Zexi Li, the woman who became a symbol of Ottawa residents’ resistance to the "Freedom Convoy", has been recognized at city hall for her leadership.

Li, 21, was given the mayor’s city builder award at Wednesday’s council meeting for her role in helping silence trucker horns during the three-week occupation that shook many Centretown residents.

“With governments at all levels paralyzed to see a peaceful and quick end to this occupation, Ms. Li stepped up and took action when the public needed it most,” Mayor Jim Watson said in presenting the award.

“She emerged as a brave community leader who stood up for justice and peace in the face of some very angry people.”

The award is given to those who demonstrate “an extraordinary commitment to making our city a better place today and for the future,” the city said in a news release.

In a short acceptance speech, Li thanked the city and acknowledged February was a difficult month for Ottawa as a whole, even for residents who weren’t directly affected.

“At the end of the day, we were able to make it through this horrible situation,” she said. “While there are stragglers here and there that continue their relentless harassment, I believe that Ottawa as a city will move forward and come out stronger in all of this."

She received a standing ovation after her remarks.

Li is the lead plaintiff in a proposed class-action lawsuit by Centretown residents against organizers and funders of the trucker protest.

As part of the legal action, Li helped secure an injunction that silenced truck horns in the downtown core. Many observers praised Li for leading action against the protest that seemingly paralyzed civic institutions. She also suffered online abuse because of the lawsuit.

The proposed class action lawsuit has grown to more than $300 million.

Watson and Coun. Catherine McKenney presented Li with the award.