The Coalition Against Domestic Violence joins in appreciating the life and contributions of our sister, Hazel Brown.
Hazel Brown was a committed activist, one who worked unceasingly for social justice and gender equality in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean.
As the founder of the NGO Network for the Advancement of Women, Hazel had a vision of a united women’s rights movement working for social and economic justice and equality. She insisted women belonged in Parliament in equal numbers to men, and that this would be better for ­democratic representation and increased effectiveness and responsiveness of government.
She worked across party divides with women politicians, sharing her view that what should unite them were the goals of ending poverty and discrimination, goals that were greater, more worthy and more principled than partisan affiliations and loyalties.
Because of her efforts and especially at local government levels, more had the confidence and support to step forward into arenas that can be hostile and offensive to women politicians.
Hazel was unafraid of fighting for what she believed in, even if she were a lone voice. And she was so often a pioneer. She was a founding member of the National Alliance for Reconstruction; she worked on consumer rights; and she advocated for the use of solar cookers as more environmentally sound. Hazel supported cancer survivors in accessing treatment in Trinidad and Tobago—including from Guyana, for which the Guyana Cancer Society honoured her.
Hazel considered it her civic duty to be involved in public life and to hold governments to account for transparent, effective governance free from corruption and discrimination. She was often in Parliament observing the debates, whether on the budget, the abolition of child marriage or amendments to the Domestic Violence Act. Her presence was a reminder that political decisions had to serve the interests of the majority of people of the country, and that these decisions should be consistent with fundamental rights and freedoms.
She had a fearless quality, and she was a genuine patriot, someone who never gave up on her vision of peace, security and equality for all.
Coalition Against Domestic Violence