WEEK #20: CAROL LaFAYETTE-BOYD
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born on a farm near McGee, Saskatchewan in 1942. My great grandfather, was a descendent of freed slaves in Virginia. He travelled to Iowa in 1870 and his son, my grandfather, who was born in Iowa left in 1906, arriving in Regina with his wife, son and brother. My father was born in Regina in 1907. My grandfather began homesteading near Fiske, Saskatchewan and moved the family there in 1911. My Mother’s family came to Canada from Oklahoma in 1910.
I was blessed to be raised by a family who had Christian values of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. They taught me that “sticks and stones will break your bones, but NAMES will never hurt you”. I took that very literally and have never let what people say bother me. I do know, however that words matter and we must speak words of life and kindness.
In high school, I participated in basketball and track & field. Until I was 17, my family was the only Black family living in the areas we lived.
I lived and worked in the United States and Canada as a clerk, nurse and social worker. I trained as a psychiatric nurse and was a registered social worker. I retired in 2005 after working in the areas of mental health and social work.
I am a Masters track and field athlete having taken up competition at age 50. I am an inductee in the Regina Sports Hall of Fame (2014) and Canadian Masters Athletics Hall of Fame (2012). I am the family historian and have been working on my genealogy since 1982. I am the grandmother of three and great grandmother of two.
In 2018, I was chosen WMA Overall Female Masters Athlete and Runner-Up to best Female Jumper. I was invited to Tor’un, Poland to receive my trophy in March, 2019. I am the first African Canadian and third Canadian to receive the award.
Please share a story about an internal or external barrier you have faced.
The main barriers I have faced were in my work life when as a nurse or social worker I saw people treated unfairly and I choose to speak out. On the first occasion, I was fired and grateful that I was as I wouldn’t quit. The second occasion was similar however I had learned to respond by surrounding myself with supportive people and the situation was resolved. For me, having integrity is more important than going along with things that are dishonest, hurtful and wrong. I believe in fairness, equality and justice.
How did you overcome that barrier?
I was successful in standing up with integrity and faith that it would work out.
What skills did you develop in sport that helped you overcome your barrier?
As an older athlete, I believe my skills were not developed from sport, but from work and family life. It is important to walk in love, believe in yourself and others; treat people with dignity and respect at all times and keep a positive attitude. The skill I probably learned from sport was in high school and the importance of teamwork.
If you had one word to describe your character, experiences or philosophy what would it be? Why?
I experienced the death of my daughter in 2013. 18 months and 18 days later in 2014 my son passed away and one year and 17 days later in 2015, my husband passed away. In 2015 before the death of my husband my nephew, cousin and sister’s husband passed away also. If it were not for the peace that God gave me through it all, I would not have survived.