Ottawa, December 10, 2018 – The Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario (AFO) is honoured to receive the Rosa Parks 105th Anniversary Award, presented today at the Centennial of Nelson Mandela Symposium on Living Together and Peace, organized by the Union des Africains du Québec et Amis solidaires de L’Afrique (UAQASA – Union of Québec Africans and Friends in Solidarity with Africa).
The AFO is privileged to be a part of this event, which salutes many brave men and women who put their heart and soul into the battle to protect human rights, each in their own area of activity.
“The Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario is honoured to receive the Rosa Parks 105th Anniversary Award, which commemorates a leader who showed great courage in the fight to ensure respect for rights, justice and equality,” declared the AFO’s president, Carol Jolin.
This award comes at a significant time. The AFO is currently confronting a situation of injustice, as the Government of Ontario has recently deprived the Office of the French Language Services Commission of its independence by placing it under the mantle of the Ontario Ombudsman. Moreover, funding for the Université de l’Ontario français will end on January 15. This threatens the very existence of this post-secondary institution, which is the only university in Ontario that is governed by and for Francophones.
Like Rosa Parks and Nelson Mandela, Franco-Ontarians are fighting for the respect and preservation of their rights – linguistic rights, in this case – in Canada, a country in which they are a founding nation.
The AFO hopes that this award will encourage the Government of Ontario to recognize the importance of respecting and strengthening the freedom of Ontario’s Francophones to speak their language, to be educated and to live their lives in French.