Immigrant-Rights Activist Uzma Shakir Awarded Atkinson Fellowship

    TORONTO, Nov. 23 /CNW/ - Engaging new immigrants in shaping what Canada's
future should look like will be the focus of Uzma Shakir's Atkinson Economic
Justice Fellowship. Announced today in Toronto, the Award will provide up to
$100,000 per year for 3 years to support Ms. Shakir's community-based work
around immigration, multiculturalism and social inclusion.
    "A stronger, more inclusive Canada is a dream that is worth fighting for.
But for it to become a reality, today's immigrants and refugees must be among
the architects that help shape the Canada of tomorrow. That is why we must
find meaningful ways to bridge existing social divides on race, religion,
gender and class," said Uzma Shakir, the Atkinson Foundation's newest Economic
Justice Fellow.
    Ms. Shakir is a leading advocate for newcomer communities and an
authority on issues such as poverty, access to professions and trades, legal
educational services and the erosion of civil liberties. She is winding up a
successful tenure as Executive Director of the South Asian Legal Clinic of
Ontario (SALC), which has recently secured permanent provincial funding.
    "Addressing the scope of social and economic exclusion experienced by new
immigrants requires fresh approaches, innovative thinking and determined
leadership. Leadership by people like Uzma Shakir. This highly respected
community advocate will strive to engage all Canadians in how we can shape a
better future for everyone in our communities." said Peter A. Armstrong,
President of the Board of Trustees of the Atkinson Charitable Foundation.
    Atkinson Economic Justice Fellowships support social change leaders to
continue to think and act for a more just future for all Canadians. A "tap on
the shoulder" is the method for selection. Applications are not accepted.
Previous winners include progressive economist Armine Yalnizyan, former
premier Roy Romanow and housing activist Cathy Crowe.
    "Our Founder, Joseph E. Atkinson, was an outspoken champion of new
Canadians. He relentlessly stood up for minority rights in the face of racism,
bigotry and discrimination. That struggle continues today. We believe that
Atkinson's vision of economic and social dignity for all Canadians will be
well championed by the newest Economic Justice Fellow," said Charles E.
Pascal, Executive Director of the Atkinson Charitable Foundation.

    The Atkinson Charitable Foundation, a private Canadian foundation
established in 1942, seeks to promote social and economic justice in the
tradition of its founder, former Star Publisher Joseph E. Atkinson.

For further information:

For further information: Charles Pascal, Executive Director, Atkinson
Charitable Foundation, (416) 869-4022; Pedro Barata, Atkinson Foundation
Communications, (416) 302-7524 (cel)

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