Kay Livingstone was born in London, Ontario in 1918. Her parents, James and Christina Jenkins were leaders in the Black community and founders of the newspaper, “Dawn of Tomorrow”.
In 1950, Kay became involved in the Canadian Negro Women’s Association (CANEWA). She started a new organization, became its first president and encouraged members to commit to service projects. They raised funds to provide scholarships to young Black students who showed promised. The group also formed the Calypso Carnival, which was a forerunner to today’s Caribana Festival that is held each year in Toronto.
From 1951 to 1953, Kay served as President for CANEWA. She initiated the first National Congress of Black Women. Two hundred women from across the country attended the gathering. Workshops on single parenting, education and seniors were offered. The focus of the Congress was to encourage Black women to form close personal relationships. Kay was President of the Women’s Section, United Nations Association; Chair, International Affairs of Local Council of YWCA and Regional Chair of the National Black Coalition.
Kay pioneered the cause of Black women in Canada and was an advocate of social justice for all individuals. In 1992 the London Chapter established the Kay Livingstone Scholarship in her memory.