Awards and Word on the Street

It’s been a busy and exciting few weeks. I found out that a couple of my micropoems were selected for the Word On the Street project in the McCauley neighbourhood. One is on 107A Avenue near 95 Street, and the other is on 96 Street near 105 Avenue.

Then, on May 24 I received the Edmonton Social Planning Council’s Award of Merit for Advocacy of Social Justice.  A major reason I received the award is my leadership at Boyle McCauley News for the past 12 years, as well as my involvement in social justice initiatives like the Women’s March in Edmonton. This photo was taken with Ward 4 City Councillor Aaron Paquette, who was the guest speaker (the event was also the ESPC’s AGM).

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The following day, on May 25, I received the first ever MUSE Award from Edmonton Muse. To celebrate the online magazine’s first anniversary, the publisher decided to give back to the community by honouring people who are making a difference. I was thrilled to have my work with social justice initiatives recognized, such as Project Ploughshares, the Edmonton Coalition Against War & Racism, and #CompletingTheStory, as well as my songwriting.

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Recognition from E4C

On March 10, E4C celebrated 20 years of its McCauley Apartments program. McCauley Apartments is affordable housing with a large number of tenants who have severe mental illness, but who contribute to the community in so many ways as volunteers.

Boyle McCauley News, the inner city community newspaper I edit, received an award of recognition as a community partner. I, Volunteer Coordinator Colleen Chapman, and Board Chair Gary Garrison also received individual recognitions. Here’s a photo of us all smiling and happy at the event!

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Human Rights Champion Award

On December 11, I was honoured to receive a Human Rights Champion Award from the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights. I was described in the awards brochure as “a pioneering media artist in Edmonton and a community organizer.” Many of my colleagues from the Edmonton Coalition Against War and Racism, the Edmonton Interfaith Centre for Education and Action, and the Moving Forward with Reconciliation working group, as well as many of my general activist friends, were there to support me.

Here’s my acceptance speech, in writing and video:

When I showed up at my first peace march in September of 2005, camera in hand, I had no idea that 11 years later I would be standing here receiving an award like this.

I firmly believe that we all have a role to play when it comes to peace and human rights, and that every contribution has significance. Our voices count, whether it is helping organize events, connecting communities, or simply showing up to support an equitable society, to say no to racism, and to say yes to peace and an anti-war government.

I also hope that my example will help influence others to get involved with the peace movement and human rights. We need your voices and talents.

Thank you to the John Humphrey Centre for holding these awards and for bestowing this honour upon me. And to all of my friends and supporters over the years: peace, shalom, thank you.