University flag will fly at half-mast today in memory of Wendy Babcock

Anyone in the York University community who met or worked with Wendy Babcock knew that she had many gifts, lived with great pain and was a person of courage. On Tuesday, Aug. 9, Ms. Babcock was found dead in her home. She was just 32.

Today at 1pm, the University flag will be lowered to half-mast in memory of Ms. Babcock. There will be a candlelighting ceremony in her memory at Osgoode Hall Law School in the Mixing Area. Activist and Osgoode Hall Law School student Wendy BabcockThe service begins at 12:20pm and all are welcome to attend.

Left: Activist and Osgoode Hall Law School student Wendy Babcock

Tonight there will be a memorial in Allan Gardens (close to the street by the Carlton and Sherbourne Street intersection). From 6 to 7pm, there will be a buffet style meal. The memorial service will begin at 7pm with an Aboriginal ceremony of welcome and a poetry reading. Speakers and singers will then commemorate Ms. Babcock and celebrate her many gifts and loves.

At 9pm, there will be a special performance in her memory at the Buddies in Bad Times Theatre located at 12 Alexander Street, close to Allan Gardens.

“Wendy was an exceptionally talented student at Osgoode Law School and an untiring advocate for sex worker rights,” said her colleague and friend, York Professor Sheila Cavanagh, coodinator of the Sexuality Studies Program. “Her work and commitment to Street Health was nothing short of inspiring and in 2008, she was given Toronto’s inaugural Public Health Champion Award by former Toronto Mayor David Miller.”.

Cavanagh noted that Ms. Babcock testified in court to challenge the injustice of Canada’s prostitution laws and founded the Bad Date Coalition, a group that publishes information about dangerous clients and runs a hotline for sex workers. “Her goal was to improve the lives of those who are underage, under-employed and street-active; those contending with economic and legal barriers to accessing services, resources and supports many of us take for granted,” she said.

“Her spirit, her ambition and commitment to what is ‘right,’ ‘good,’ and ‘fair’ lives on,” said Cavanagh.

For more information on the memorial for Ms. Babcock, including reflections on her life, click here.