Local lawyer's HIV/AIDS advocacy recognized by HEU-sponsored award

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A local lawyer specializing in human rights and poverty law has posthumously won an HEU-sponsored award for Social, Political & Community Action at the AccolAIDS 2006 awards gala, honouring heroes in the BC AIDS movement.

Through her work at the British Columbia Persons with AIDS Society (BCPWA), Tarel Quandt leaves an impressive legacy of accomplishments. Over the past eight years, she advocated for people with AIDS (PWAs) to access income assistance; receive better health care, including proper nutrition and vitamins; and led BCPWA’s Treatment Information and Advocacy Department.

In 2001, Quandt’s tireless work led to the establishment of BC’s Monthly Nutritional Supplement Benefit, subsidizing PWAs on income assistance. Last year, that benefit was also extended to include children.

Quandt, who died in February at age 40 after a three-year battle with cancer, fought for social justice through her work as an AIDS activist and a lawyer. She chaired the Social Planning and Research Council of BC and contributed to HIV/AIDS Policy and Law Review.

“BCPWA activists – like Tarel Quandt – have been front and centre in the fight for the human rights of people living with HIV and AIDS,” said HEU’s president Fred Muzin in introducing the award at Vancouver’s Pan Pacific Hotel on May 7.

“HEU is committed to social activism and community alliance building to advance progressive change,” said Muzin. “Victory in the war against HIV and AIDS in Canada and internationally will be rooted in our capacity to engage in effective communication and social and political action.”

This is HEU’s third year sponsoring an AccolAIDS award, benefiting BCPWA.