Donna Smith, member of CUPE Local 4828, was presented with the Activist Award during the virtual annual convention of CUPE Saskatchewan on March 11, 2021. The annual award recognizes CUPE members who display outstanding dedication in representing their fellow members and advancing greater economic fairness and social justice.
“Pride in diversity is both a motto and foundation of a life’s work to which this distinguished activist has committed decades of her life to progress, inspiring others through example,” said Judy Henley, President of CUPE Saskatchewan, in making the award presentation during convention.
“I feel like I always had one foot in the labour movement and one foot in the equality movement,” said Donna Smith, who joined by video conference to receive the award. “CUPE has given me opportunities to work on a national level to make change and, for that, I will always be grateful.”
Throughout her decades of activism for equality, Donna Smith founded the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour’s Solidarity and Pride Committee and served as its first chair. Comprised of representatives from unions across the province, the committee has a mandate to organize and advance equality in the workplace, the trade union movement and society for all LGBTQ+ people.
In recognition of activism dedicated to campaigning on marriage equality and rights of LGBTQ+ comrades in our community, Smith was honored with the Regina Pride Award in 2001 and the Award of Distinction from the Regina and District Labour Council in 2011. Among many other ground-breaking efforts to advance social justice, Smith was also instrumental in organizing the Regina Women’s March since its beginning and currently sits on the YWCA Advocacy Committee.
“We all understand the fragility of all rights, and we know we need to stand together when we are fighting for our rights and for the rights of others,” reminded Smith. “The struggle continues, but an equitable future is possible. Stay strong comrades and stay safe!”
Retirement will likely not slow down a life-long activist and committed trade unionist in the march for justice.
“Even though I will be retiring this summer, I will always continue to be an activist on some level,” concluded Smith.
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