New Brunswick Human Rights Commission

Pioneer of Human Rights Award to be presented to Rev. Brent Hawkes (09/09/11)

NB 1326

Sept. 11, 2009

WOODSTOCK (CNB) - Rev. Brent Hawkes will be presented with the Pioneer of Human Rights Award at a ceremony in Woodstock on Sept. 16.


"We are proud to present Rev. Hawkes with this award because of his leadership in advancing equal rights for gays and same-sex couples," said Gordon Porter, chair of the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission. "He has worked courageously and tirelessly to increase awareness, understanding and acceptance for this community, and the Human Rights Commission is pleased to recognize his pioneer work in this area."

Hawkes will receive the award for his work for and contributions to the advancement of human rights for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender/two-spirited (GLBT) community.

"The road to equality for GLBT people has been long and difficult at times, but all of society is now benefiting from it," said Hawkes. "Canada is now setting an example for the world, and I am proud of the leadership that it has been showing."

Hawkes was Born in Bath in 1950. He graduated from Mount Allison University with bachelor of arts and bachelor of education degrees, earned a masters of divinity degree, and then earned a doctorate from Trinity College in Toronto. He became pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto in 1977, and guided its expansion its commitment to social justice. A member of the Order of Canada, he has been at the forefront of ministering to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in Toronto for more than 30 years. In 2001, he officiated at the world's first legal same-sex marriages, in Toronto.

At 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 17, at the University of New Brunswick faculty of education in Fredericton, Hawkes will give a public lecture about his life and experiences. He will also speak to the Saint John Human Development Council, to students at St. Thomas University, and at high schools in Fredericton, Hampton, Saint John and Woodstock.

The Pioneer of Human Rights Award is presented by the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission to recognize pioneers in the protection and promotion of human rights for their historic contributions to human rights in Canada. The award is not presented every year, but is given only when an appropriate recipient is identified. Since its creation in 2002, the award has been presented to Louis J. Robichaud, a former premier of New Brunswick; Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker of the Senate and the founding chair of the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission; Gordon Fairweather, the first chief commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission; and the Asper Foundation, a Canadian philanthropic group that pioneered a human rights and holocaust studies program for Canadian students.

The award ceremony for the Pioneer of Human Rights Award, as well the 2009 Human Rights Award ceremony, will be held from 3:30 p.m. to 4:35 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 16, at Connell House, 128 Connell Street, Woodstock. A reception will follow.

More information on the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission may be found online.


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Joubert, communications, New Brunswick Human Rights Commission, 506-444-3207.