UQAM scholarship recognizes Quebec’s first black woman judge

A scholarship in honour of trailblazer Juanita Westmoreland-Traoré has been established at the l'Université du Quebec à Montreal.

The scholarship will be awarded to a first-year law student in the faculty of political science and law at UQAM, who has “demonstrated excellence in the use of the law as a tool for social change and who has been involved in activities that promote human rights, social justice, and the right to equality of the underprivileged and racialized minorities.” The student will receive $3,000 for each year of the program.

Westmoreland-Traoré, who retired from the Court of Quebec last year, was the first black woman to become a judge in Quebec when she was appointed to the bench in 1999. Prior to her appointment, Westmoreland-Traoré practised at the law firm Mergler Melançon in Montreal and then worked as a law professor at the Université de Montréal and UQAM. In 1996, she became the first black dean of a law school at the University of Windsor.

Westmoreland-Traoré has served as a commissioner for the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Employment Equity commissioner of Ontario. She was also made an officer of the National Order of Quebec.

She is best known for her contributions to human rights, social justice, right to equality, and her commitment to the community.

There will be a reception at UQAM today at 5:30 p.m. to launch the scholarship.

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