Speech for the first Jack Layton Broadbent Institute’s Progress Prize presentation

Jack Layton loved to organize.

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He believed when people come together and form strong relationships with each other, they have the power to make change happen. they have the power to transform lives and transform Canada.

When people organize, democracy and hope come alive and mountains can be moved.

Tonight I am honoured to present the first annual Jack Layton Progress Prize.

I know that Jack would have been incredibly pleased with the recipient of this award. Not only does it recognize and honour a campaign that has made a significant impact all across the country, but the award is being given to a cause that was near to Jack’s heart.

Nominated by the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, it is with great pleasure that I announce the winner of this award to the February 14th Women’s Memorial March Committee.

Every year for 25 years, on Valentines Day, a day of love, thousands come together at Vancouver Downtown Eastside to honour the lives of missing and murdered women.

They are led by the Memorial March Committee members, who are Indigenous women facing physical, mental, emotional and spiritual violence.

They find strength in numbers, they give voices and expression felt by Canadians across the country. The horror of the violence. The mourning. The anger. But there is also love and hope.

There is hope because we WILL continue to work for change. We WILL continue to demand a National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women.

May this Jack Layton Progress Prize strength to these strong, tenacious organizers.

Join me in welcoming Fay Blaney, chair of the February 14th Women’s Memorial March Committee, as she step forward to receive this award.

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