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Thomas Russell 2012 Respect Award Recipient

Thomas Russell 2012 Respect Award Winner - opens new windowIt takes courage to stand up for what you believe in and fight for the rights of others. It takes a champion and a leader to act on it and develop a program that changes the culture of community.

The City of Thunder Bay’s first-ever respect. Award was presented to Thomas Russell, Administrator Wellness and Diversity – Student Union of Confederation College Inc. Thomas championed the development of the positive respect. initiative and has continued to be the respect. champion.

The respect. Award is given to an individual, business or organization who promotes the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours that recognize the importance of human dignity and provides leadership to foster respectful behavior. The award recognizes demonstrated leadership in enhancing diversity and respect for others.

“His belief in the respect. principles and his passionate presentations have provided motivation for students, staff and community members,” said Dr. Amy Siciliano, Phd, Coordinator – respect. and Crime Prevention Council. “respect. has now been adopted by other colleges across Canada and is spreading across Thunder Bay.”

Thomas was a part of the Confederation College team that conceived of, introduced and promoted respect. to the College Community in 2006.  respect. was launched in response to a concern that inappropriate behavior (swearing, racist talk, sexual jokes, bullying) was increasing and the College community needed to come together to address the issue.

respect., and the respect. principles, provided the College community with a common language with which to address the hurtful behaviours and words. Focusing on positive messages and images, respect. reminded everyone how they prefer to be treated and how they should be treating others.

When looking for an initiative that would improve community relations in Thunder Bay, the City approached Confederation College because of the success of respect. in the College community.

With the College’s enthusiastic support, Thomas worked with the Anti-racism Advisory Committee and the Crime Prevention Council to build a City-wide campaign. His availability to provide advice and support and his ongoing mentoring helped with the successful roll-out of respect. across Thunder Bay.

The respect. Award is sponsored by Diversity Thunder Bay.