Access, Equity & Human Rights Awards

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William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations

Established in 1989, the William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations is presented to a person or persons whose outstanding achievement and commitment has made a significant contribution toward a positive race relations climate in Toronto.

All recipients must be residents of Toronto.

William Peyton Hubbard was born in Toronto in 1842. A baker by trade, he served as an elected official for 15 years between 1894 and 1913. Known in the press as Toronto's "Grand Old Man", he supported public ownership of utilities, and as Chair of the power committee, was integral to the founding of the Toronto Hydro Electric System. He served as Acting Mayor, and was also elected to the city's Board of Control. He passed away in 1935 at the age of ninety-three.

Recipients of the William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations have made outstanding contributions to a positive race relations climate in Toronto

2016 William P. Hubbard Award recipient

Black Lives Matter – TorontoPhoto credit Jalani Morgan

Black Lives Matter – Toronto (BLM – TO) is a diverse coalition of Black activists, students, workers, and parents who are committed to eradicating all forms of anti-Black racism, supporting Black healing and liberating Black communities. The Toronto chapter of the international movement works to bring a Canadian-specific narrative to the global fight against anti-Blackness and to (re)build the Black Liberation movement.

BLM – TO is a platform for Black communities to actively dismantle all forms of anti-black racism, liberate blackness, support black healing, affirm Black existence, and create freedom to love and self-determine. Their mission is to forge critical connections and to work in solidarity with Black communities, Black-centric networks, solidarity movements, and allies in order to dismantle all forms of violence and brutality committed against Black peoples.

In just two years, the coalition has shaken up politics in Toronto, forcing the issue of anti-Black racism as a priority for municipal, provincial, and federal policy makers, local and international media, and the public. Their two-week long occupation of Toronto Police Headquarters during winter, shut down of the Allen expressway, and sit-in at the Toronto Pride Parade are just a few examples of their commitment to direct people-led sustained action.

BLM – TO is loud, strategic, and persistent.

BLM – TO’s work extends to the affirmation of Black lives. They have organized a Black-victims focused Take Back the Night march, community healing spaces, and children’s programming. This includes their Freedom School initiative which is an arts-based summer program for Black children in the GTA. The program offers an alternative setting to teach children about Black Canadian and diasporic history and to engage them in political resistance to anti-Black racism through a trans-feminist lens.

BLM – TO uplifts the lives of Black queer and trans, disabled, Muslim, undocumented, incarcerated or formerly incarcerated, women, and lives along the identity and expression spectrum. BLM – TO includes those who have been marginalized within Black liberation movements.

BLM – TO is working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. They put sweat equity and love for Black people into creating a political project – taking the hashtag off of social media and putting it into the streets.

Black Lives Matter is not a moment, it’s a movement.

Photo credit: Jalani Morgan

2015 Recipient Hubbard Award

Kamala-Jean GopieKamala-Jean Gopie

Kamala-Jean Gopie embodies what we can achieve if we work together to effect change in our communities. Her resume and bio indicates the depth and breath of her contributions to make this a city we can proudly call home. As minorities, we are beginning to see ourselves in the media reading the news, in advertising, on law enforcement and other facets of city life thanks in part to the work of people like Kamala-Jean Gopie. She is a doer, not a chronic complainer and encourages us all to rise above our insecurities. She has lobbied institutions to change their practices and become more inclusive but she has also challenged the youth to participate in institutions such as the United Way and other services and other government organizations and give back to their communities. By example, she is encouraging support for the arts and for us not to limit ourselves to just what we know and are comfortable with and this augurs well for race relations in this city. If people are involved in the institutions that help make the city function they are less likely to feel disenfranchised and this leads to social harmony, thanks in part to the work of Kamala-Jean Gopie.

2014 Recipient Hubbard Award

Ritu BhasinRitu Bhasin

Ritu Bhasin is a lawyer, advocate, and social entrepreneur who has spent almost 20 years working to eliminate racism and prejudice. 

For 10 years Ritu practiced civil litigation, human rights, and constitutional law on Bay Street and then she broke new ground in the Canadian legal profession by becoming one of the few people of colour to serve on a senior management team, focusing on talent management for law students and lawyers. Ritu worked tirelessly during this time to advocate and promote diversity and inclusion within her law firm and across the legal profession in Toronto and Canada. 

In 2010, Ritu completed her Executive MBA while continuing to work full-time in her demanding Bay Street job. Upon completing her MBA, Ritu took a leap of faith and founded her own consulting firm. The firm focuses on advancing diversity and inclusion within organizations, and coaching diverse professionals to find success. Ritu works with a range of world-renowned organizations, including law firms, corporations, banks, academic institutions, professional associations, and non-profits. 

Through her work, she brings together people to become actively involved in the elimination of racism and other forms of prejudice. Ritu has previously taught in the Executive Program at the Rotman School of Management, and in diversity strategy in not-for-profit governance. Additionally, Ritu was on the instructing team that contributed to The Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance's 2011 DiverseCity Fellows Program. Ritu contributes to many of Toronto's community organizations including CivicAction and the Maytree Foundation, and is a mentor to dozens of emerging leaders from racialized communities, including youth from Toronto's Regent Park community. 

Ritu has been a member of the Pan Am Games Toronto 2015 Employment Advisory Council, the City of Toronto's Yonge-Dundas Square Board of Management and the Habitat for Humanity Canada Board of Directors. She has previously served on the Rotman School of Management's Values Initiatives Working Group, the Law Society's Equity Advisory Group, the Board of Directors for the YWCA Toronto, and Rotman's Business Edge Mentorship Program for Women In Business. Ritu is a recipient of numerous awards and distinctions, including the 2011 Gordon Cressy Leadership Award from the University of Toronto and the University of Western Ontario’s Young Alumni Award for 2013.

2013 Recipient of William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations

Samuel Getachew

Samuel GetachewSamuel has been a dedicated volunteer and community journalist for more than a decade. He is an ongoing contributor to Generation Next and writes regularly for Sway, TZTA and The Huffington Post. He is also a regular commentator in the media on diversity issues. He has always used these outlets to tell the story of emerging immigrant Canadians.

Since 2009, Samuel has served as a board member with the Africans in Partnership Against AIDS (APPA). Previously, he served as a board member for the United Way Impact Committee (2005-2008), Citizens Advocacy Ottawa (2004-2008) and Swansea Town Hall (2009-2011).

Since coming to Canada from Ethiopia, Getachew has valued most the mentorship he has provided to countless young people. He has personally reached out to many of the country's most dynamic yet under-resourced young leaders and has extended his own networks, time and support in service of their personal and community ambitions.

A 2010 Maytree Foundation fellow, Samuel studied Political Science at Carleton University. His efforts have been recognized with a 2011 National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada award, an Ontario Volunteer Service Award and a Duke of Edinburgh Award gold medal.

Previous William P. Hubbard Award recipients

Award Recipient Year
Ritu Bhasin 2014

Samuel Getachew

2013

Teferi Adem

 2012
Leonard A. Braithwaite Q.C.  2011
Dr. Alvin Curling and the Honourable Roy McMurtry, Courtney Betty, and Arnold Minors  2010
Adrienne Shadd, Paul Nguyen and Scadding Court Community Centre  2009
George Elliott Clarke, Avvy Go and Carl E. James  2008
Afua Cooper, Anne Gloger and Kevin Lee  2007
Douglas Stewart  2006
Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter and Akwatu Khenti  2005
Lillian Allen, Naheed Dosani and Immigrant Women's Health Centre (IWHC)  2004
Pramila Aggarwal and Dr. George J. Sefa Dei  2003
Jehad Aliweiwi, Michael "Pinball" Clemons and Lillian McGregor  2002
Murphy Browne and Francisco Rico-Martinez  2001
Frances Sanderson  2000
Rosemary Sadlier  1999
Antoni Shelton and Sharryn Aiken  1998
Jim Putt  1997
Lisa Cherniak and Hughgo J. Extavour  1996
J. Gerald Rose and Mendelson Joe  1995
No award  1994
Gloria Fallick  1993
Audi Dharmalingam  1992
Peter Sealy, Terry Watada and Morley S. Wolfe  1991
Larry Leong 1990