2014 Annual Solidarity and Fundraising Dinner
This past June 7, CoDev celebrated its 2014 Annual Solidarity and Fundraising Dinner at the Maritime Labour Centre. Hundreds of guests enjoyed the good company of friends and colleagues while dining on delicious latin-themed fare. In the background guitarist Aquizamin Gracia played a range of latin favourites while enthusiastic supporters tried to outbid each other at the silent auction tables on items ranging from works by prominent artists to jewelry to vacation stays and so much more. A highlight of the evening as always, was the dessert auction featuring more than 30 cakes and desserts. Diners bid as a table with the highest bidding table having first pick at the dessert table.
The evening also provided CoDev with the opportunity to present its annual Solidarity Award. This year’s recipients were all involved in the five-year struggle to achieve justice for the temporary foreign workers from Latin America who worked on the Canada Line project. The case involved inequities in the treatment of workers with the Latin American workers receiving far lower compensation than their European counterparts. Award recipients include a group of individuals (including the workers themselves) and labour organizations who – through their collective action and commitment – achieved justice for those Latin American workers caught in the global exploitation of migrant and temporary workers. We congratulate all the recipients: Joe Barrett, who first identified the issue, Charles Gordon, a human rights attorney, Ignacio Sanchez, one of the 36 temporary foreign workers, the BC Building Trades and the Construction and Specialized Workers’ Union, Local 1611.
Joe Barrett had this to say, “From the Canada Line struggle I learned that solidarity among a crew of workers arises when the exploitation is clear and intolerable. It takes courage to put aside personal fears and a moral compass to put aside prospects of personal gain in favour of collective action.
And in what was to be Barbara Wood’s final Annual Dinner as Executive Director, she and Steve Stewart, Program Director, paid tribute to our Canadian partners by recognizing their connections and commitment to our Latin American partners. At each mention, representatives from the Canadian partners rose to the applause of their brothers and sisters in the audience.
It was also a night for goodbyes. The first was our Program Director, Carol Wood who for 11 years worked extensively to bring our Northern and Southern partners together, led numerous delegations that inspired the participant to lifelong activism, oversaw our popular film festival each year, and so much more.
It was Barbara’s final dinner because as many of you know, she is leaving CoDev after 15 years of dedicated service. In the coming weeks, we’ll have more on Barbara’s years as CoDev’s Executive Director. So stay tuned.