Ali Saeed and myself

On December 9, 2009 Ali Saeed was presented with the Human Rights Commitment Award of Manitoba and I was presented the Sybil Shack Human Rights Youth Award by the Manitoba Human Rights Commission, the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Manitoba Association for Rights and Liberties.

I was humbled to meet Ali Saeed, a former Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience who immigrated to Manitoba after being released from imprisonment in Somalia in 1984. He has sponsored over 100 refugees through the Ethiopian Society of Winnipeg, finding employment for refugees and producing and financing the award winning feature length documentary on human rights “Memories of a Generation”.  His kindness and love for people was awe-inspiring.

I was surprised and honoured to be receive the Sybil Shack Human Rights Youth Award. I’m rather a shy person so the direct attention on me was overwhelming. But, I’m glad this opportunity introduced me to some wonderful people and increased the awareness of  violence against women and the Men’s Banner Project.     

This prayer was said by Diane Dwarka the president of Manitoba Association for Multicultural Education:

As we gather here today, on December 9, the eve of Human Rights Day, we give thanks for our country’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms which we enjoy, and, we remember those who live in parts of the world where rights are violated daily.

I acknowledge that not all of us gathered here share the same faiths and beliefs. But regardless of our beliefs, we do find a way to say thanks for things we receive.

Please join me, as you are able to give thanks.

Creator of all, we give thanks for this opportunity to gather together as community to mark International Human Rights Day.

We give thanks for those who champion the rights of those less fortunate than us, and we give thanks for the recipients of today’s awards Ali Saeed and Anna-Celestrya Carr

We say thanks too,

For food in a world where many walk in hunger,

For friends where many walk alone,

For freedom where many walk in fear.

Bless those who have made this meal possible, from the farmers to the grocers, to the cooks and the servers, and for those who organized this event.

May our bodies be nourished, and may today’s recipients inspire us to continue to work, pray and hope for peace, justice and human rights in our country & the world. So may it be.

Manitoba Association for Rights and Liberties