Champions For Change Awards & Women’s Day Event
In honour of International Women’s Month, Surrey Women’s Centre is pleased to host the Champions For Change Awards & Women’s Day Event.
Through our Champions For Change Awards, we will acknowledge visionary leaders Kasari Govender (BC’s Human Rights Commissioner) and Tracy Porteous (Executive Director, Ending Violence Association of BC) for their tireless efforts to create possibilities of a gender equitable world.
We will also have a short interactive dialogue with our award recipients to discuss the challenges and opportunities we face, as we strive to close the gender gap and work to eliminate gender-based violence.
Kasari Govender took office as B.C.’s first independent Human Rights Commissioner on September 3, 2019. Her role is to lead the promotion and protection of human rights in British Columbia through the Office of the Human Rights Commissioner. Govender has devoted her life to promoting human rights, with a focus on the rights of those most marginalized and vulnerable. From 2008 until 2019, Govender held leadership positions at West Coast LEAF, including as Executive Director from 2011.
Earlier work includes pivotal roles in establishing the Rise Women’s Legal Centre , a non-profit legal clinic in British Columbia. Govender earned her law degree from the University of Victoria and her Master’s Degree in International Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford, U.K . She has taught as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of British Columbia and as an instructor at Simon Fraser University. In 2019, her work was recognized by the Women Lawyer’s Forum with their Award of Excellence. In addition to her role as Human Rights Commissioner, Govender is a mother, an aunt, a daughter and a sister.
Tracy is a leader in the Canadian anti-violence sector having worked for the last 39 years addressing gender-based violence, creating services for survivors and their families, developing policy and best practices for service providers, contributing to legislative advancement, and cross-sectoral training and collaboration.
In 2020, Tracy was inducted into the Order of British Columbia and was also bestowed an Honorary Doctorate from the University of British Columbia. Tracy is a three-time Governor General of Canada medal recipient, was a member of BC’s Domestic Violence Death Review Panels, has testified to federal Parliamentary committees, spoken as a Canadian delegate at the United Nations, is a member of the National Domestic Homicide Prevention Committee as well as the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability.
Tracy co-launched the ground-breaking, award winning Be More Than a Bystander: Break the Silence on Gender-Based Violence campaign with the BC Lions Football Club. Tracy is currently the Executive Director of the Ending Violence Association of BC, a provincial association supporting over 300 anti-violence programs and initiatives across BC that respond to sexual and domestic violence, child abuse, and criminal and sexual harassment. Tracy is also Co-Chair of the Ending Violence Association of Canada.