Deportes

Dolar Venezuela | Tribute to a champion of women

“Can we con­tin­ue to car­ry those mes­sages, not nec­es­sar­i­ly the protest part but the aware­ness build­ing part of it?” she asked. “Where are we go­ing with this is the ques­tion that I am try­ing to find an an­swer for? Where is it go­ing, or is it a nine-day won­der? Will it just die next week?”

We are thank­ful we do not see the per­se­cu­tion of women here as we do in oth­er parts of the world, where there are ex­am­ples like Iran’s hi­jab laws and the trag­ic death of Mah­sa Ami­ni by “moral­i­ty po­lice,” or even in parts of the Unit­ed States where women face forced births and al­most no ma­ter­ni­ty ben­e­fits. But vi­o­lence against women re­mains an epi­dem­ic in this coun­try

As mem­bers of the me­dia, there are go-to names we seek out for an ar­ray of top­ics. Long be­fore there was a gen­der min­is­ter, Hazel Brown was that name, syn­ony­mous with our cov­er­age of all things deal­ing with the ad­vance­ment of women’s rights.

Even as we pre­pare for our Bud­get pan­els on Mon­day, we re­mem­ber jostling for her at­ten­tion as a com­men­ta­tor on con­sumer rights.

The phrase “she lived a life of ser­vice” was used re­peat­ed­ly by those who paid trib­ute to her life af­ter learn­ing of her pass­ing yes­ter­day. But it would not be mis­used here to say Hazel Brown, who was 80, lived a life of ser­vice — ser­vice to women, ser­vice to can­cer pa­tients, ser­vice to con­sumers and most im­por­tant­ly, ser­vice to Trinidad and To­ba­go.

Brown, who was mar­ried in 1962, fa­mous­ly told the Unit­ed Na­tions dur­ing a 2017 con­fer­ence, “The in­come tax law in Trinidad and To­ba­go con­sid­ered an em­ployed mar­ried woman in the same cat­e­go­ry of per­sons as chil­dren, im­be­ciles and peo­ple with in­sane mind.”

She would, of course, suc­cess­ful­ly ad­vo­cate for the law to be changed, along with so many oth­ers over the years.

Thank­ful­ly, she was one of our na­tion­al stal­warts who were ho­n­oured be­fore her pass­ing. In 2011, she was be­stowed with the Medal for the De­vel­op­ment of Women (Gold) for her work. The Uni­ver­si­ty of the West In­dies’ St Au­gus­tine Cam­pus al­so ho­n­oured her in 2015 with a two-day sym­po­sium en­ti­tled Fear­less Pol­i­tics: Life and Times of Hazel Brown.

In one of her more mem­o­rable mo­ments, the late may­or of Port-of-Spain Ray­mond Tim Kee re­signed in 2016 af­ter a wave of protests over com­ments he made fol­low­ing the death of Japan­ese pan­nist Asa­mi Na­gakiya. When the T&T Guardian in­ter­viewed Brown on the is­sue, she hoped the wave of fem­i­nist aware­ness wasn’t just a pass­ing phase.

“Can we con­tin­ue to car­ry those mes­sages, not nec­es­sar­i­ly the protest part but the aware­ness build­ing part of it?” she asked. “Where are we go­ing with this is the ques­tion that I am try­ing to find an an­swer for? Where is it go­ing, or is it a nine-day won­der? Will it just die next week?”

We are thank­ful we do not see the per­se­cu­tion of women here as we do in oth­er parts of the world, where there are ex­am­ples like Iran’s hi­jab laws and the trag­ic death of Mah­sa Ami­ni by “moral­i­ty po­lice,” or even in parts of the Unit­ed States where women face forced births and al­most no ma­ter­ni­ty ben­e­fits. But vi­o­lence against women re­mains an epi­dem­ic in this coun­try.

It’s sad that we write this trib­ute on the same day our front page tells the trag­ic sto­ry of a woman al­leged­ly end­ing the life of a ba­by through poi­son­ing. What more could have been done for her? What more could we do to raise aware­ness of post­par­tum de­pres­sion or men­tal ill­ness? Where can women go if they need help?

These are the ques­tions we’d prob­a­bly have reached out to Brown to ask.

Our women still need as much sup­port as they can get from the state and from each oth­er. There will nev­er be an­oth­er Hazel Brown but there will be oth­er ac­tivists car­ry­ing on her fight.

We vow her mem­o­ry will be no nine-day won­der.