Two Chilliwack women have been recognized for making positive change in the community.
Courtney Mienkina and Rhianna Millman are in the running for the 40th annual YWCA Women of Distinction Awards. They are two of 78 women nominated in 12 categories.
Millman is up for an award in the ‘Reconciliation in Action – Indigenous’ category while Mienkina has been nominated for an ‘Arts, Culture and Design’ award.
The awards honour individuals and organizations whose outstanding activities and achievements contribute to the well-being and future of our community, according to YWCA Metro Vancouver.
Both Mienkina and Millman live in Chilliwack.
Millman is a citizen of Métis Nation British Columbia with ancestry from the Red River Valley in what is today called Manitoba. She is the Indigenous cultural safety and humility consultant at B.C. College of Nurses and Midwives where she leads the organization toward a culturally safe and anti-discriminatory healthcare system. She is the family advocate for Keegan Combes and co-author of Remembering Keegan: a BC First Nations Case Study Reflection developed in partnership with First Nations Health Authority. Remembering Keegan is a first-of-its-kind report in the province and was gifted in ceremony by Keegan’s family and community to the B.C. healthcare system as a learning tool. Millman is helping shape the cultural safety and quality of care for all Indigenous people in B.C. and across the country.
Mienkina is a fine arts teacher with the Abbotsford School District and a passionate multi-media artist who uses art to make the world a better place. She created and organized a Black Icons Art Exhibit in 2021 for Yale Secondary School. When the Sumas Prairie flood hit her community in 2021, she used art to raise funds for flood relief. Mienkina created and donated four original artwork pieces to the community project called arTHANKS, an initiative that provided original artwork as a thank you to frontline workers during the pandemic, and she created a women’s empowerment series of artwork that was on display at the Kariton Art Gallery. She also created and participated in the Purple Night Light Project at the Reach Art Gallery and Museum, which brought awareness to domestic violence.
In addition to the 12 nomination categories, the individual nominees are eligible for the Connecting the Community Award. Nominees will select a YWCA advocacy area in which they are interested and use social media channels such as Twitter and LinkedIn to promote votes.
From March 8 to April 12, the public can cast their votes online and the nominee with the most votes will receive the Connecting the Community Award. Scotiabank will donate $10,000 to the YWCA program area of the winner’s choice.
Award recipients will be announced at the Women of Distinction Awards Gala at the Westin Bayshore, Vancouver on May 9. To purchase tickets for the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards, visit ywcavan.org/wod.
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