I strive for building a culture of engagement. One that stems from reflection and leads to intentional action. My goal is to encourage others to look within and then reach out to share those deep reflections and find meaning within a broader context. I believe that life is a tapestry of experiences, beliefs and diverse perspectives and that only by reconciling these elements can we allow for deep understanding and transcend silos, stigmas, and borders.
This is why I engage.
Not because I am trying to project my story on the rest of the world, but because I believe that by sharing my voice I can encourage others to do the same. I hope that by demonstrating my beliefs in a respectful way and creating space for others to do so as well, we can gain insight into the different factors that influence us and find common ground. Once this common ground is established, we can work together to build a more inclusive and equitable world.
At the route of every action is the search for connection with self and others.
Here are some of the ways in which I have engaged in activist projects and community building throughout the last year:
Board Member & Social Media Volunteer, Community Action Bus
The Community Action bus is a big blue school bus that has been converted into a community resource to transport people to events, protests, and direct actions. I met and forged some of my closest relationships riding this bus and it is with great honour I get to give back. As a previous board member, I contributed to strategic planning and provided accountability to the small team that manages its finances and activities. As a social media volunteer, I take photos, post updates on Facebook and Instagram, and I engage with the community to remind folks that the bus is big, it is blue, and it is here for you. Follow us @CommunityActionBus on Instagram, @Actionbus on Facebook, or email email@example.com for inquiries!
Provincial Organizer, Dogwood
As an organizer, I was responsible for building and maintaining teams in the South Island region. This included recruitment, coaching, training, facilitating meetings, implementing strategy and tactics within a local context and contributing meaningfully to these teams. Responsible to my volunteers and my manager, I would work to build effective channels of communication so that the needs of volunteers, supporters, and stakeholders to our campaigns were heard by the organization and vis versa. I worked with a diversity of people including seniors, youth, and university-aged students with varying levels of experience in community organizing. I also campaigned with a youth-led initiative to lower the voting age to 16 in the province. Campaigning, similar yet different from organizing, allowed me to deepen my critical analysis of the creative design of advocacy and leveraging points of power in a way that would have the most impactful long term effects. It was a joy to work with high school aged students and I feel honoured and grateful to have worked with such amazing people while employed at this organization.
Dogwood University of Victoria Club
Dogwood BC is a pro-democracy non-partisan environmental organization that focuses on giving local people back decision-making power over their shared environment and democracy. In 2014 I started volunteering in my local riding as a canvasser and in 2015 I became the first ever team lead of a university club for the organization. Starting with just 3 students, we grew our team to 12 active members by the end of the second semester. Working to get out the youth vote on climate issues, connect students with the federal MPs and get students into the natural surroundings that we so fervently fought to protect were just some of the actions we took. However, at the core of what we did on campus was to build leadership and a sustainable movement.
Organize BC Training
Organize BC is a local non-profit organization that trains for capacity building in the grassroots social justice movement. It takes a lot of organizing to harness the power of people and having attended 2 workshops with Organize BC, in 2017 I decided to give back to the organization that had taught me so much. While leading alongside two other organizers in a two-day workshop, I developed skills in training, communication, and only further deepened my understanding of the organizing style accredited to Marshall Ganz and the civil rights movement.
Stand Up for What You Love Rally
On February 14th, 2017 many people celebrated their loving relationships in restaurants, with roses, surrounded by the sultry light of candles. Instead, twelve non-profit environmental organizations and their volunteers and supporters celebrated Valentine’s day by chanting our love of the land at the BC premier on the front steps of the legislature. My responsibility in organizing the rally were the visuals, putting together a banner and a hundred hearts out of recycled materials announcing what we loved about B.C. so that Christy Clark would hear us loud and clear. Our rally made four different newspapers and our presence out staged the lieutenant governor.
Protect All Lifelines: Stop the Kinder Morgan Pipeline
The Kinder Morgan Pipeline threatens our very way of life here in BC. So, in response to the questioning of students, the Dogwood UVic club brought together professionals, students, and indigenous elders to discuss just how to take action against this harmful project. The event drew over eighty people in attendance, four expert panelists, and ten ENGOs fighting the Kinder Morgan Pipeline. Attendees were engaged in presentations and group discussions that lead to commitments to direct action in stopping the pipeline. Furthermore, the event successfully raised $800 for the Pull-Together campaign to raise funds for First-Nation court cases against expanding the Kinder Morgan Pipeline.
STEM Leadership Conference
St Margaret’s High School hosts 16 high schools and elementary schools from Vancouver Island and Vancouver to learn about how to take science to heart and make the world a better place. Among 20 other professional speakers, I delivered an inspirational presentation and workshop for students ages 10-15 on the importance of proper hygiene and the lack of essential health services to those experiencing homelessness. As a representative for the Soap for Hope program, of Disaster Aid Canada, I taught students about how this organization is addressing two big issues with one small solution. Soap for Hope works with over 40 hotels on Vancouver Island to reprocess their used hygiene products and donate to those most in need while diverting hundres of thousands of plastic bottles from the landfill.