Civil Liberties Association honors the work of the Overdose Prevention Society and Richard Rosenberg

By on May 4, 2017
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Submitted. On May 11, 2017 the BC Civil Liberties Association is pleased to present two awards honouring courage and a lifetime of contributions to human rights and civil liberties.

1) Jennifer Prosser Wade Award for Courage: Where truth speaks to power: On the occasion of her 80th birthday, Jennifer Prosser Wade, a notable justice advocate, has funded a new annual award for those speaking truth to power and thereby protecting civil liberties and human rights.

Sarah Blyth and the Overdose Prevention Society(OPS) are the first ever recipients of this award. The award recognizes people who, at personal risk and/or loss, stand up to those who would deny our freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of religion and other basic rights. Included with the award is a cash prize of $200.

In addition to the award, the BCCLA is partnering with the OPS to push BC voters to contact their provincial candidates and ask them what they will do in response to the crisis. The email and calling action can be found here.

The BCCLA is also encouraging supporters to donate to the Overdose Prevention Society’s crowdfunder, which sustains their work. The crowdfunder can be found here.

“Sometimes it is terribly hard to speak out against what is “establishment” and what is accepted when you know something is very wrong, especially when you know that in all likelihood you will be treated as the enemy for having spoken out against what others possibly hold dear. But conscience compels a few people to do this even though they know the messenger may be shot. Speaking truth to power requires courage”. –Jennifer Prosser Wade

Sarah and the OPS are being honored for the life-saving work they have undertaken in the midst of BC’s overdose crisis. When governments and institutions failed to respond to the urgent need for more health services, Sarah and a team of volunteers erected two unsanctioned safe injection tents where volunteers have used naloxone kits to save hundreds of lives.

Blyth runs the tents with the help of two other Downtown Eastside activists: Ann Livingston and Chris Ewart. They operate outside B.C.’s health-care system, without government support or official permission. And because they offer people clean injection supplies, the volunteers risk facing criminal charges. The personal risk was significant, and yet they persisted.

Because of their courage in the midst of the biggest overdose crisis this province has ever seen, the BCCLA and Ms. Prosser Wade are proud to recognize their important contributions in any way we can.

2) Lifetime Achievement Award for Contributions to Human Rights and Civil Liberties:

The BCCLA is very pleased to honour the decades of service of Dr. Richard Rosenberg with a special Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr. Rosenberg is a Professor Emeritus of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia, and a member of the BC Civil Liberties Association for nearly thirty years. His work focused on the implications of the internet for such important civil liberties areas as privacy and anonymity, free speech, access, and ethics.

Richard has focused his work on the developments of national and international privacy policies, particularly with respect to electronic media, in Canada, the United States, and Europe as well as national and international approaches to the regulation of free speech on the Internet. As such, his work has been critical to promoting and protecting privacy rights.

The awards will be presented at the BCCLA’s Annual General Meeting on May 11 at the Vancouver Public Library.

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