The following is being distributed at the request of the Human Rights Commission of Newfoundland and Labrador:
Today, the Human Rights Commission of Newfoundland and Labrador announced the nominees for the 2019 Human Rights Awards. The annual award recognizes an individual who has made and/or continues to make a meaningful contribution to advancing and furthering human rights in the province.
This year’s nominations came from community members, professional contacts and others who want to recognize the nominees’ efforts. The 2019 Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Award and Human Rights Champion recipients will be announced at a ceremony at Government House on Thursday, December 5. The timing of the presentation coincides with December 10, International Human Rights Day. Information on the nominees can be found in the backgrounder below.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Award Winner recipient will receive an award created specifically for the event by local artist, Toby Rabinowitz.
“The nominations this year came as a true tribute to the incredible Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who have made such significant contributions in the lives of individuals, families, and communities throughout our diverse province. We are incredibly pleased to honour this year’s Human Rights Award Winner, Champion and Nominees, and thank them for their dedication to making this province a better place for all.”
Chair, Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission
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Follow us on Twitter @nlhumanrights.
Carey S. Majid Executive Director
Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission
2019 Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Award Nominees
Craig Reid: Advocate for persons with disabilities and accessibility needs
Craig Reid is the Chair of the Universal Design Network NL (UDNNL), Board of Directors of Coalition of Persons With Disabilities (CODNL), advocate for persons with disabilities and accessibility needs. Born in Corner Brook, living in Mount Pearl, Craig became aware of the challenges and barriers in the built environment when faced his own disability. After spearheading changes to accessible parking legislation, he continues educating governments, municipalities and industry on the need for Universal Design to be part of their strategy. Creating equal access for all persons to services and resources is what drives him. He is currently working with the City of St. John’s on an accessible affordable housing strategy, and accessible municipality. “Spark The Conversation” from UDNNL is a drawing contest open to all students in Newfoundland and Labrador from K-12 creating a platform for educators, parents and care givers to have a conversation about how accessibility in the built environment benefits us all. It requires the students to draw a picture of how accessibility makes them FEEL.
Jessie Lawrence: 2SLGBTQ+ advocate and youth activist
Growing up in a small town in Newfoundland, Jessie Lawrence has seen how a community can shape youth. At 14 years old Jessie decided to ensure that the community shaping was to be a positive one. She became the Co-Founder and Director of Camp Ohana, which is an innovative 2SLGBTQ+ focused summer camp, by youth for youth. At camp, there are no wait times for counselors, no hatred, simply education and inclusion. Jessie strives to further acceptance in schools and promote the need for effective action against the discrimination of diverse individuals. Jessie is also part of the vibrant francophone community and holds the position of Vice President of Franco Jeunes de Terre-Neuve et Labrador, leading the way for accessible resources among the francophone community and people of French expression.
Lynn Moore: Advocate for survivors of sexual abuse
Lynn Moore is a founding partner of Morris Martin Moore and works almost exclusively in the area of sexual abuse litigation. Before entering private practice, she spent twenty years as a Crown Attorney. In 2013, Lynn decided to leave the civil service so that she could represent survivors of sexual abuse, working to get financial compensation for them. Lynn is a vocal advocate for equality for all people, especially those historically marginalized by colonialism, racism, gender, gender expression, homophobia and transphobia. Lynn is also the Chair of the Board of Directors of Iris Kirby House and O’Shaughnessy House and sits on the Board of the SKS Children’s Centre. Formerly, she was a Member of the Board of Directors for the St. John’s Status of Women. Lynn has spoken about equality rights at various events. In 2013, she swam to Bell Island to raise money for the Canadian Mental Health Association.
Bridget Foster: Advocate for immigrants and refugees
Bridget Foster was awarded the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2014 for over 30 years of service in the immigration/settlement sector. Her accomplishments include receipt of the Paul Yuzyk Lifetime Achievement Award for Multiculturalism in 2012, as well as Her Majesty’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals in 2004 and 2012. Bridget has been involved with the Canadian Council for Refugees, the National Organization of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women and the RCMP Race Relations Committee. She was also the driving force behind the formation of the Atlantic Region Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies and the Canadian Immigrant Settlement Sector Alliance. Furthermore, she championed bringing the Metropolis project to the Atlantic region, a project that played an important role in supporting research that sought to inform government decision-making on immigration policy. Bridget began her work in the area of immigration as a volunteer with the Friends of Refugees, the forerunner of the current organization the Association for New Canadians (ANC).
Jennifer McCreath: Human rights activist and trans rights trailblazer
Jennifer McCreath identifies as a “woman born transsexual” who became an advocate for the growth and development of the scope and mandate of the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission, after her 2009 complaint against the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Care Program was deemed “out of scope.” Jennifer successfully played a key role in helping to break down “gender binary” barriers in international sports. She penned and helped implement an inclusion policy that allowed for the sanctioning of trans-athletes at the 2009 World Outgames in Copenhagen, at the Boston Marathon and local events run by the Newfoundland and Labrador Athletic Association. Jennifer co-founded St. John’s Pride Inc. and the East Coast Trans Alliance in 2010. Through these entities, Jennifer has organized and hosted Pride events and Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR) events in Newfoundland and Labrador, including Middle Cove, Torbay, Carbonear, Harbour Grace, Clarenville, Arnond’s Cove, Gander, Grand Falls-Windsor, and Springdale. She has also brought mainstream media attention to trans issues through her work in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
Heidi Edgar: Social worker and justice program manager
Heidi Edgar is the manager of the Justice Program with the Canadian Mental Health Association – Newfoundland and Labrador division. Heidi has been awarded both a Masters Degree and Bachelors Degree in Social Work from The University of Western Ontario. She also holds a Certificate in Criminology from Memorial University. Heidi has been involved in the field of corrections and mental health over the last 20 years in a variety of roles in both Newfoundland and Labrador and Ontario. Since her return to the province in 2009, Heidi has worked in both adolescent and adult mental health. Her current role has allowed her to be able to combine her passion for corrections and mental health. Heidi leads a team that has the privilege of providing in-reach mental health services to inmates of Her Majesty’s Penitentiary with a diagnosed mental illness. This program provides advocacy and a voice to many individuals who face oppression, marginalization and vulnerabilities. Heidi is also a certified Compassion Fatigue Educator.
Kimberly Churchill: Human rights advocate
Kimberly Churchill grew up recognizing the importance of community involvement and started volunteering at the age of 12. She has been the recipient of many awards including Canadian Diabetes Distinguished Dedication Award and the Youth Volunteer Corps Role Model of the Year Award. Volunteering for more than 15 years with the Canadian Diabetes Association, one of Kimberly’s essential roles pertained to advocating for fair and equitable treatment for those living with diabetes. Most recently she has been a strong advocate for deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) children which has gained national attention. When her son Carter, who is deaf, was being isolated due to language deprivation, Kimberly has started advocating for change so all children can be better supported to receive an equitable education. Kimberly brought her advocacy to TEDxStJohns. She founded the non-profit organization Children’s Language Acquisition Support System Inc. (CLASS) to support language acquisition for deaf, hard of hearing and non-speaking children. Kimberly also created, implemented and currently delivers a program, Gain a Superpower, to primary school aged children to help bridge the gap between hearing and deaf children who use ASL. Kimberly currently resides in Portugal Cove – St. Philips with her husband Todd and two sons, Hunter and Carter.
Myles Murphy: Advocate for persons who are Deaf
Myles Murphy was born on Bell Island, a profoundly Deaf child to hearing parents. His life work has been committed to removing barriers for the ‘silent minority’ through his employment and volunteerism in the community. Myles has extensive volunteer experiences with Canadian Association of the Deaf, Disability Policy Office Provincial Advisory Council for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities among other organizations. In his role as Executive Director of NLAD, Myles has implemented specific services and programs that had direct positive outcomes in improving equality and inclusion for people who are Deaf. Myles was instrumental in researching and developing the Deaf Literacy program for adults who are Deaf. Myles has been certified through Registered Interpreter for the Deaf (RID) as a Deaf Interpreter. Myles resides in St. John’s with his wife Sandra. They are the proud parents of five children and ten grandchildren.