Nadella Oya, founder and director of createfuturegood, is the winner of the first Colin Robinson Hard Head Award.
Her win was announced on Saturday during a brief virtual ceremony hosted by CAISO (Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation) – Sex and Gender Justice.
Honourable mentions went to Francis Escayg of Cause An Effect, an advocate for the rights of disabled people, and artist Stephanie Leitch of Womantra.
The NGO’s website says the purpose of create.future.good is to “help children to enjoy their rights through creative interventions, shaping conscious adults who will make a better world.”
In her acceptance speech, Oya thanked CAISO for recognising her work. She also felt privileged to be mentioned among other “civil society warriors” who do great work.
She encouraged those in the fields of civil society and activism to keep working despite not having enough resources as the work was about love.
“Special mention to the amazing createfuturegood family. Yes, this award has my name on it, but really and truly it is about the organisation. Because it’s hundreds of hard-head people that get up every day to do this work. There is no way that it would get done if they weren’t as stubborn.”
Varia Williams, one of the judges, explained while the top three candidates deserved the award, Oya’s projects sparked conversations about crime and violence against women and girls, children’s rights, mental health, education, and other issues.
“In the end we, the judges, agreed that Nadella Oya was the best representative of this inaugural award because of the scope and creativity of her advocacy and work for social transformation.”
The award was inspired by Colin Robinson, director of imagination for CAISO, and the creative ways he spoke out against injustice while demanding change and transformation. Robonson is also a Sunday Newsday columnist.
MC and CAISO director Angelique Nixon said, “We designed this award to really recognise and honour exceptional leadership in transforming how other see and imagine the world, particularly in the spheres of transformational activism, artistic boldness, and meaningful solidarity.”
She noted Hard Head came from the title of Robinson’s 2016 collection of poetry (You Have Your Father Hard Head), and signifies stubbornness, relentlessness, and focus.
“Added to that, we see Hard Head as also signifying the ways that Colin has been very resilient, radical, and how he always speaks out against power and how it’s exercised in many different spaces – at home, community, by economic and political elites.”
Robinson congratulated the candidates, and said he was looking forward to the “incredible work” Oya, Escayg, and Leitch would go on to do.