Joyce Echaquan posthumously awarded International Rosa Parks Prize
MONTREAL -- The late Joyce Echaquan, an Indigenous woman who died last September in a Quebec hospital after filming staff insulting her, has been posthumously awarded the International Rosa Parks Prize.
Her husband, Carol Dube, accepted the award on her behalf from L’Union des Africains du Québec et amis solidaires de l’Afrique (UAQASA). In a letter published last week, Dube thanked the organization for “the immense honour” bestowed on his wife whose death raised alarm bells about systemic racism in Quebec.
Her death, which was captured on video and circulated widely on social media, sparked outrage and a march in Montreal under the banner "Justice for Joyce."
The award praised Echaquan for her “courage to film from her hospital bed in Joliette (QC, Canada) and to send on social networks the horror she lived before dying in order to break the Omerta, the Law of Silence.”
Dube, in his thank-you letter, wrote that everyone needs symbols in life and that his wife’s final act shows ordinary people can be agents of change.
“Me, my seven children, our parents and our families are moved and proud to see Joyce’s name associated with Ms. Rosa Parks, an emblematic figure of the civil rights movement, as well as previous recipients of this award,” he wrote.
His remarks come less than a month before a coroner’s public inquiry into Echaquan’s death is set to begin at the Joliette courthouse.
The hearings, scheduled for May 10 to 27, will not rule on criminal or civil liability for her death, rather they will determine the cause of death and may lead to recommendations for preventing similar deaths in the future.