Dr. Thomas Turay was a beautiful man who New Leaf had the honour of meeting several times over the past few years through the Coady International Institute. New Leaf was invited to do an annual presentation to his peace-building course that he offered with co-facilitator Maureen St. Clair.
As stated at his memorial service on October 3, 2015 in Antigonish, “The primary focus of his work was in the areas of peace-building, human rights, advocacy, development education and indigenous African knowledge systems. He worked closely with the Institute’s overseas partners in Egypt, Guyana, Jamaica and Sierra Leone, and with Canadian NGOs including Canadian Friends of Sierra Leone, Partnership Africa Canada, Peace-fund Canada, Peaceful Schools International, the International Centre for Conflict Resolution and Mediation, and the Tatamagouche Training Centre.”
Thomas was so grateful to learn about the New Leaf Program and our work with men who have abusive behaviours. He stated that in Sierra Leone, which was his motherland, they have provided shelters for abused women but that he hadn't thought it possible to work with the men. He was so moved by that concept that he attended and participated in one of our group sessions shortly after our presentation.
He expressed both to the group of men attending New Leaf and to us afterwards how deeply moved he was by the men that he saw as leaders, coming together and talking to other men about relationships in a healthy way. He took back to Sierra Leone information about New Leaf and some of the services we provide.
Thomas Mark Turay was a beautiful man who not only cared deeply about people, he cared enough to make it his life’s work to create more tolerance, kindness, fairness and equality in this world for men, women, and children. He has been an inspiration for many.
- New Leaf Staff
Why is she an amazing and worthy Social Justice All-Star? Because sometimes the quiet work is the best work. Cathy is the only female counsellor at New Leaf, a men's program based out of New Glasgow, N.S. She working with men who have been violent, supporting them to accept their responsibilities and just as importantly, assisting them in finding their humanity. Cathy is a mother and a provider for her extended family. She is also the daughter of a residential school survivor and she describe herself as 'a Native women living and working in the dominant society that doesn't always value my Nativeness.' Her approach to address the genocide perpetrated against her family and her community is to bring aboriginal peoples and non-Natives together, to educated, share and honour First Nation's cultural practises, and restore right relationships. Cathy builds peace and social justice through accountability and understanding, and she uses her presence and her words to bring reconciliation and justice to the world. Cathy would see herself as someone who doesn't like pomp or fuss and goes quietly about her life doing this work because that's just what you do.
Steve Law is a contributor to the New Leaf blog. He is a father, partner, Mediator with Emerge International, Novelist of Tailings of Warren Peace, Farmer at SunRoot Farm and Social Transformation Program Coordinator - Tatamagouche Centre. - This particular piece written by Steve Law was published in 'This' magazine in their January 2015 edition.
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