YARMOUTH - Josh Cochrane of Yarmouth received a 2017 Nova Scotia Human Rights award in Halifax on Dec. 8.
The eleven-year-old was honoured for his work towards fostering an inclusive environment for persons with disabilities.
Each year, the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission recognizes Nova Scotians nominated by their peers for work in the field of human rights, social justice and advocacy.
Cochrane was one of five people in the province to receive the award.
At a very young age, he was diagnosed with autism. He now uses his personal journey to show the world that people on the spectrum can do anything they want to do. Cochrane has attended the World Autism Festival several times, which has enabled him to connect with his peers who have autism from over 60 different countries. He was featured in a documentary called Connected: A Film About Autism, which was screened in Hollywood, New York City and other cities around the world. Since the age of two, Cochrane has used his musical talents to help raise awareness about childhood cancer, veterans, mental health, organ donations, stem cell/bone marrow donations, PTSD, Wounded Warriors Canada, Hospice, Relay for Life and Children's Miracle Network. By the time he was eight-years-old, he raised over $300,000 for various charities. He was recently one of four recipients of the 2017 Prince of Wales Youth Service Award.
This year is particularly special for the Human Rights organization, given it is the commission’s 50th anniversary. The theme of the 50th anniversary is “Learning from our past, building for our future.”
“We’ve come a long way since 1967, and we recognize that more progress is needed to ensure respect for human rights. This can only be realized in partnership with Nova Scotians,” said Christine Hanson, commission director and CEO.
Along with the award presentations, the event included a reception, African drumming and musical performances. It was held in advance of the United Nations' International Human Rights Day on Sunday, Dec. 10.
Other recipients of the 2017 Nova Scotia Human Rights awards
- Dr. Burnley Allan "Rocky" Jones Individual Award:
- Angela Simmonds, Cherry Brook, Halifax Regional Municipality, recognized for her commitment to human rights by helping African Nova Scotian communities to obtain titles to their land
- Nicole Doria, Halifax, a recent graduate of Dalhousie University, honoured for her commitment to promoting human rights in support of the health of Indigenous peoples
- Wade Smith, Halifax, recognized posthumously for his leadership in human rights, inclusive education and community mentorship
-- Syria-Antigonish Families Embrace, a group in Antigonish recognized for its work to promote human rights by resettling Syrian refugee families
-- Bill 59 Community Alliance, recognized for its advocacy for the rights of persons with disabilities throughout the province
-- Women’s Wellness Within, Halifax, recognized for its work to promote the rights of incarcerated and criminalized women and their children
For more information on the awards and for bios of the recipients, click here.