque was gifted the scholarship by the Argo’s communications manager, Mike Hogan.
“I’m so appreciative and I’m so grateful for this. It touched my heart and it means the world to me right now,” said Telemaque upon receiving the gift.
— Miranda Anthistle (@Mirandanthistle) October 14, 2020
Friends and fans came around his house to celebrate his birthday through a car drive through, and Toronto Raptors player, Malcolm Miller, also sent him a birthday message.
The Mayor of Ajax awarded Telemaque a certificate from the town’s council as well.
Today, I had the privilege of meeting Joshua Telemaque, and presenting him with a 18th Birthday certificate from Ajax Council.
Our community stands with him, and we condemn the racist act that occurred.
Systemic racism is unacceptable and we must work together to combat. pic.twitter.com/E4BSTKkOf4
— Shaun Collier #StrongerTogether (@mayor_collier) October 14, 2020
Telemaque, a student at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School in Pickering, intended to honour his late grandmother in his yearbook message by writing “RIP Grandma. Thank you for guiding me through my four years of high school.”
But instead of this heartfelt message being printed next to his name and photo, a racist message about Harambe, the gorilla that was shot and killed at the Cincinnati Zoo, was written in its place
The story quickly went viral and was immediately met with widespread outrage and disgust, and the high school’s principal, Susan Duane, issued a letter in response soon after.
“It’s an awful story and to make something good come out of it, that’s what we wanted to do,” said Hogan.
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