The 2017 Human Rights Award winner was Susan Rose. Susan is a former teacher, current National Vice-President of EGALE Human Rights Trust, and lifelong advocate for LGBTQ2S rights, protections, and visibility in education and beyond. At a time when it was not popular or safe to do so, she pushed for changes in the school environment and curriculum. She developed workshops, helped organize gay-straight alliances, facilitated research on homophobia and transphobia in education, and was a personal support to countless families and educators. Beyond the classroom, Susan dedicated her own time and resources to improving the lives of LGBTQ2S people across the island.
This year two people were also named Human Rights Champions. Dr. Lloydetta Quaicoe is founder and CEO of Sharing Our Cultures, an organization that encourages intercultural communications between students. Dr. Pauline Duke is an award-winning physician, educator and advocate for refugee healthcare.
The 2016 Human Rights Award was presented to Mark Gruchy, a St. John’s lawyer who is a vocal advocate for those with mental health issues and for better public services. In addition to extensive professional and community experience in promoting mental health, Mark also has lived experiences of mental illness and has frequently spoken publicly about his journey.
Gemma Hickey was named the 2016 Human Rights Champion. Gemma is a widely known St. John’s-based activist and up-and-coming poet. Gemma has championed many causes but is best known for co-leading the movement that legalized same-sex marriage and more recently, for walking across the island portion of the province in support of survivors of clergy abuse.
The inaugural NL Human Rights Award was held on December 10th, 2015 at Government House in St. John’s
The recipient was Sister Margie Taylor, a dedicated human rights advocate who has worked with female prison inmates to assist them in transitioning to permanent housing and employment. Sister Margie has also worked with newcomers, including refugees and immigrants, and has served on a number of committees, including the Newfoundland and Labrador Coalition Against Human Trafficking, and international organizations dedicated to human rights and social justice.
Mr. Calvin White was named a “Human Rights Champion” at the December ceremony. This recognition is granted to someone who has made a meaningful, lifelong contribution to human rights in Newfoundland and Labrador, and the recipient is generally chosen by members of the Selection Committee. Mr. White has advocated for the rights of Mi’kmaq people of this province since the 1960s and has made a lifelong commitment to social justice causes. He is a recipient of the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador. Remzi Cej, Chair of the Commission, attended the 10th Annual Bay St. George Mi’kmaq Powow with the Honourable Frank Fagan, Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador, to present Mr. White with the Champion Certificate on July 9, 2016.