Photo Caption: (2nd left) Hazel Brown making her contribution at the XIV Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean, after which she received a standing ovation.
UN Women Photo/Sharon Carter-Burke

Those of us engaged in social justice recognise that we stand on the shoulders on giants. We are not the first and hopefully we will not be the last in this work to make our communities, countries, region and the world, a more equal place for everyone. When you think of Caribbean feminists, of the giants who made it their life’s work to realise a better world in every space that women and girls occupy, Hazel Brown is immediately one of those women you call to mind.

This was Hazel Brown – every day she seemed to think of what else can I do, whom else can I reach out to, to get the understanding across and importantly the action – the positive movement forward for gender equality at a much-accelerated pace.

For UN Women MCO Caribbean, Hazel Brown a founding member and long-standing Coordinator of the Network of NGOs of Trinidad and Tobago for the Advancement of Women, was a crucial partner. She was in the negotiating sessions for the Beijing Platform for Action, at the Commission on the Status of Women and the lead up to these with our regional meetings in Latin America during which her contribution was acknowledged in 2020, and of course at sub regional meetings in the Caribbean.

Hazel celebrated culture and used it as a critical medium for advocacy. This included using the Baby Doll character to highlight the single mother and pressing the point of the need for the support of the father, in the interest of the child’s overall welfare.

      “One of the things I learned early on, that standing up for something and being strong in it, has a price that you had to be willing to pay. If you are not willing to pay the price you may as well go along with the crowd.”

- Hazel Brown, in an interview with UN Women MCO Caribbean in 2020

She led initiatives to increase the number of women in politics and she worked for women’s economic empowerment. She described violence against women and girls and changing the culture that normalised this type of violence, as one of the most pressing issues of our time. Hazel lobbied in the halls of justice and Parliament, and she literally walked up and down in the streets of Port of Spain seeking justice and empowerment and ultimately equality for women. Hazel we will not forget your legacy, we will do what we can to continue to build on it, and we will miss you.