By Lincoln DePradine
The remembrance continues for Bromley Lloyd Armstrong, the late Jamaican-Canadian trade union and human rights leader, with nominations being accepted for annual awards in his name to be presented in June.
The Annual Bromley L. Armstrong Awards are for “individual and union excellence’’, with the winners to be “recognized for their tireless work in the areas of equity, inclusion and human rights’’, according to organizers of the annual event.
This year is the 18th edition of the awards that are presented by The Toronto & York Region Labour Council and Labour Community Services.
Armstrong, who arrived in Toronto in December 1947 from Jamaica, was at the forefront of public campaigns against discrimination including “sit-ins” at restaurants in Dresden, Ontario, where restaurant service was being denied to African-Canadians.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Armstrong and another person, Ruth Lor Malloy, exposed a systemic policy in which landlords in Toronto refused renting to Black people and other minorities. Eventually, a series of anti-discrimination laws were passed in Canada.
Armstrong’s involvement in Canadian life, spanning more than 70 years, also included serving as an adjudicator with the Ontario Labour Relations Board; establishing and publishing a newspaper; and participating in a delegation that visited Ottawa in 1954 to protest the federal government’s restrictive immigration policy that closed the door of entry to Canada for people of African descent and other visible minorities. The delegation was led by the late Barbados-born Donald Moore, who died in 1994. He was 102.
Armstrong, whose awards included an honourary doctor of laws degree from York University, died August 17, 2018. He was 92.
Officials of the Toronto & York Region Labour Council and Labour Community Services say that for the Armstrong Awards, they’re interested in nominees that are labour activists involved in “championing human rights and fostering diversity in their community’’. Awardees, they added, will be “celebrated for their exemplary leadership, unwavering dedication and advocacy in the pursuit of social justice, equity, and human rights’’.
The awards were established in 2005 to commemorate Armstrong’s “courage, dedication and outstanding service to the labour and human rights movements in Canada’’. The 2023 awards’ ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday, June 14.
The final day for the submission of nominations is Friday, April 14. Nominations can be submitted online or by mail: Bromley L. Armstrong Award for Individual Excellence Nomination Form; Bromley L. Armstrong Award for Union Excellence Nomination Form; Bromley L. Armstrong Award for Individual Excellence Nomination Form – PDF; Bromley L. Armstrong Award for Union Excellence Nomination Form – PDF