TASH JEFFERIES - ROLE MODEL & AMBASSADOR
Officially Inducted into the “National Wall of Role Models” on June 7, 2014 ( See full list www.BlackCanadianAwards.com )
Brief Bio: - Lifestyle Cheerleader / Health and Wellness Speaker at TEDx Richmond Hill
Named by Huffington Post as one of Canada's Top 50 Health Tweeters
Host of Rogers Channel 10's & RPTV's TV Healthy Author.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I'm originally from Halifax NS, and moved to Toronto to pursue my educational and professional dreams. After that bubble bursted and realized that there was something more to life for me, I started to question what I was put on this earth for... I ignored my true calling for a few more years, then I was hit with the loss of my brother Tony to cancer, the near-loss of my brother Brian, and then had my own bout with viral meningitis.
When I got sick in December of 2012 I made a point to stop ignoring my life's gift, and started to pursue it full-time. I left the corporate world as an employee and started to create and deliver wellness programs to organizations, businesses and community groups. I had the struggles of an entrepreneur with the ups and downs, but in February 2013 I started to receive attention and opportunities that helped grow my business and profile.
I was named by Huffington Post as one of Canada's Top 50 Health Tweeters, became a TEDx speaker, and was asked to emcee one of the biggest Labour Day celebrations in Toronto hosted by Unifor in Nathan Phillip's Square.
My ultimate purpose in life is to bring love and joy to the planet in abundance. My plan is to do that through the delivery of educational programs to teens, and also to create syndicated TV programming that brings values back to our screens again.
Tell us what many people may not know about you?
I am an intuitive healer. I knew I was since I was five years old, but ran from it all of my life, until about a year and a half ago. I was always told by my Mom that I was "gifted" and I knew what that meant but didn't learn how to articulate it until recently.
What's your inspiration and how do you get motivated?
I get my inspiration from my clients, interns and fellow healers and leaders. Seeing people having the courage to make big changes in their lives, and go through the hard work, and then reap the benefits of that work is so inspiring to me. There is nothing more inspirational than seeing people transform from having no sense of self-worth to becoming the most positive, inspiring person they can be.
How did you get to where you are now and what more should we expect?
By following my intuition... Sometimes that inner guidance doesn't make "logical" sense, but its strong. I've found that by listening to my voice, I've done things that might seem irrational to most, but it has allowed me to experience the most profound, amazing moments of my life.
Expect to see more of me doing things and going after things that seem "out of my reach", but I'll actually achieve them.
What would you like to be remembered for?
Bringing a message to the world that is purely based on love. I truly believe that when we all love and respect ourselves, we're able to see everyone as parts of us, so we treat all of those around us with love and respect as well. My goal is to leave a legacy that helps transform this planet so that we do rebuild our communities, globally, and they become centred around health and holistic wellness.
How do you balance work, family, friends and leisure?
I listen to my body first and foremost. My body will tell me when my mental, emotional and spiritual self is out of whack. My body is pain-free, but when I haven't been treating others well, or treating myself well, or sticking to my purpose, I get pains (my neck, my stomach, my throat). When that happens, I know I have to detox my mind, body and spirit to get back to a state of wellness.
Oh, and I've stopped putting myself last on my priority list. I make sure that each week, I have time for me, so that I can have time to do nothing. It's a non-negotiable now. :)
What's your favorite food, book, music and movie?
Food - Sashimi and a good miso soup.
Book - Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
Movie - Anything by Quentin Tarantino
What's your experience as a Black person in Canada?
Being of Indigenous Black and Aboriginal heritage, when I moved to Toronto I found it quite disheartening to see that New Canadians didn't know anything about our history in Canada. I would often get asked the question by New Canadians "... No, I mean, where are your people originally from?". I would often stop that question from being asked multiple times by replying "My people have been here before there was a country called Canada". Then they seemed to get it.
Other than that, I am proud to be an Indigenous Black Canadian. We have a history that is similar to Caribbean Canadians, but is also quite distinct because we have such a long history of struggle both here and from the United States before/during/after abolition.
I am Human first. I personally do not feel the "limitations" of race, as I was raised to be proud of my ethnicity and my own personal power. This makes me powerful in my own mind beyond belief, and I will continue to spread the message of empowerment across the globe, until ALL marginalized people hear it.
Are there as many opportunities for Blacks in Canada that can produce role models and institutions like TD Jakes, Beyonce, Tyler Perry, Obama, BET, etc:-
Yes we do. My generation, I truly believe, is producing forces of role models that will take us even beyond many of our American counterparts because we strive for Collaboration, not Competition. Some up-and-comers in my cohort are Karlyn Percil, Bee Quammie Chivon John, Trey Anthony, T'ameaux Brown, Kunle Bristow, and Garth Sam. We are a growing community of those bringing positive messages to our community and soon TV screens - together.
Mention a few of your favorite Black Canadian Leaders, Artists and Role Models?
Anne Marie Woods, Pauline Christian
Should and do Blacks support / patronize black music, events and businesses?
I think that "Blacks supporting Blacks" is 20th century.EVERYONE should be supporting Black music /events /business IF it truly is great.
I think that as Black people, we need to strive for excellence, and let our value and professionalism stand for our work... Also, we still are not at a place where our communities have accrued wealth; The only way to advance our status is to draw in wealth from ALL communities.
When Black people begin to let go of "us vs them" I believe that our status within the greater community will grow and thrive.
What’s your understanding of Black History in Canada?
As a person of mixed-background, I understand that Black History isn't as simple as Black History - our history is so diverse, and includes so many other cultures as well, that if we do not start to honour all parts of ourselves, we will miss out. We do also have histories like Africville (which I am also a descendant of) that's legacy has been filled with pain, negativity and conflict. I think we're in a new time where we start reclaiming the good in our legacy and finally put the conflicts to rest.
As I talk to people about my own history and family timeline, I make sure that people understand that, especially for Black Nova Scotians, our histories also include Aboriginal, French, Scottish, Irish and other ethnicities as well... Besides, for many of us, those other bloodlines run clear in our complexions, hair, and other features, that it would be a shame to ignore them.
I am a proud Canadian of mixed heritage - I associate with Black as do I with Aboriginal and Metis and French histories. My goals is to make sure that no matter where I travel for work and play across this planet that people know about the mixed history of our ethnic people here.
My few words to an uninspired person:-
As a Canadian, we have access to such a vast amount of resources to truly be self-expressed and successful. However, until we unleash our mental chains and limitations, we will continue to fight the same tired fight that has been fought for generations.
There is a new awakening in our communities happening. We are rising above any "box" that others might want to put us in. We are creating a new future, a new reality, and the strength of our voice and personal power will allow us to make change - fast and sustainably.
Change is coming. I am a part of a group of change makers. We do this by leaving the negative stereotypes and paradigms behind, and live in a new way - a way that brings hope, love and light to all who see us. Stay tuned! :)
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