I feel so fortunate to accept this award tonight because it represents the strength of a passionate journey. A journey that reinforces the motto, Dare to Dream. As a black immigrant in the fashion industry, I quickly learned the importance of keeping your eye on the prize. The rejection, the criticism, the self-doubt are all part of the journey. Despite these challenges, I continue to push on as I recognize how many people have inspired me and depend on me in their own lives.
|Ralph Leroy and Ms. Tré Armstrong|
To my fellow award recipients, we have a mission. A mission to inspire, create, and empower others to reach their dreams. We are all recipients of past support from our role models, we need to pay it forward and continue to do the same for others. We know that we can achieve whatever we set our mind to do, we have a black president in the United States, which we never thought would be possible, we had a black governor general in Canada, which we thought equally impossible. We are all equals in this society, I am doing my part to impact our society and I want you to believe that you can do the same and act on this belief.
|Her Excellency the Right Honorable Michaëlle Jean and RL|
This award is bittersweet, I wish my mother were here to see me receive this honor but unfortunately, she passed away two months ago. I dedicate this to her, to my father, to my brothers and someone special in my life who’ve never given up on me, to my aunt for traveling from the states just to show me that she supports me in whatever I do.
I dedicate this award to you as well, for believing in me and acknowledging my efforts. I am blessed to have such great people in my life and thankful to be able to share my life with all of you here as well. Thank you to the committee at the University of Ottawa and to all of you.
Remember: keep your dreams high.
Ottawa, February 4th, 2012
|Ralph Leroy and his aunt|
|Ralph Leroy and Natalie Théodore|
|Her Excellency the Right Honorable Michaëlle Jean, Mr. Jean Daniel Lafond and Ralph Leroy|
|Ms. Jessica Bowden and Ralph Leroy|
|Ralph Leroy and Actress/choreographer Ms. Tré Armstrong|