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The “social justice journey” of Dr Yolande Cadore

Growing up in Mt Plaisir/Grand Roy in Saint John, Yolande Cadore was taught from an early age to “always leave the door wide open for the person coming in after me.”
That lesson has guided this Grenadian through a career of community service; her most recent achievement is her leadership role at Tenants and Neighbors, which is recognised as the centre of power for tenant advocacy in New York State.
Her appointment as Acting Executive Director prompted an outpouring of congratulatory messages on social media from Grenadians at home and in the diaspora. When contacted by The Grenadian Voice she said this was a “pleasant and humbling surprise” and shared some thoughts on her “social justice journey.”
This proud past student of the St George’s Anglican Junior and Senior Schools and graduate of Anglican High School has earned an undergraduate degree in Urban Policy and Advocacy from the State University of New York, a Master of Public Administration from the School for International Affairs at Columbia University and a Doctorate from St John Fisher College in Rochester, New York. Her educational accomplishments and her advocacy work are rooted in her early childhood.
“Growing up, my family was not materially rich but they deposited in me precious life treasures, such as the importance of prioritising and valuing education, working hard, humility and kindness,” she said. When asked to share some insight into how her childhood and education in Grenada served to shape her and all the progressive actions she has undertaken in New York and elsewhere, she credited the women of her village.
“I have made it this far on my social justice journey because I am standing on the shoulders of incredibly powerful and socially engaged Grand Roy women such as Judy Williams, Jeannette DuBois, Ann-Marie Maricheau and countless other women in my village who showed young girls like me what was possible if we dreamed big, tuned out the noise around us and focused on achieving our goals. To those remarkable women, I am eternally grateful; my achievements are as much theirs as mine.”
She has a particularly lasting memory of secondary school teacher Janice Henry.
“Ms Henry never stopped encouraging and supporting me. She once pulled me aside to tell me about the incredible potential she saw in me and chastised me for not living up to that potential. Decades later, I still remember her words of encouragement and support—to give my all and to do my best—always.”
Those words of encouragement stuck with her when she left Grenada in 1995 to pursue her studies and what would turn out to be a career of advocacy through leadership, as well as teaching at the CUNY School for Labor and Urban Studies in New York City.
The local media outlet thisistheBronX stated that Dr Cadore’s passion for creating a strong, effective framework was built on her background as a tenant advocate for Acorn in Brooklyn and eventually for Tenants and Neighbors.
“While she sees the importance of commitment in addressing the complex issues of disparities in criminal justice, the environment, and housing, in order to affect real change and why she pursued her doctoral degree, she said there has to be a larger look at the infrastructures that can fuel that change. Dr Cadore believes that’s where executive leadership comes in, a role she seems quite comfortable filling,” thisistheBronX reported.
“My passion is making bureaucracies and systems work efficiently and effectively, especially, for those who are most in need of services,” she told The Grenadian Voice. As she embarks on this new chapter in her social justice journey in New York, her deep-rooted connections to Grenada persist. In remembering the women of her village, she shares a hope.
“My hope is to return home one day and support and encourage young people in my village and Grenada as these women encouraged and supported me over these years.”
She is heartened by the Black Lives Matter movement and is “delighted” that it is growing globally. Her advocacy work remains focussed on dismantling systems, policies and practices that perpetuate black oppression.
“As a social justice advocate, I will continue to fight anti-blackness wherever it raises its ugly head. Witnessing Grenadians standing in solidarity with millions of protestors across the globe and calling for justice for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and others, is a reminder of what is possible here on the island if we come together as one people to confront and address common issues we face as a nation.”

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