Human Rights Awards Presented
Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission

Four individual Nova Scotians and two groups were recognized with Nova Scotia Human Rights Awards for their work creating a more equitable, inclusive and respectful province at an event today, December 8, in Halifax.

The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission presents the awards annually on or around international Human Rights Day (December 10) to recipients nominated by their peers.

“The principles enshrined in human rights law have the power to unite us in our pursuit of equity and the protection of one another’s inherent dignity,” said Joseph Fraser, Director and CEO, Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. “Today’s award recipients exemplify a commitment to empowering people that all Nova Scotians should aspire toward.”

The Nia Summit Youth Ambassadors received the youth award for their leadership in planning and hosting the 2023 Nia Summit and facilitating community-building among Black youth and youth of African ancestry.

Individual awards were presented to:

  • Veronica Merryfield, Marion Bridge, in recognition of her dedication to advancing equity and advocating for the rights of members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community
  • Sheila Wildeman, Halifax, in recognition of her advocacy for the human rights of incarcerated people and people with disabilities.

Tia Upshaw, Halifax, received an award named in honour of the late Burnley Allan (Rocky) Jones for championing racial equality and fostering economic empowerment for women of colour.

Pamela Glode-Desrochers, Halifax, was presented the Wel-lukwen Award in recognition of her leadership and advocacy, locally and nationally, for the rights of urban communities of L’nu and other Indigenous people.

The Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland Nova Scotia received the group/organization award for its work to advance the rights and prevent the criminalization of women, girls and gender-diverse individuals.

Quick Facts:

  • the presentation of this year’s awards coincides with Premier Tim Houston’s proclamation of December 3-10 as Nova Scotia Human Rights Week
  • the Nova Scotia Human Rights Awards are presented annually to recognize the important work of community organizers, grassroots advocates, activists, researchers, educators and others who demonstrate a commitment to advancing human rights
  • recipients are selected by a committee from nominations that are submitted by their peers
  • Wel-lukwen (Well-loog-wen) is a Mi’kmaw word which loosely translates to “Congratulations, you are doing extremely well. Your work does not go unrecognized.”

Additional Resources:

Nova Scotia Human Rights Week:

More information about this year’s award recipients is available at:

The awards ceremony can be viewed at: