Jamaican-born health care practitioner, Dr. Rosemary Moodie, is a recipient of this year’s Constance Hamilton Award.
In 1979, Toronto city council established the honour named after its first female member, who was elected in 1920.
The award commemorates the 1929 Privy Council decision which requires the federal government to recognize women as “persons” according to the terms of the 1867 Constitution Act and recognize Persons Day – October 18 – which is the date that the judgement was handed down.
As president and board chair of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) Toronto since 2011, Moodie has expanded the organization’s affordable and supportive housing options for young women living with mental health and addiction issues, as well as low-income single women and those fleeing domestic violence.
A graduate of St. Hugh’s High School in Kingston and the University of the West Indies, Moodie came to Canada nearly three decades ago to complete her paediatrics training at the Hospital for Sick Children (HSC). She successfully pursued an Executive Masters in Business Administration at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School and is currently completing her Master’s in Public Policy and Administration at Queen’s University.
Moodie, who has provided medical care for critically ill newborn infants and children while working to improve medical service delivery needs in the field of obstetrics, gynaecology and paediatrics, sits on the Food for the Poor advisory board and is a director of the Project for the Advancement of Childhood Education (PACE).
The HSC pediatrician and neonatologist was honoured with a Harry Jerome Award last April.
Keisha Williams was presented with the Pride Award for Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Transsexual Two Spirited Issues. It was established in 2003 to mark the 30th anniversary of Toronto City Council’s decision to adopt a human rights policy to provide protection on the basis of sexual orientation.
The Toronto-born community organizer completed an honours degree in public affairs and policy management with a specialization in human rights at Carleton University five years ago. That same year, she created a peer-centric harm reduction and sexual health outreach project for outdoor sex workers in the city.
Four years ago, Williams completed her first film, Red Lips (Cages for Black Girls), that explores complex social justice issues within a unique artistic vision that sheds light on various issues that Black, Indigenous, Queer and Trans women face daily.
Lawyer, advocate and social entrepreneur, Ritu Bhasin, was the recipient of the William Hubbard Award
The city established the award in 1989 to honour Toronto’s first Black councillor, who successfully ran for public office in the late 1890s and served as deputy and then acting mayor. A visionary, he led the charge for publicly-owned water supply and electricity power that resulted in the establishment of Ontario and Toronto Hydro. He also persuaded the city to acquire the Toronto Islands.
The awards were presented at the City of Toronto’s annual Access, Equity & Human Rights event last week to celebrate Human Rights Day and the 66th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights.