Sultan Jessa is an award-winning journalist and an active volunteer. He’s been named to the Order of Canada, won the Queen’s Silver and Golden Jubilee Medals and, in 2010, was dubbed one of the country’s Top 25 Canadian Immigrants. Yet, when he first came to Canada from Tanzania in the early 1970s, he was asked if people from Africa lived in trees and if the streets were infested with lions.  

Jessa’s is the latest in a series of stories compiled by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation to shine a light on race and multiculturalism in Canada. The 150 Stories project, which began back in 2015, is publishing one story each week for 150 weeks to celebrate Canada’s diversity and build on the findings of the Report on Canadian Values.

“Our ultimate goal is to pass on these stories from generation to generation and from community to community,” Anita Bromberg, executive director of CRRF, told the Toronto Star. “Celebrating diversity is more than coming together, watching each other doing dances and eating (ethnic) food. We need to build deeper conversations that lead to deeper understanding of one another. What we have in common is what binds us together.”

While open submissions for the 150 Stories project is now closed, stayed tuned to the CRRF website for a new story like Jessa’s each week and be sure to check out their upcoming events to join in on the conversation.