For Molly Alexander-Young, the halls at the Jamaica Association of Montreal won’t be the same.
Her husband and former association president Noel Alexander, has died at age 87.
“In my eyes he’s a remarkable human being,” said Alexander-Young at the association.
Alexander, nicknamed Prezie, ran the organization for several years until 2016, but his widow noted that his reach went far beyond advocating for the Jamaican diaspora in the city.
She pointed out that he fought on behalf of Montreal Black communities to ensure their voice was heard and respected, and he had one message.
“We are here, and we’re not going anywhere and so justice in any way shape or form needs to be done,” she said.
Alexander-Young said the long-time president, who is from Siloah in the parish of St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, was proud of his Jamaican heritage. He launched Jamaica Day, an annual summer celebration of Jamaican culture in the city.
“Having a Jamaica Day would highlight Jamaica in a positive light and its people in a positive light,” said Alexander-Young.
Montreal city councillor Marvin Rotrand said he worked on various projects with Alexander, and pointed out that the long-standing president had one main motivation.
“He told me he’d faced discrimination himself,” said Rotrand, “and instead of folding, he became more determined.”
Rotrand pointed out that Alexander fought systemic discrimination by joining organizations and creating allies where he could find them. He added that Alexander who spent years speaking out against police violence, helped push one notable initiative.
“Get civilian oversight of law enforcement at a time when the police policed themselves,” he said.
Alexander even ran for federal politics in 1999 in Montreal. He didn’t win, but that didn’t stop his community activism for which he was widely recognized.
One award was a medal from Quebec’s National Assembly for his contribution to Quebec society.
Activist and educator Brenda Paris remembers Alexander as a unifier.
“What he did was, he lived what he stood by,” she insisted.
She believes that for many, that will be his legacy.