The Windsor winner of the inaugural $1,000 Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella Prize plans to donate that award to a scholarship fund for Black and Indigenous students in Windsor Law.
The Royal Society of Canada established the prize to honour Abella, the first Jewish woman appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada. It will be awarded annually to a student in each of the country’s 23 law schools who is most likely to positively influence equity and social justice in Canada or globally.
Tyrone Sequeira, a second-year student in the Dual JD program at the University of Windsor and the University of Detroit Mercy, was honoured for his leadership roles in support of marginalized communities.
Among his efforts are:
- a project that will see law students work with the Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society to educate children with incarcerated parents or family members about the visitation process, as well as potential legal paths and timelines;
- the establishment of the student-run Black and Indigenous scholarship fund, which is currently building an endowment and with his award donation, is about halfway to its $10,000 goal; and
- as the president-elect of the Student Law Society, the creation in that organization of a vice-president portfolio for equity and diversity.
“This award recognizes Justice Abella and her legacy of fighting against discrimination and for equality,” Sequeira said. “At Windsor, we are also celebrating the incredible Dean Bahdi, the new first Arab women and Palestinian to serve as a dean of law in Canada.
“It only seemed right to donate all the award money to the scholarship fund, considering the award and what it stands for.”
Dean of law Reem Bahdi called Sequeira a “shining light.”
“Tyrone’s vison and commitment to access to justice stand out even in a law school whose student body is dedicated to advancing justice,” she said. “I have no doubt that he will make an indelible contribution to the legal profession and society.”
Royal Society of Canada president Jeremy N. McNeil noted that its awards are named to honour prominent Canadians who have made lifetime contributions to a better country and a better world.
“We are very proud of the inaugural winners of the Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella Prize, who represent the values of equality and equity we need in our country as we move forward,” he said.