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HomeWorld'The Purple Lady', Reginas Barb Dedi, was awarded the Queen's Platinum Jubilee...

‘The Purple Lady’, Reginas Barb Dedi, was awarded the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee MedalNews WAALI

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In front of a group of friends, family and other volunteers, beloved Regina activist and community organizer Barb Dedi was presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal on Tuesday.

The medal, created earlier this year to commemorate the 70th year of the late Queen’s reign, can be awarded to people from all walks of life “provided they have made a contribution to society”.

Dedi, who tearfully accepted the medal after delivering opening remarks from current and former MLAs including Trent Wotherspoon and Sandra Morin, said she never volunteered for awards and achievements but instead helped everyone, with equal opportunities to live.

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Dedi’s family gathered for a photo before the medal ceremony.

Derek Putz / Global News

“We’re doing it for reasons we believe in and because we hope to make the world a better place,” Dedi said, addressing the crowd from her front door as she continues her battle with cancer.

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“For the past 45-50 years, treating everyone equally has always been my hallmark.”

Dedi is known for his decades of political work with the NDP at the provincial and federal levels, including leading many campaigns.

She is also known for her tireless promotion of social causes.

She founded and coordinated annual events such as Spring Free From Racism and the Saskatchewan Association of Human Rights, and spent time as President of the Regina Multicultural Association.

Dedi is affectionately called “the purple lady” and is known for her love of the color purple.

Derek Putz / Global News

Speaking to Global News, she said she saw the need for volunteering in the community from a young age living in downtown Regina, where her parents were taking in patients with mental illness and people from different cultures.

“There was a lot of discrimination in renting rooms to these people, but we were taught that everyone is equal. Our parents taught us that,” she explained, reminding potential volunteers that the experience can be fun.

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“There are people out there who, when I talk to them about wanting to come and help us, say, ‘What can we do?’ Well we can make a difference. If we really want to make a difference, we can make a difference together.”

She characteristically downplayed the adversity she is currently facing, telling those in attendance that there are always people who can help and that there is still more work to be done.

“We’ve made some progress, but we still have work to do and I hope my legacy will live on after today,” she said.

“But I’m really thankful that so many people were able to come and celebrate this with me. There are often things that get in the way, but you have to keep going.”

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Medal presented by Regina Rosemont MLA and girlfriend of Dedi Trent Wotherpoon. He not only praised Dedi for her work in the community, but also for her famous Ukrainian holiday celebrations.

Derek Putz / Global News

Regina Rosemont NDP Trent Wotherspoon helped nominate the award and presented Dedi with her medal.

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“She’s been so active on so many levels in our community,” he said.

“From an anti-racist, anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive perspective, she was a strong leader. There is a legacy of good in our community that Barb led, a legacy that will live on for many years to come.”

Cree Elder Lorna Standingready pronounced a blessing at the ceremony.

Derek Putz / Global News

Cree Elder Lorna Standingready offered a prayer and blessing at the beginning of the awards ceremony.

She said Dedi is an example of reconciliation.

“She has dealt with racism and discrimination and I have seen what she is fighting against,” Standingready said.

“Today that is part of reconciliation and she has shown us that over the years. All these years It’s not a new word to her, she lived it. And we lived it with her.”

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Sandra Morin, a former NDP-MLA and close friend of Dedi who helped organize Tuesday’s event, said it takes a long time to list all the different things Dedi has done for the community.

“Barb has such a long history in Regina. Her volunteer work with the NDP spans four decades. And for probably well over five decades, she’s been lobbying in the community, particularly on gender and racial discrimination,” Morin explained, recalling how for a time Dedi helped care for the children of local mothers suffering from postpartum suffered from depression.

“She has given so much to this community and it is nice for the community to be able to recognize her with this award today.”

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