Tribute to Dr. Mavis Burke from Dr. Karen Mock
July 22, 2022
The legacy left by Dr. Mavis Burke is huge – to the education community, to Ontario, to Canada and to her beloved Jamaica.
We are ALL diminished by her passing, at the same time as we are immensely grateful for her teachings, her loving kindness, and her amazing contribution to every institution in which she worked and every community in which she lived.
I was privileged to know, to work with and to learn from Mavis since the ‘70s… when she was a trailblazer in the area of multicultural antiracist education. I still have her handout titled “Culture in the Classroom” dated 1977, that I used when I developed the first course in Canada on Multicultural Teacher Education, thanks to Mavis’s encouragement and support…and thanks to her role modeling. I will be forever grateful to her as a most valued mentor during her years with the Ministry of Education and the Women’s Directorate and beyond, and I am profoundly grateful for our 40 year friendship.
Mavis knew of my connection to and love for Jamaica. So I was honoured when she approached me to help her start PACE Canada after DRB Grant’s visit. I remember how delighted she was to learn that I had helped DRB connect with the Early Childhood Education Community here. But he knew whom to approach to get things going…Mavis of course! I was pleased to be a volunteer basic school teacher educator at UWI for PACE, and to partner with Mavis and Fay Corruthers for Canadian and Jamaican conference presentations, to spread the word and to drum up support for PACE.
Mavis always knew how to get the most out of us all, right? And because of her wonderful ideas, and her inimitable administrative AND motivational style, we gladly went above and beyond for her!
Mavis Burke also knew how to pass the torch, and to encourage the next generations to take over leadership, at the same time as staying involved and continuing her quiet mentoring and support. These are lifelong lessons from Mavis for which I will be forever grateful.
Yes, we are all diminished by her loss, but I know we are all grateful for her legacy and her love. Rest in peace and in power, Dear Mavis. And may your memory forever be for a blessing.
Dr. Karen R. Mock, C.M.
Educator, Human Rights Consultant, and a founding member of PACE.