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Beloved Black community paper going strong despite founder's death

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Nine months after Egbert Gaye's death, the paper he founded and edited for more than 30 years is looking to the future.

"There [are] such beautiful stories," said Rosie Awori, Community Contact's new editor. "Everybody within this community comes together, almost like magic."

Since Gaye's death, responsibility for the paper, which servies Montreal's Black and Caribbean communities, and its legacy, has fallen to Awori and Emar Mitchell, Gaye's son.

"It's been very hard emotionally," Mitchell said. "The fact that I know that he's behind me in spirit, I have to keep this going for him."

Once a month, Mitchell delivers 5,000 copies of the paper to local shops and restaurants, where they are distributed for free. It's a ritual he and his father had done together since his childhood.

"There's times, obviously, because me and my dad are on the road together all the time -- it hits you like, damn, he's not there," he said. 

But Mitchell and Awori are determined to continue building on Gaye's legacy, including giving young aspiring journalists a place to hone their craft.

"Our goal, hopefully, is this summer we will also be able to have more interns and just that our doors are always open," Awori said.

"That was something that Mr. G did. He gave me a chance. He was always giving people chances."

While his larger-than-life personality no longer physically occupies the newsroom, Gaye's presence remains, and his life's work continues.

"Hopefully, I can carry this on as long as I can and maybe one day my son will come with me on the road," Mitchell said. "We'll see how it goes."

With the help of the community, he's taking it one paper at a time. 

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