Creative Communications student Tamika Reid has been named the inaugural recipient of Red River College’s new Richard Asher Webb Social Justice Activist Memorial Award — a distinction that recognizes her work writing, designing and marketing a children’s book that raises awareness of disabilities and inclusion rights.
Established in memory of Webb, an RRC alum and longtime community activist, the award is given annually to a student who demonstrates exceptional effort and/or the ability to lead, organize and engage students or members of the community in embodying the values of equity, diversity, inclusion, multiculturalism and social justice.
It was a unanimous decision from the judging panel that Reid’s project — and her enthusiasm for creating solutions to social justice issues — made her the most deserving candidate.
“Winning this award means that my efforts in addressing the inclusion gap in children's literature area worthy cause,” says Reid (shown above, with book). “It acknowledges the stories of diverse people that need to be told.”
Reid’s book, Sweet without Sugar, is about a young girl who has autism and relies on a stuffed animal to feel comfortable. When her toy is damaged, the girl spends the day trying new things and discovers she can comfortably have fun without it. Reid’s book is part of the Literary Inclusion Project, which she founded as an initiative that responds to the intellectual disability topic gap in children’s literature.
The book also incorporates artwork of students that attend an after-school program run by the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg. Reid’s experience working with that program, and taking CreComm at RRC, helped her carve out a clear path for her professional career, where she works in communications for local non-profit organizations.
“CreComm has equipped me with the skill set to create promotional and strategic content that I can apply to activist efforts,” she says. “This award will help me continue studies in communications, politics, ethics and culture. Studying these subjects will make me knowledgeable about the complex factors in society that cause discrimination and systemic disadvantages. With this knowledge, I can continue to address these factors throughout my professional career in communications.”
Reid hopes to make the project an ongoing initiative by visiting elementary schools to read the book to children, and by raising funds through its proceeds to continue advocating for the inclusion of people living with an intellectual disability.