In celebration of Saskatchewan Multicultural Week November 16-24, 2019, a spotlight is shining on multicultural superheroes. These are the people who inspire respect and inclusion, while creating welcoming and inclusive communities.
Superheroes like Carol LaFayette-Boyd, a champion and supporter of the African Canadian community in Saskatchewan. Over 100 years ago, Carol’s grandfather migrated to Regina from the United States. A descendant of James Armistead LaFayette, a French slave famous for infiltrating British intelligence during the American Revolutionary War, Carol has always been passionate about tracing and preserving her family history.
Carol’s drive to maintain her cultural identity led to her involvement with the Saskatchewan African Canadian Heritage Museum. Over the years, she has made positive contributions to the museum and is a champion of the campaign Played and Stayed, a celebration and recognition of Saskatchewan Roughriders of African descent who played with the team and eventually made Saskatchewan home.
A typical day for Carol is not complete without a dose of helping humanity, riding her stationary bike, bouncing on her trampoline and running. She is a tremendous athlete, with a big break in 1992 at the Canadian Masters Games in Regina. For the first time in years, Carol participated in the 100- and 200-metre races at the age of 50. “I imagined the worst that could possibly happen, which I felt was me losing the race. I would not have lost anything beyond my time since participation was free. Moreover, I would never know unless I ventured, so I chose to run,” she says.
In 2018, she was named Female Athlete of the Year by World Masters Athletics at 77 years old. She holds a number of Canadian and world records, showing no signs of slowing down. “Not anytime soon, I guess. Maybe when I get to 100 years old,” she says.
Winnifred Rogers, vice chair, Saskatchewan African Canadian Heritage Museum, and a friend, says, “Carol is a fine blend of a really great athlete and a passionate heart. She is determined to interact, influence and improve everything she does. She is never scared of facing whatever challenges her. I guess those are things you learn being in track and field this long.”
Carol has experienced many hardships and relies on her “spiritual life” as her staying power. “We have no control over what has happened, but we can influence and change the present for a better tomorrow,” she says. Carol’s two guiding principles: never take anything personal and do not show your fear. Both are reflected in her work with the Saskatchewan African Canadian Heritage Museum and track and field.
For more information on Saskatchewan Multicultural Week, visit http://mcos.ca/tag/saskatchewan-multicultural-week/, or Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan's Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
To share your multicultural superheroes on social media, use the hashtag #MulticulturalSuperhero