The eleventh annual respect. Award recipients were announced during the Diversity Thunder Bay Annual celebration event, marking the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Two respect. Awards are presented annually, one for an individual and one for a local organization or business.

Carolyn Karle, founder of the DEK Foundation was presented a respect. Award for her outstanding efforts to improve the lives of individuals and families battling addiction, and to help stop stigma related to mental health and substance use. Carolyn has brought to light the barriers that members of our community face in their struggles with addiction, mental health and in accessing resources to support them in their recovery. Carolyn works tirelessly to advocate for appropriate supports and responses to the ongoing opioid crisis.

Roots Community Food Centre uses food as a tool to connect people to one another and build belonging and dignity through meaningful programs, initiatives and advocacy. Since 2012, Roots has embodied the importance of prioritizing and respecting human dignity throughout their work. For Roots, promoting attitudes, beliefs and behaviours that recognize the importance of respect and supporting human dignity is not an “add on”- it’s “the way”.  It’s at the core of how they support individuals, and they approach their work in partnership with community organizations.

“We are so pleased to honour two very deserving recipients with this year’s respect. Award for their empowerment of others, and by leading with compassion, dedication and respect,” said Jeff Upton, Chair of Community Safety & Well-Being Thunder Bay, and a member of the respect. Working Group.

“Congratulations for dedicating so much of their time and energy towards fostering compassion, dignity, equity and inclusion, and for their service to our community.”

A special video featuring this year’s recipients can be viewed at

respect. is an Initiative of the City of Thunder Bay’s Anti-Racism & Equity Advisory Committee and Community Safety & Well-Being Thunder Bay. The respect. Awards are sponsored by Diversity Thunder Bay. Currently there are over 90 local organizations that have committed to respect. Other organizations in the community are invited to sign up and be a part of this initiative.