Joe TheriaultBrother Joe Theriault is a long-time champion for racial justice. A former co-chair of CUPE’s National Rainbow Committee, he is this year’s recipient of the Ed Blackman Award.

A member of CUPE 380 for the past 33 years, Theriault has been standing up for the rights of Black and racialized workers. His priority has always been to ensure that other Black, Indigenous and racialized members felt welcome, safe and included. He continues to fight precarity, discrimination and racial trauma, and to mentor young workers in his workplace and his community.

“I have experienced what some are afraid to acknowledge existed then and continues to exist now. Yes, racism. Racism was all around me and I chose the path of resilience. I encourage all of you to move forward from blame and shame, from denial and defensiveness. It’s time to understand, which leads to action,” said Theriault.

The Ed Blackman Award is presented to a CUPE member who strengthens the labour movement by being committed to activism on racial justice, providing leadership, and dismantling barriers to greater participation for racialized workers.