U.S. Special Envoy Awarded Inaugural Rainbow Railroad Freedom Award
Jessica Stern, the U.S. Special Envoy to Advance the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons, is set to travel to Toronto, Canada on June 6, for a meeting with local community leaders and activists. The highlight of her trip will be a fireside chat where she will be speaking to local community and political leaders.
Stern’s visit to Toronto is highly anticipated, as she will be awarded the inaugural Freedom Award from Rainbow Railroad. The recognition comes as a result of her efforts in advocating for the rights of 2SLGBTQI+ persons both in Canada and around the world.
Rainbow Railroad is a non-profit organization that seeks to help LGBTQI+ persons around the world escape persecution and secure a safe passage to a country of asylum. The accolade, being in its first year, is presented to individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to supporting and advocating for the rights of LGBTQI+ individuals.
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Stern’s dedication to advancing respect and human rights for LGBTQI+ persons has led her to champion several initiatives that protect the community’s rights. She has actively pushed for equal rights and non-discrimination based on sexual orientation, as well as sought to eradicate hate crimes against the community.
In pursuit of promoting these principles, Stern has been at the forefront in addressing issues that affect the community, such as hate speech, criminalization, and harassment, among others. Her work has brought hope to many who still face persecution, often putting their lives on the line due to their sexual orientation.
During her trip, Stern is also scheduled to visit Ottawa, where she will hold bilateral meetings with members of Parliament, civil society leaders, and senior officials from Global Affairs Canada. The meetings will explore joint efforts to promote and protect the rights of LGBTQI+ persons in both countries.
Through bilateral meetings with local community leaders and civil society members, these discussions will play a critical role in shaping policies that support equal rights for LGBTQI+ persons. These dialogues offer an opportunity to identify and address issues affecting the community, ensuring that they are properly safeguarded.
With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic being felt globally, it has become more pertinent to ensure that LGBTQI+ persons are not left behind in the global recovery efforts. The pandemic has only served to exacerbate the already existing inequalities and injustices that this community faces; hence, it is essential to have mechanisms that foster equitable and inclusive recovery efforts.
Stern’s visit comes at a time when Canada is set to host the International LGBTQI+ Rights Summit later this year. The summit, which is taking place from August 25 to 27, 2021, aims to bring together leading voices and experts to address challenges impacting the global LGBTQI+ community.
Given the magnitude of the challenges faced by the community, this will be an excellent opportunity to address these issues and develop strategies that promote respect and human rights for all persons. The summit comes at a time when the community needs such discussions most, further emphasizing the need to have champions who speak out on their behalf.
In conclusion, Stern’s trip to Toronto and Ottawa is timely and reaffirms the United States’ commitment to advancing human rights for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation. The recognition from Rainbow Railroad is a testament to her unwavering commitment and dedication to the community, and it is hoped that her work continues to inspire others to advocate for the rights of LGBTQI+ persons.