Brandon East NDP MLA Drew Caldwell presents Margaret Black, wife of the late Errol Black, with the Marquis Project’s Global Citizenship Award at the Brandon University Students’ Union Building on Saturday afternoon. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
Errol Black is still collecting awards even after his passing.
The Brandon University professor, New Democrat, unapologetic socialis and former city councillor was awarded the Global Citizenship Award on Saturday by the Marquis Project — the Brandon-based international development organization.
Black was honoured for his lifetime contribution to the cause of social justice and democracy. His work was part of the wider global movement of international trade unionism, social democratic politics and progressive community organization.
When Black’s wife, Margaret, accepted the award on his behalf, she was barely able to get through five words before the emotion rendered her speechless.
"I’m very proud of what he did, but it’s tough," she said after the presentation. "He was involved in so many things … all these organizations that he worked hard for."
After a long battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Black passed away in September leaving behind his sons Sean, Dennis and Thomas, and many grandchildren, including Kyla Shoemaker, who was on hand during the Marquis presentation.
"The way he lived his life was all-encompassing of what he stood for, as far as social justice and the wider global community and working just to make it a better place for everybody," Shoemaker said.
Brandon East NDP MLA Drew Caldwell presented Margaret with the award, outlining some Black’s contributions to social justice on an international scale.
"He was always a great friends of the Marquis Project right from its inception," Caldwell said. "Errol and (the Black) family support socialist politics … progressive community organizations like the Marquis Project and other organizations in our community."
The Marquis Project, one of only a handful of organizations of its kind, began in 1979 in Brandon, with Black there right from the beginning.
"It’s a pity he’s not here to celebrate," Caldwell said. "But his family is very important, they nurtured this man’s life and I think today, in recognizing Errol, it gave the community a chance to recognize his wife, margaret, his sons, his grandkids, because while he did have a global perspective on things, family in Brandon fundamentally kept him in grounded here."
The afternoon Marquis Project open house celebrated the end of International Development Week. The week featured local events all across Canada that pay tribute to the thousands of Canadians who devote themselves to improving lives of those in the developing world.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition February 11, 2013