Diverse group of advocates shortlisted for 2023 Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Awards

The flag of Newfoundland and Labrador on a railing. Photo: Erik McLean/Pexels

A group of dedicated individuals, each championing human rights in their own unique way, have been shortlisted for the prestigious 2023 Human Rights Awards in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The announcement was made on Nov. 29 by the Human Rights Commission of Newfoundland and Labrador.

These awards, an annual event, honor those who have significantly contributed to the advancement of human rights in the province. The nominees were selected based on community nominations, highlighting the grassroots recognition of their efforts.

The winner of this year’s award will be presented with an original painting by Grace Prince, a student at Grenfell Visual Arts. The award ceremony will be held virtually on Thursday, December 7, at 2:30 p.m. from Government House, coinciding with International Human Rights Day.

This year’s nominees represent a broad spectrum of advocacy and contributions.

They include Courtney Clarke, a passionate advocate for violence prevention and gender equality in politics; Dome Lombeida, a queer migrant settler actively involved in refugee and social justice organizations; Émile Sopkowe, a teacher who champions 2SLGBTQ+ inclusion; Dr. Gary Thompson and Dr. Michael Long, both engaged in promoting human rights in the education sector; Leigh Zachary Bursey, an activist and researcher in the field of homelessness; Myka Hollahan, a graphic designer and active board director at Trans Support NL; and Sarah Worthman, a researcher focusing on 2SLGBTQIA+ centered research.

Grace Prince, the artist behind this year’s Human Rights Award, is a third-year student at Memorial University’s Grenfell Campus, specializing in painting, sculpture, and textiles. Her work is a reflection of her personal experiences and the landscapes of Newfoundland.

The community’s involvement in nominating these individuals underscores the widespread commitment to human rights in Newfoundland and Labrador. The virtual ceremony aims to celebrate these efforts and the continued pursuit of equality and justice in the province. Those interested in attending the virtual event can request a link by contacting Hilary Hennessey at the provided email address.

For more information about the Human Rights Commission of Newfoundland and Labrador and the upcoming awards, visit www.thinkhumanrights.ca and follow their social media channels for updates.

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