Skip to main content
Defenders for Human Rights

Other Human Rights Defenders

The purpose of Speak Truth to Power Canada is to share the personal journeys of some of the many Canadian human rights defenders working today. As lesson plans are thematic and many Canadians assume the responsibility to advance human rights, every lesson plan also includes community-based defenders. It is hoped that your students may be inspired to identify themselves as human rights defenders and take positive action to support human rights in their own life and community. Perhaps your students will become community defenders themselves.

Chelsea Noel

Chelsea Noel is working through their student community at Memorial University’s Grenfell Campus to promote acceptance of the LGBTTQ community. Involuntarily raised female, Noel identifies as genderqueer – not exclusively male or female – and with “they” pronouns. Having faced severe discrimination because of their identity, Noel struggled with substance abuse until they were sexually assaulted while intoxicated, and art drew them to sobriety and activism. A strong believer in solidarity, Noel works with Grenfell’s student community to raise awareness and hope, and expresses much of their activism through art. In 2014, the Egale Human Rights Trust recognized Noel’s story and work as part of their national Hear My Story campaign.

  • Gender and Sexual Diversity

Mary-Woo Sims

Born in Hong Kong in 1956, Mary-Woo Sims first moved to Canada in 1970, and became a Canadian citizen in 1978. She is a social justice activist, politician, and former chief commissioner of the British Columbia Human Rights Commission. A strong advocate for lesbian, gay and same-sex spousal rights, Sims spent her time in both Vancouver and Toronto, where her involvement in a number of community activist initiatives included the Campaign for Equal Families, the WAVAV Rape Crisis Centre, the Ontario Employment Equity Tribunal, and the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services. She now is a partner at Ardent Consulting Canada, which specializes in positive organizational change.
  • Gender and Sexual Diversity
  • Human Dignity
  • Labour Rights