1. INTERVIEW CHARLES ARTHUR
AN: Seeing the whole event today? What are your thoughts about the monument & the ceremony?
CA: I was quite surprised that the federal government decided to get involved in memorial of Harry Jerome. It was high time that this was done. This man Harry Jerome is the most outstanding Canadian athlete ever & I think that it is most fitting that he be recognized nationally in this ceremony today
AN: What effect do you think this will have on the youth of today
CA: My concern for the youth of today is about the lack of publicity about this event, & the lack of focus of Harry Jerome as a role model for all young people; black white, whatever race you are, because Harry was non-racial. His concept was society consists of all people, all races, all culture & if this was highlighted in the media and made a real national event, it would be great for the young people.
AN: Do you think that black people have a future in this society?
CA: I think that black people have a future the same as any other racial group, but they have to work hard, it’s a constant struggle and they have to keep fighting, fighting to maintain their place.
AN: Thank you
2. INTERVIEW STUART PARKER NEVEU
AN: What is your advice to young people?
SPN: A lot of people say to young people, you need to go out & succeeed & there’s all this advice about success and if you look at Harry’s Career the 2 about the Olympics & the Common wealth Games & he was injured so badly & he wasn’t able to finish, it is those injuries that made his career a great career, so my advice to young people is to not go out & succeed but to go out & fail. Young people need to be unafraid of failure, to understand that failure is when we learn, failure is when our character is built & so rather than worrying about the exactly right path to achieve success on your first try, to succeed as a human being is to go out & fail and to go out and do so unapologetically and courageously.
AN: Could the opportunity to be involved in sports change people’s lives?
SPN: Sport absolutely gives people opportunity. In Harry’s era, it was a little bit easier for people to see sport as an opportunity rather than as a career. I think our challenge is today that people imagine sport as thing they are going to do, not the thing that will open doors for the great things they are going to do. I think that the huge salaries paid to a very small number of athletes, the fact that many of the most famous athletes have 20 year careers now instead of five year careers, a lot of people mistakenly think of sport as a career & when people think of it as a career, they don’t see it as opening a door, they see it as their destination & if they fail to reach that professional level they think that this their project has gone wrong but sport remains a way to achieve community, to build community to reach people without any professional aspirations. I think that in Harry’s age, there was this idea of amateurism, that sports was on the way to the thing you were doing, not the thing you were going to do & I think that if we are able to recapture that spirit then sport can be what it has been, it can be one of the strongest points of community.
AN: Do you think that any Afric youth can take racism as an excuse to not achieve what they want?
SPN: The thing is racism is like the rain, its like the weather, like it or not, we live in a society that took 500 years to build this system of racism & we’ll be lucky if it take 500 years to take it apart. So the question is “how do we live within that” and that’s a combination of both resisting & challenging racism but its also about recognizing that racism is something that people will continue to face and we need to look at the courage of people who face all kinds of environmental barriers; there’s a huge wage gap between men and women, people face disability, people face all kinds of things, there’s no fear in us to the challenges people face but the reason we have community, the reason that we have love, the reason that we have these things is as a way of surviving that unfairness and achieving inspite of it.
AN: If Harry were alive today, what would be your word to him?
SPN: If Harry were alive today, its so hard to know, if he were alive today, he would not be living in the past, he would have been on some totally new trip, working on some totally new project, if Harry were alive today, the last thing he would want to do is talk about who he was in 1982, he would be busy trying to pull us into what ever work he was doing now and so I think all I’d probably be saying to Harry right now is, “I’ll get right to that, I just have to finish this job in Kamloops. I don’t think Harry would give me a chance to tell him what we should be doing, what he should be working on.
AN: Thank you
3. JOHN MORRISON INTERVIEW
AN: How do you see today?
JM: I see today as another stop in a journey for my family & for our families, my journey started at the year of 7, looking at picture of baseball players and they were men in the 1913 & 1914, and they were all similar, except one but they were all the same colour and I remember growing up as I got older it wasn’t maybe until I was 10 or 11, that the one person, who didn’t look the same, was a man named Army Howard who was black & I always wondered why in those series of photographs it appeared to me that Army wasn’t allowed to look black, he had to look white, so all the pictures were the same. And so I realized as I got older that in those days back in the early 1900s in Canada & in our society that black people clearly were not given the same respect and accorded the same privileges as white paper & so a couple months ago, there was an Olympic medal in the family; a participation medal & I’ve always wanted to find the family of Army Howard & so I read a news article in the Vancouver Sun and discovered Valerie Jerome and at the time that Valerie’s brother Harry passed away, I wasn’t in Vancouver and so didn’t realize the connection & so missed all of that & so for the past 2 years, I’ve been trying to find the members of his family. And there it was & I’ve always wanted to return the medal because that’s something that my father wanted to do on behalf of his father; my grandfather, so for me this whole story is a continuation of a family series of events. And I also thought that it was the right thing to do for my children and future generations. Its not so much the medal, its what the medal symbolized and that was a great friendship between 2 men almost 100 years ago, who at that time could have cared less about what the colour of their skin was and how important that is to honour that as well as to teach my children and future generation that their friendship was the way the world should be.
AN: Do you believe all this would be a great example and inspiration to our youth today and help to build Canada?
JM: Yes, absolutely! Its one of the stories that should be shared, and I’m sure its one of a thousand stories those stories, of people in the past who were friends, acquaintances, made connections, the colour of their skins, the food they ate, the sound of their voices, their accents, did not make a difference, so as a Canadian, I’m very proud that its one way that we can help protect the multicultural aspect of our society & also for me it was an act of affirmation. I believe in multiculturalism in Canada & its important for all children to recognize its benefit & the importance in our society & its also a reminder that we are very fortunate to live in Canada & that there are many other place in the world where these events can’t occur.
AN: Thank you
4. INTERVIEW VALERIE JEROME
AN: He believed in the youth, what are your thoughts?
VJ: He really believed in youth, he put a lot of his life’s energy into youth. When he finished running career, he didn’t believe in making a lot of money for himself, he engaged in programmes across Canada & sports demonstration teams, the provincial schools and community centre’s programme. He visited a lot of the first nation’s reserves in this province. He put his energy into the youth. We’re hoping to see a more opportunities for minority kids, for women. The world has changed a lot since Harry died but I think a lot of his programmes that he worked for they are coming to fruition.
AN: Do you believe that we have a lot of work to do?
VJ: Yes, of course we have work to do…Carol may want to add to that but I do believe that we need to take some ownership, take some leadership and engage in what’s out there. I want to introduce you to a wonderful young Ethiopian, who is an artist, who has just come here, and he’s making his way in the art world.
AN: Thank you
TRANSCRIBE BY JOY-WALCOTT-FRANCIS