'Black Angel of Boyle Street:' Advocate for those in need recognized by City of Edmonton


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Mary Burlie grew up under Jim Crow law in the Deep South of America before moving to Edmonton in 1969.

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Once in Edmonton, Mary spent 26 years working on the frontlines for Boyle Street Community Services, first as a volunteer and then as a staff member. On Tuesday, she was recognized with the City of Edmonton proclaiming July 13 as Mary Burlie Day.

Scott McKeen, city councillor for Ward 6, made the proclamation outside of MacEwan University, in front of a crowd who Mary left an impact on — including her granddaughter, Tanika Burlie.

“My grandma never judged anybody. She loved you for who you are, she would take you in even into her home if she felt you needed extra support,” said Tanika. “I take that as just how beautiful she was and I’m so proud of her. I’m proud to be here today, I’m proud to call her my grandmother and just so extremely proud of her.”

Tanika was five years old when her grandmother passed away, but she says she’s heard her mother, family and friends of her grandmother talk about Mary. She said she will continue to honour her legacy.

“I hope that this day impacts people who want to get out and help to get out and help,” said Tanika. “No matter who it is, if you see someone out on the street just get out and ask how their day is going, ask if they need some sort of support … Don’t judge. If you have the will to help, get out and help.”

More to come…