Marking International Human Rights Day
December 10th is the United Nations’ International Day for Human Rights. Typically, we would mark the day with a public event and presentation of the annual Nova Scotia Human Rights Awards. While current public health restrictions have prevented us from welcoming the public to join us in a celebration of human rights in our province, we are still presenting awards and reflecting, perhaps now more than ever, on the importance human rights play in our daily lives. Therefore, we join the United Nations and the global community in observing this year’s Human Rights Day theme, “Recover Better: Stand Up for Human Rights”.
2020 has been a challenging year. The Commission is aware every single day of the impact that COVID-19 is having on people across Nova Scotia. There is a need for concrete action to address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on already marginalized Nova Scotians and on the need to confront systemic racism, intolerance, and hate in our province.
Despite the difficulties we have collectively faced, Nova Scotians stepped up in amazing ways. As usual, the Awards Committee had a difficult task. The recipients of this year’s awards do important work to strengthen and promote human rights as a matter of course and calling.
In the coming weeks, the Commission will share more details about this year’s recipients via our website and social media. Without our usual public celebration, we hope to shine a light on their important work in a way that allows more of us to fully appreciate their impact. This year’s award recipients are being celebrated for their commitment to education, empowerment, equity, leadership, and collaboration on human rights issues.
Thank you to all for their hard work and dedication in doing what they can to promote a diverse and inclusive province for all.
Please join us in celebrating the following recipients of the 2020 Nova Scotia Human Rights Awards:
Clayton Murphy, Halifax, is being recognized for his extensive work as an advocate and educator in the area of youth mental health and wellness. He has demonstrated value for diversity and acknowledging the intersectionality of identity and personal expression.
Pamela Brown, Halifax, is being recognized for her lifelong body of work in the area of sex education and women’s health. She has demonstrated a commitment to advancing the rights of women and members of the LGBTQ+ community as a health practitioner, educator, and ally.
Elder Jane Meader, Membertou, is being recognized for her outstanding work in the area of Indigenous rights as a leader, Knowledge Keeper, and educator. Elder Meader is an advocate for Treaty Education, and a lifelong teacher and preserver of Mi’kmaq culture and specifically, the Mi’kmaq language.
The Association of Black Social Workers and the Health Association of African Canadians are being recognized for their collaborative work in response to the impact of COVID-19in African Nova Scotian communities. In the wake of the pandemic, the ABSW and HAAC rapidly responded in a coordinated effort to address needs within African Nova Scotian communities across the province, including but not limited to: providing professional support to those requiring it; assisting in the collection and distribution of PPE and supplies to those in need; liaising between Community Services and the community; and assisting in the purchase and province-wide distribution of technology to assist in remote learning. The Covid-19 response of this partnership has been recognized nationally.
The Preston Township Emergency Response Team is being recognized for their community-led volunteer work in response to the need for culturally relevant COVID-related assistance during the early months of the pandemic. Their quick response helped to identify and address gaps in services in the Preston area preventing potentially adverse outcomes. Their culturally responsive approach demonstrated perfectly the collaboration and cooperation required to address an ever-developing complex crisis situation in a marginalized and racialized community.