In a significant if not historic event, on 4 June 2016, the Ambedkarite and other Bahujan organizations of Greater Toronto Area joined hands to have a grand celebration of the 125th birth anniversary of Dr B. R. Ambedkar. The event was supported by York University, Toronto, and the Consulate General of India, Toronto.
Dr Ananya Mukherjee-Reed, Dean, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, York University, delivered the keynote speech. She highlighted the relevance of Dr Ambedkar to this very day, not only in India but even in Canada, where the injustices to the aboriginal First Nations peoples are now beginning to be addressed. She announced that she is personally working towards establishing an Ambedkar scholarship at York University to assist needy students pursue research in social-justice issues.
Many of the Dalitbahujans leaders challenged their people in Canada not to forget those “left behind” in India. Some of them openly encouraged diaspora Dalitbahujans to influence the 2017 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, a few openly campaigning for the BSP.
Dr David Lundy of Dalit Freedom Network (DFN) Canada presented the case for helping Dalitbahujan children get a quality English-medium education in India.
Ivan Kostka of FORWARD Press presented Ambedkar’s hero, Moses to the gathering. He challenged them to use the compass provided by Phule and the map by Ambedkar to chart their way to the “promised land” of liberty, equality and fraternity for all. He challenged them to think whether just living in Canada meant they have arrived in the Promised Land.
The vote of thanks and concluding remarks were given by Prof. Arun Gautam, President of Ambedkar International Mission (AIM) Canada and Convenor, Confederation of Bahujan (Ambedkarite, Buddhist, Ravidassi, Valmiki, Backward & Minorities) Organizations (CBO) of Greater Toronto Area. AIM Canada donated and installed the bust of Dr B. R. Ambedkar at York University on 2 December 2015.