City of Toronto honours Sociology grad with first ever Pam McConnell award

Talisha Ramsaroop is one of two people to win the first Pam McConnell Award for Young Women in Leadership. 

She graduated with a master’s degree (2017) and a bachelor’s degree (2014), both in Sociology, from York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. Ramsaroop also holds a certificate from York in Anti-Racist Research & Practice, and now serves as the Community Projects Coordinator at the York U – TD Engagement Centre located in the Jane-Finch community where she grew up.

Talisha RamsaroopThe City of Toronto presented her with the Pam McConnell Award on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2018.

"It is truly an honour to receive an award in the name of the late Pam McConnell. Pam was a tireless advocate at city hall, and was always passionate about creating space for other women, including her involvement with the Toronto Regional Protegee Project which I took part in in 2013," says Ramsaroop. "Pam was a role model to many women and truly fought to push policies for the betterment of the City of Toronto. There is definitely a big gap to fill with her passing and it really does demonstrate that now is the time more then ever to see a council that is more reflective of the City of Toronto."

As reported in the Toronto Star, the late city councillor Pam McConnell is remembered for fighting poverty, being an advocate for social justice, and highlighting issues that affect women and children. Ramsaroop was chosen for her commitment to similar causes.

“I am dedicated to working with racialized women and youth particularly in the Jane-Finch Community. I aim to create more spaces where women of colour can take on leadership positions and have a say in what happens in their community,” says Ramsaroop. “One of my huge passions has always been to reframe the way our community is seen because it truly is an amazingly powerful community.” In 2014, she spoke at a TEDx talk at York U aimed at changing the perception of Jane-Finch and highlighting the community’s assets.

“Finally, I am really passionate about increasing post-secondary access for youth in the community,” she says. “I really valued my education and the doors it opened, and I want to ensure other youth from the community have the same access. My current position at the York University - TD Community Engagement Centre really helps me do that.”

Read more about Ramsaroop’s dedication to uplifting youth and Indo-Caribbean women in the Star.