The Casey Awards annually celebrate individuals and organizations across Canada that demonstrate leadership in social justice and commitment to HIV/AIDS. Created in 2008, the inaugural recipient, and inspiration, for the awards was June Callwood, one of the founders of Casey House. The Casey Awards celebrate June’s spirit of innovative leadership. See the list of past recipients here.
Haran Vijayanathan honoured with award for leadership in social justice.
Haran Vijayanathan is being recognized with The Casey Award for leadership in social justice for the HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ communities.
His growing public presence as a gay man of Sri Lankan Tamil background has raised the profile of LGBTQ people in Toronto’s South Asian community. In 2018, Vijayanathan was Grand Marshal of Pride Toronto’s parade, the first of his background to lead a Pride parade anywhere in the world.
As the executive director of the Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention (ASAAP) he helped an organization dedicated to culturally specific support and education expand through his leadership and vision, including as many client voices as possible.
Vijayanathan was moved to respond to the homophobia, racism and classism evident in the investigation of Toronto’s eight murdered and missing men, who were targeted for their South Asian and Middle Eastern heritage. He communicated with the men’s families, established a fund to pay for dignified farewells, and advocated for an inquiry into Toronto Police Services’ handling of missing persons. He is now the coordinator for the community advisory group of the Independent Civilian Review into Missing Person Investigations.
Recently, Vijayanathan’s work has become national. In September, he was appointed as Fierté Canada Pride’s first national strategic director, responsible for strategic planning and national development initiatives. His skill at building partnerships and including the voices of those he serves will enhance his social justice efforts.
Casey House extends warm congratulations to Haran Vijayanathan for his leadership and activism in the LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS communities, which are emblematic of the Casey Awards and the spirit of June Callwood.