Former New West MP and MLA Dawn Black receives award

Dawn Black is humbled to be this year’s recipient of the Rosemary Brown Award for Women.

Black, who served as New Westminster’s MLA and MP, received the award at the third annual Rosemary Brown Memorial Conference at Simon Fraser University on Sept. 10. The award recognizes a B.C. woman or B.C.-based organization that promotes the value and ideas Brown championed during her life.

Brown, who served as an MLA in the B.C. legislature from 1972 to 1986, was known for her work with causes related to equality and rights for women, the disadvantaged and minorities.

“I can remember Rosemary, I remember listening to her speak and being so awed by her ability to speak, her passion, her courage. She was one of the first women in Canada, if not the first woman in Canada, to run for the leadership of a federal party,” Black said. “She was the first black woman elected to a provincial legislature or that level of government in Canada. She was a powerhouse.”

During her time in Ottawa, Black was successful in establishing Dec. 6 as a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada in recognition of the 14 female engineering students killed at École Polytechnique in 1989. She also initiated anti-stalking legislation that was passed by the federal government.

“I am really honoured to get such an award named after Rosemary Brown,” Black told the Record. “I never worked with her – she was ahead of my time – but I certainly knew her and admired her greatly. She was quite a remarkable woman, so it’s humbling to receive an award in her name.”

The theme of this year’s Rosemary Brown Memorial Conference was Dialogue on Campus Sexual Assault. The Sept. 10 conference was co-sponsored by the SFU department of gender, sexuality and women’s studies and the Rosemary Brown Award for Women committee.

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