Hazel Brown LLD, gender and consumer activist and former coordinator of the Network of NGOs for the Advancement of Women, passed away peacefully on Thursday morning. She was 80 years old.
The human rights advocate is survived by four children, two sisters and seven grandchildren in Trinidad and Tobago, the United States and United Kingdom.
Details concerning funeral arrangements for Dr Brown will be released soon.
Hazel Brown was awarded an honorary Doctoral Degree (LLD) by The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, in 2017.
In November 2019, she was inducted into the St. Joseph’s Convent Port-of-Spain’s Past Pupils’ Hall of Excellence.
The following mini-biography of her achievements was read at the special ceremony at which she and four other of the school’s alumni, were inducted into the Hall of Fame that year.
“This outstanding past student of St. Joseph’s Convent, Port of Spain, prominent and passionate advocate of human rights, Hazel Brown has given unstintingly for decades to the upliftment of her fellow Caribbean citizens.
From as far back as 1969, she has been professionally involved in research, social development and community organisation projects. Her specific focus has been in the area of poverty eradication, consumer affairs and the promotion of gender equity. She has organised and conducted numerous seminars and workshops pursuant to these ends through the organisations she has been a part of as well as in collaboration with government ministries, CARICOM, Commonwealth organisations, OAS, IDB, PAHO, UNIFEM, UNESCO and other UN agencies.
Widely regarded as one of the most dynamic women of the Caribbean, she has worked with a vast number of women’s organisations and leaders for the upliftment of women throughout the region. She is a founding member of the Network of NGOs of Trinidad and Tobago for the Advancement of Women, a comprehensive national umbrella organisation formed to present the position of women in Trinidad and Tobago at the Third World Conference on Women held in Nairobi in 1985. She is the past Secretary General of the Commonwealth Women’s Network and has been engaged in Commonwealth activities since the first Commonwealth People’s Forum at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Harare in 1991. She has been a consistent advocate for a strong voice and space for civil society in Commonwealth activities and decision-making.
She was a national Special Envoy for women and girls with the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development, a Board member of the Trinidad and Tobago Telecommunications Authority, the Trinidad and Tobago Agribusiness Association and the Diego Martin Consumer Cooperative Society.
With an exemplary record of community service, she is the recipient of numerous national and international awards and commendations. Notably, she was the first recipient of the National Award for Development of Women in 2014. In fact, in March 2015, the Institute of Gender and Development Studies at The University of the West Indies joined the Network of NGOs for the Advancement of Women, the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator, the Emancipation Support Committee of Trinidad and Tobago and Working Women for Social Progress to host a conference in commemoration of Hazel Brown’s commitment and contribution titled “Fearless Politics: The Life and Times of Hazel Brown”.
Lecturer, Dr. Gabrielle Hosein, one of the conference organisers, said, “There are few Caribbean citizens like Hazel Brown. Her story should remind another generation that we don’t have to invent new strategies or search for more contemporary issues, particularly in relation to women’s rights. What we have to do is learn from and continue her legacy.”
In 2017, she was awarded an honorary Doctoral Degree by The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine.
A proud graduate of St. Joseph’s Convent, Port of Spain, two of her daughters—Dr. Leah Brown and Madam Justice Carla Brown-Antoine—are also graduates of St. Joseph’s Convent.
As a thirty-year cancer survivor, with four grown children and eight grandchildren, she remains a shining example of determination, faith, courage and above all service to others."