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Memorial Leadership Award winner says feminism is for everybody

Brenda Dennis (left) a member of the board of directors of the Bay St. George Status of Women Council, poses for a photo with Daryl Oakley after naming him recipient of the Stephanie Cormier Chaisson Memorial Leadership Award.
Brenda Dennis (left) a member of the board of directors of the Bay St. George Status of Women Council, poses for a photo with Daryl Oakley after naming him recipient of the Stephanie Cormier Chaisson Memorial Leadership Award. - Frank Gale

Daryl Oakley has seen the strong women in his family face physical or mental abuse. It is that strength that gave them the ability to rise above it.

“I just hope that in the future women no longer have to rise above it because that abuse doesn’t exist,” he said in an interview shortly after being named recipient of the Stephanie Cormier Chaisson Memorial Leadership Award.

Cormier Chaisson was a devoted mother and dedicated worker described as a born leader. As president of the parent committee of Ecole Notre-Dame-du-Cap in Cape St. George, she was an inspiration to teachers and students.

Oakley is a second-year community studies student originally from Dartmouth, N.S., who has been living in Newfoundland for four years. He was named for the award at the Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Stephenville last week.

While presenting the award, Brenda Dennis, a member of the Bay St. George Status of Women Council board of directors, she said Oakley is a true leader who understands the concepts of leadership.

Oakley volunteered on several committees in various capacities, including the Community Youth Network and student council.

He said while it was a great honour to receive the award on the National Day of Remembrance, it’s also a shame that after 28 years since 14 women were killed in Montreal, there’s still violence against women.

“This is a huge problem and one that needs to be fixed. Feminism is for everybody and nobody should be subjected to physical or mental violence, especially in 2017,” Oakley said.

He said it’s time for a change.

Oakley said what inspires him being in the community studies program at College of North Atlantic is there are such strong women instructors and classmates.

“They’re supportive and they too recognize that there is no need for violence,” he said.

In addition, he wished his mom – Helen Oakley – was there to witness him receive it as she was big into feminism.

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