VANCOUVER, March 20, 2001 - The three winners of the 2001 Award of Excellence shared the spotlight today and $20,000 in prize money for their innovation and excellence in race relations. The announcement was made at the opening of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation's biennial Award of Excellence Ceremony & Symposium being held in Vancouver, March 2-4, 2001.
CRRF Announces Winners Of The 2001 Award Of Excellence
The presentation to the winners was made by The Honourable Lincoln Alexander, Chair of CRRF.
"This is a group of outstanding individuals who daily demonstrate a commitment to establishing equity for all citizens of this country," said Mr. Alexander. He called on Canadians to be "more vigilant to uphold our collective values of human rights and equality." While he called the state of racism in Canada unsettling, Mr. Alexander reflected on the breadth and quality of the Award of Excellence nominees and the positive impact that the organizations have made in communities across the country. From the inaugural Award of Excellence presentation in 1999 to this year, nominations nearly doubled from 40 to 78 organizations.
The top prize of $10,000 and the Award of Excellence trophy was presented to Ville de Saint-Laurent. In responding to the changing face of its community - from predominately French and English to a populace of nearly 50% newcomers from countries around the world - the City undertook an ambitious project to develop and implement a city-wide inter-cultural policy. Within one year of the project launch in 2000, the goal of restoring people's confidence in living in harmony without losing their identity was well on its way. Ville de Saint-Laurent has adopted a city slogan which exemplifies its commitment and achievement - "In Saint-Laurent, we proudly display our intercultural colours."
Ville de Saint-Laurent plans to invest the money back into the community by increasing financial assistance to intercultural and family organizations which foster positive race relations in Ville de Saint-Laurent.
The Award of Distinction went to the runner-ups -- Red Deer, Alberta's Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School program, S.T.O.P. (Students And Teachers Opposing Prejudice), and Toronto-based Young People's Press, a national, non-profit news agency for youth, by youth. The Award of Distinction winners each receive $5,000 in prize money.
S.T.O.P. combats all forms of discrimination in the school through student-initiated programs. Founded in 1987, the S.T.O.P. program plays an invaluable role both in reducing racial tensions in their school and in keeping race relations in the forefront of young people's minds around the province. S.T.O.P. was named "Freedom Fighter of the Month" last year by the California band "Rage Against the Machine," prompting inquiries from students around the world.
STOP plans to invest the prize money in establishing a designated space in the soon-to-be renovated school. It will serve as a welcoming environment to share ideas regarding cultural, social and political issues.
YOUNG PEOPLE'S PRESS was created in 1995 in response to a lack of media outlets for young people aged 14-24. Since then, its stories have been published in more than 200 newspapers across Canada. At least 50% of the youth involved are Aboriginal or members of the racial minorities. In addition to the news agency service, YPP also has an electronic magazine called "Equality Today". Its series of Writers Circles to train youth writers is currently taking place across the country. Several of the youth writers from YPP have gone on to gainful employment in the media.
YPP plans to use the CRRF Award of Distinction prize money to develop further issues of "Equality Today".
The CRRF Award of Excellence Program recognizes public, private or voluntary organizations whose efforts represent excellence and innovation in combating racism in Canada. The program promotes efforts which demonstrate a systemic approach to change, involve community partners and/or racial minorities and Aboriginal peoples, lead to significant and specific positive outcomes, and have the capacity to inspire others.
A five-member Jury selected the Award of Excellence Winner and the Award of Distinction runner-ups. In both 1999 and 2001, the Honourable Ed Broadbent chaired the Awards Jury. The 2001 jury members were: Mr. Louis Bordeleau, the founder and Executive Director of the Centre d'entraide et d'amitié autochtone de Senneterre, in Quebec, a support agency to members of three Aboriginal nations; Ms Jinny Sims, with the B.C. Teachers Federation, a 1999 CRRF Award of Excellence winner; and M Imma Zama, chair of the New Brunswick Women's Intercultural Network.
A key component of the CRRF Award of Excellence program is a three-day symposium, "Inspiring Excellence to Achieve Change", March 2-4, 2001 which will feature keynote addresses by The Honourable Lincoln Alexander, CRRF Chair and former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario; Mr. Adrian Miller, former Special Assistant to President Clinton and Director of the President's Initiative for One America; and Ms Thami Ngwevela, Consul General of South Africa in New York.