Indigenous woman Joyce Echaquan posthumously awarded Rosa Parks prize in Quebec

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An Indigenous woman who died in a Quebec hospital last September shortly after she livestreamed degrading comments from hospital workers has been awarded a prize recognizing people who foster inclusion and social justice.

Joyce Echaquan's death gained international attention and prompted a call for action as a result of the video filmed from her hospital bed, showing her in distress as two staff members disregarded her calls for help.

Echaquan’s husband, Carol Dube, accepted the prize, named after U.S. civil rights activist Rosa Parks, from a Quebec group that works to build solidarity with Africa.

Dube noted in an April 14 thank-you letter that he takes comfort in knowing his wife's actions fuelled a desire for social justice, saying he and the couple's children were deeply moved to have Echaquan’s name associated with Parks.

Echaquan, who was from the Atikamekw community of Manawan north of Montreal, was the fifth recipient of the prize awarded by the Union des Africains du Quebec et amis solidaires de l'Afrique.

The group's president, Ali Dahan, said Echaquan was an obvious choice, as she had the courage to document systemic racism from her hospital bed, raising awareness of Indigenous issues in Quebec and around the world.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on April 19, 2021.

The Canadian Press