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New Year’s Honours awards for EF Gordon’s granddaughters

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Sisters Sharon Murdoch, left, and Moira Stuart with their mother Marjorie Davis (Photograph supplied)
E.F. Gordon (File photograph)

Two granddaughters of Bermuda civil rights activist, Edgar Fitzgerald Gordon, have been recognised in the New Year’s Honours.

Veteran BBC news broadcaster Moira Stuart was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire and her sister Sharon Davis-Murdoch, the co-founder and co-president of the Health Association of African Canadians, was awarded the Order of Canada.

Ms Stuart and Ms Davis-Murdoch both lived in Bermuda for some time.

Ms Stuart, 72, told the BBC "it hasn't been easy" but that she was "moved and lifted" to be appointed a CBE for services to the media over 40 years.

She started her career as a radio production assistant in the 1970s and became a BBC Radio 4 newsreader and later a presenter for the Andrew Marr Show, BBC Breakfast and News After Noon.

She became the first black woman to read the news on British television in 1981.

Ms Stuart told the BBC: "Over the years, since my first Radio 4 news bulletin in 1978 through to my last BBC News summary in 2018, I've been committed to public service broadcasting, which gave me the chance to shift barriers, open doors, and change so many stagnant stereotypes.”

Ms Davis-Murdoch, who was educated at Mount St Agnes Academy, was recognised for her work to eliminate systemic inequalities in the healthcare system and said the HAAC played a major part in that work.

The organisation was formed in 2000 to tackle African Canadian health problems and inequalities that affect health.

The Order of Canada is an award that honours those who make extraordinary contributions to the country.

Ms Davis-Murdoch was recently co-manager of the Association of Black Social Workers and HAAC's Covid-19 Response and Impact Initiative, which worked to create “culturally specific” African Nova Scotian vaccination clinics.

She has been involved with social justice work in line with generations of her family.

Ms Davis-Murdoch said that Canada’s reality of anti-Black racism, and its history of enslavement and segregation is ingrained in the current systems.

A report on www.cbc.ca, called “Health advocate with 'fire in the belly for justice' one of 9 Nova Scotians named to Order of Canada”, said: “She said her maternal grandparents were both ‘social justice champions’ – her grandfather, a physician and civil rights leader in Bermuda, and her grandmother, the first Black physician to attend the University of Edinburgh, where they first met.

“Born in the United Kingdom, Ms Davis-Murdoch said she grew up in Bermuda where she was influenced by "very politically astute people" and had a Catholic education that emphasised service to community.

“She attended university in Canada and has lived in the country for the past 41 years.

"This is my home, but certainly I am the sum total of all of that," Ms Davis-Murdoch was said.

"I've always had what my grandfather and grandmother had, as well, which is what I call fire in the belly for justice."

Dr Gordon was a Trinidad and Tobago-born, Edinburgh-educated doctor, who arrived in Bermuda in the mid-1920s and soon became a labour leader and parliamentarian.

The Bermuda Biographies said: “He championed the cause of Bermudian workers and fought tirelessly for equal rights for Black Bermudians, thereby laying the groundwork for much of the political and social change that came about after his death.”

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Published January 04, 2022 at 7:57 am (Updated January 04, 2022 at 4:26 pm)

New Year’s Honours awards for EF Gordon’s granddaughters

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