Honourable Jean Augustine
The Viola-Desmond Award 2021 awarded to a Phenomenal Woman at the 4th edition of the Salon International de la Femme Noire

Montreal, May 25, 2021 – Audace au Féminin announces the nomination of the Honourable Jean Augustine as the recipient of the Viola-Desmond 2021 Award for the 4th edition of the Salon International de la Femme Noire. On Sunday, May 30, the Honourable Jean Augustine will be awarded this immense honour to mark her significant involvement in the Black community, both for her social activism and her role as a leading politician. Established at the inaugural SIFN in 2018, the Viola-Desmond Award is designed to recognise Black women who have led the way and contributed to the advancement of Black women.

VIA Rail partner of choice for the Viola Desmond Award
As Canada’s national passenger rail service, VIA Rail believes it has a responsibility that goes far beyond connecting Canadians from coast to coast. The Company aspires to have a positive impact on the lives of the passengers, employees, partners and communities it connects by acting today for a better tomorrow. As such, VIA Rail has enthusiastically accepted to present the Viola-Desmond Award, which recognizes the courage, determination and remarkable involvement of Black women in Canada.

A Phenomenal Committed Woman
Jean Augustine immigrated to Canada in 1960. Before embarking on a career in politics, she worked as a nanny, teacher, director and later president of the Metro Toronto Housing Authority while raising two daughters. In 1993, she became the first Black woman elected to the Parliament of Canada, then Cabinet Minister and Deputy Speaker – successfully defending and leaving a legacy of the federal government’s declaration of February as Black History Month in Canada since 1995 and the five famous motions such as “This House of Commons recognizes the important contribution of Black Canadians in the founding, growth and evolution of Canada, the diversity of Canada’s Black community, and its importance in the history of this country. “.

In March 2007, the Ontario government appointed her as its first Equity Commissioner. The Office of the Equity Commissioner ensures that internationally trained professionals (for example, in medicine or teaching) can receive their accreditation to practice in the province. Now retired, in addition to her service to her Centre for the Empowerment of Young Women, she continues to dedicate her life to addressing the systemic barriers and racial inequalities that persist in the Canadian education system with the Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community and Diaspora at York University.

A Tribute Award
Created in honour of Viola Desmond, a long-time advocate for the civil rights of Black communities in Canada, this annual award recognizes the contribution of a Black woman to this cause through her work, her convictions and her perseverance. To receive this award, a candidate must have made a significant contribution to the advancement of women at a time when it was not always easy to take her place. In previous editions, the Viola-Desmond Award was presented to Dr. Yvette Bonny, a pediatrician and hematologist at the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital, and Célina Caesar-Chavannes, former independent Member of Parliament for Whitby in Ontario.

About Audace au Féminin
Audace au Féminin is a non-profit organization whose goal is to contribute to the emancipation and social and economic empowerment of Black women. Through its various events and collaborations, the Audace au Féminin team strives to equip Black women to develop their intentional leadership and to achieve excellence in the fields in which they want to evolve. The organization also aims to facilitate sharing, meetings, discussions and interactions within and between communities, while raising awareness among authorities and socio-economic actors of the importance of the inclusion and integration of women of diversity in Canada.


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Source : Audace au Féminin | SIFN

Press relations : Dorothy Rhau

Contact : Dorothy Rhau | communications@sifn-montreal.com

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