It’s YMCA Peace Week in Peterborough and on Friday morning the organization recognized a peacemaker who isn’t afraid of calling out injustices when she sees it.
Rosemary Ganley was recognized for her lifelong dedication to humanitarian efforts and charitable efforts, like the aid work she and her late husband, John, undertook in Jamaica, where they established the charity organization called Jamaican Self Help to help families escape poverty while improving access to education.
Ganley becomes the 26th recipient in Peterborough to receive the YMCA Peace Medal. Her late husband received the award back in 2005.
“I am thrilled to be honoured by my local community,” said Ganley. “I take all my strengths and inspiration from local groups, local people, local activists and so in their name I happily accept.”
The feminist, author and activist served on the G7 committee for women’s empowerment and spoke about a call she received from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier this year, asking her to join the committee.
Ganley says she recognized the voice of Trudeau on the phone right away but was frank in asking him “what do you want of me?”
The prime minister was equally direct and told Ganley and said ‘I want your voice, your experience, and your grassroots connections.’
Ganley, a retired teacher continues to use her voice for change and writes a weekly column for the Peterborough Examiner about emerging issues and politics and despite all the accolades she says the Peace Medal is the most significant honour bestowed on her this year.
YMCA of Central East Ontario president and CEO David Allan was proud to present the Peace Medal to Ganley, whom he personally knows and remembers from his youth, as Allan went to elementary school Ganley’s eldest son Jim.
“At that time when you hear a friend’s parents are doing work in Jamaica, you are too young to really understand it or get it,” said Allan. “But as you get older you really understand the amazing work her and John did and the amazing work that Rosemary continues to do is just incredible.”
Now that she says commitments with the G7 gender committee is complete, Ganley says her focus will shift back to working with the youth in the community here while continuing to push others to use their voice for the betterment of the community.