For your Feminist Friday inspiration, here’s recent Osgoode graduate Michelle Miles, this year’s IFLS Vanguard Award recipient.
Awarded annually since 2014, the Vanguard Award recognizes:
“…a graduating student who has shown bravery and intelligence in bringing attention to issues of importance for feminism(s). The Award winner will have displayed leadership qualities including the ability and willingness to engage in critical &/or constructive difficult conversations.”
Nominated by a long list of folks – including students from every year of the JD, an alumna, a professor and two lawyers from two different clinical programs – Michelle Miles was a summer intern at the Human Rights Legal Support Centre, part of the Feminist Legal Advocacy program at Osgoode, took a leadership role with the Osgoode Feminist Collective, and served as the Vice President of the Osgoode Black Law Student’s Association.
She’ll be articling at a family/criminal law firm in Toronto and continuing to be an advocate for women and vulnerable communities.
Here’s what some of her nominators wrote about Michelle:
“…always quick to raise the voices of others, to initiate and guide much-need and rarely-had conversations, and to call in rather than call out.”
“….[the] recommendations to combat anti-Black racism at Osgoode are the result of Michelle’s diligent activism, organization and guidance.”
“…compassionate, dedicated, and an utter joy and relief to be around.”
“…Michelle vocally and eloquently defended equity seeking groups and their needs. It is one thing to do so when everyone in the room is nodding with you. It’s a completely different situation when you keep getting pushback from other students, who do not come to the table with the same life experiences as you, and from lawyers, who have a lot more authority and influence than you.”
“Michelle is THE feminist advocate many of us associate with our time at Osgoode.”
“I don’t think anyone is as committed or as patient or as tireless as Michelle Miles.”
“Our profession will only benefit from having a resilient Black woman like Michelle in the lead.”
“For all that she has done in her three years at Osgoode (and it is more than most people know and more than Michelle herself will acknowledge), she deserves the IFLS Vanguard Award.”
A further thank you from the IFLS to this amazing alum of Osgoode. Pretty sure students don’t always appreciate how much their work can mean for their professors. Putting this post together provided mid June inspiration through thinking about the hard conversations Michelle pushed for, and the ways her feminist peers appreciated that work.
[If you’re at another school and thinking ‘maybe we could have one of these awards’, here’s a page describing what it’s for – we spent some time thinking about this and some of the details might be of interest to you: https://ifls.osgoode.yorku.ca/what-we-do/ifls-graduating-student-vanguard-award/ ]