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CHEERS on this International Women’s Day to Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.’s chief public health officer, and Marion Dowling, the province’s chief of nursing, for their relentless work on keeping Islanders safe and informed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their jobs have been challenging for the past year but especially this past week-and-a-half with the sudden switch to red alert public health measures that, at times, involved more than one public health briefing in the same day. Let’s hope all the hard work pays off as more and more Islanders get immunized.
CHEERS to Debbie Langston who is wrapping up her two-year terms as chairperson of the P.E.I. Advisory Council on the Status of Women. During a particularly tumultuous year as COVID-19 made long-term planning and gathering in person all but impossible, she worked with the council and staff addressing many issues concerning not only women but all Islanders. She promoted racial justice as part of the Black Lives Matter and Indigenous Lives Matter movements and issued advice on issues like residential tenancy, poverty and justice issues. We wish her all the best.
CHEERS to Jenna Mae Ellsworth who, one year ago this week, won the bronze medal at the U Sports women’s basketball championship with her UPEI Panthers teammates. That same month, the then 21-year-old Charlottetown native earned the Nan Copp Award as U Sports player of the year. A talented athlete, the UPEI student is also known for her leadership, thoughtfulness and serious work ehtic. Ellsworth most recently won intercollegiate female athlete of the year at the Sport P.E.I. Amateur Sport Awards. Well deserved.
CHEERS to Catherine MacLellan who is nominated in eight categories at the rescheduled Music P.E.I. Awards, which will take place March 26-28 in Charlottetown. The Summerside singer-songwriter is also a finalists in three categories of the Canadian Folk Music Awards in April and has earned four nods at the East Coast Music Awards taking place in May. MacLellan, who is promoting her eighth album, Coyote, told The Guardian not being able to perform live due to COVID-19 restrictions has been hard. “I definitely went through an emotional, psychological crisis. Who am I if I don’t have my job because my job is me." We are also looking forward to seeing MacLellan back on the stage.
CHEERS to Reequal Smith, an emerging dancer/choreographer and the woman behind P.E.I.’s only Black-owned dance company, Oshun Dance Studios, who will be presenting her showcase, Calypso Secrets, at The Guild in Charlottetown on March 13 at 8 p.m. Performed by an ensemble of four dancers, a vocalist and a drummer, Smith’s choreography aims to celebrate the power, beauty, sexuality and strength of women, acknowledging the goddesses living inside each woman – a powerful message in the week where a day has been set aside to celebrate women everywhere.