“Honoured, humbled, grateful, overjoyed.”
Those are the words Allison Hector-Alexander, director of the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and transitions at DC, used to describe receiving the Madiba Award.
The award was given out Feb. 2 at the Annual Durham Black History Month Celebration in Ajax. It is awarded to a community leader of African descent who embodies the characteristics of Nelson Mandela, the South African activist and former president.
“The legacy of Nelson Mandela is one that is revered and respected by not only the Black community but by many,” said Hector-Alexander. “To be recognized in the spirit of his fight, tenacity, humbleness, and recognition of freedom and rights for everyone is the epitome of a lifetime goal.”
Hector-Alexander was born on the island of Dominica in the Caribbean but said her research shows her ancestors could have been from Ghana.
Leesa McLeish-Diaz, the Student Success intake clerk and DC alumni, sits on the Durham Black History committee and nominated her colleague for the award.
“I think she’s an amazing woman,” said McLeish-Diaz. “It’s an inspiration to work with someone like her and the experiences she’s had within different working relationships and different experiences outside of the college.”
Hector-Alexander launched the Black Students Success Network, developed DC’s policy, training and programming to support its sexual violence mandate, and pushed to have all-gender washrooms on campus.
Hector-Alexander said she found her “niche” in diversity, equity, and inclusion work almost 10 years ago and got into the field to help others.
“It’s an inspiration to work with another black woman,” said McLeish-Diaz.”To be able to have black women and black men in different positions of power is such an inspiration.”