The initiative from the Office of Human Rights, Diversity and Equity (OHRDE) recognizes alumni, students, staff and faculty for advancing and promoting equity, inclusion and human rights on campus or in the community. The work of equity, diversity and inclusion isn’t something done solely by the OHRDE office. It’s a collective, shared responsibility.
"Congratulations to this year's I.D.E.A. Leaders for their exceptional efforts in advancing and promoting equity, inclusion and human rights," says Dr. Annette Trimbee, MacEwan's president and vice-chancellor. "It is truly inspiring to see the actions of these individuals having an impact at MacEwan and within the community."
One of this year's student recipients is Shivani Solanki, a fourth-year Bachelor of Science student majoring in psychology. In her time at MacEwan, she has been a senior volunteer for the Champions of Diversity & Equity (C.O.D.E.) program and co-founded the Human Rights Diversity and Equity (HuRDE) Club in the midst of the pandemic.
Her goal is to help others discover that there are many ways to advocate for human rights.
"When it comes to human rights and equity, diversity and inclusion, people might have an image in their head of what an advocate looks like — protesting at the Legislature building with posters and picket signs," says Solanki. "While that is one way, it's not the only way. Advocacy can take many forms."
Other ways Solanki says people can get involved include doing research and academic work, volunteering in the community, writing to local representatives and joining organizations (including looking at some of the groups within MacEwan like MAVEN, C.O.D.E. and HuRDE).
"For students wanting to take those baby steps into advocacy, think about joining HuRDE," says Solanki. "It's a safe space for discussion, and we're always open to new members and new ideas."
This year's I.D.E.A. Leader Award recipients certainly represent advocacy in many forms, and are making a difference in the community in their own unique ways.
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