The Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto and The Newcomer Students’ Association are hosted a series of public forums aimed at mobilizing the immigrant and refugee communities to get involved with different social and environmental justice movements. Building Solidarity Across Movements featured diverse social justice and grassroots movements to learn how immigrant and refugee communities can educate, organize, and mobilize their communities and how they can build solidarity across differences and across movements.
Learn more about the three forums below:
Third Forum – July 8, 2021
Since its inception, Canada has fostered stories it tells about itself to the world and to its own communities. These stories are intended to erase historical violence, hide racial hierarchy, and justify ongoing colonial realities. In these narratives, Canada is depicted as a nation established by settling a wilderness, establishing peaceful trading relations with Indigenous peoples and welcoming the downtrodden from around the globe into a multicultural tolerant haven. State policies and structures have been instrumental in facilitating something quite divergent from the mythical stories. By growing our understandings, owning of responsibilities, and stepping into transformative actions as settlers on this land, we shatter the myths and disrupt the ways Canada has sought to position newcomers in relations to Indigenous Peoples.
Adebola Adefioye; Adebola recently graduated from the Honours Bachelor of Child Development program at Seneca College. She is a passionate educator and an anti-black racism advocate. She is the founder of the Afro Women and Youth Foundation. Adebola is a certified Speaker, Coach and Trainer with The John Maxwell Team, a board member at the Family Support Institute of Ontario (FSIO). She currently supports survivors of Sexual/Gender-Based Violence as a Crisis Line Counsellor at the Women Support Network of York Region. Adebola was named one of the 150 Women of Inspiration™ 2020, winner of Seneca HELIX Female Entrepreneur 2019, winner of United Way Greater Toronto’s Black Community Leadership Award 2020 and the recipient of 2020/2021 Seneca’s prestigious Stephen E. Quinlan Award, which is presented to a student with strong academic achievement, demonstrating personal integrity, sound character, tenacity and assisting others in the community beyond Seneca college.
- Pamala Agawa, Anishinaabe-kwe from Batchewana First Nation. She is a mother, a daughter, a partner, an auntie, a niece, a cousin, a granddaughter and a sister. She is a coach and a lifelong learner who seizes every opportunity possible to grow as a person and an educator. Currently, her interests are focused in decolonizing instructional practice to create amazing spaces for learning for all (especially Indigenous youth). She acknowledges this is a journey and this is rooted within the colonial/ western structure we have all adopted as a system in public education. She believes with intentional practice, learning and facilitation we can support leaders and decision makers to shift their pedagogical practice to better serve all students and families. She loves working alongside and in service of our youth and is committed to being a strong advocate and accomplice for them.
- Nada Aoudeh; Nada Aoudeh is currently completing her PhD with a focus on Gendered Islamophobia and Muslim women’s leadership. Nada is also a provincial equity facilitator, training senior leaders in the human services fields to enable coherence in strategies across sectors(e.g. education, mental health, child welfare, justice, etc.). She is a founding member of an Alliance of Educators for Muslim Students (AEMS) in York Region. Nada’s Tedx Education talk ‘Loud Silences and Quiet Voices’ invites educators to not only create space for diverse student voices but to get uncomfortable and listen to those voices that challenge the dominant ways of knowing and being in the world. Nada is committed to a vision of education that centers the experiences and voices of marginalized identities thereby promoting schools as a site of social transformation.
- Dr. Muna Saleh; Dr. Muna Saleh is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at Concordia University of Edmonton (CUE), former Elementary and Secondary school teacher, mother to three awesome humans, and the author of “Stories We Live and Grow By: (Re)Telling Our Experiences as Muslim Mothers and Daughters.” Drawing upon her experiences as an intergenerational survivor of violent Palestinian displacement and as a caregiver to a child with a dis/ability, her current research is a narrative inquiry alongside Muslim mothers of children with dis/abilities who arrived in Canada as refugees.
Second Forum – May 13, 2021
Nevin Alqishawi (she/her) is a young leader from Palestine. She holds a degree in English Literature and is currently volunteering as a translator. Nevin spends her time actively participating in community initiatives for social participation and inclusion. She believes in the importance of inclusion of immigrants in all aspects of life.
- Carolina Jimenez (she/her) is a community organizer with a passion for racial justice and health equity. She’s a Colombian migrant and settler on Dish With One Spoon Territory. She’s a registered nurse, public health professional and the coordinator of the Decent Work and Health Network.
- Carolyn Ferns is the Public Policy Coordinator at the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in early childhood studies with a focus on child care policy. She is a member of the board of directors of Child Care Now and the Childcare Resource and Research Unit.
- Saman Tabasinejad is the Project Manager at Progress Toronto. She believes that meaningful change cannot be achieved unless actions that address and remove systemic barriers are taken, and is particularly interested in how large policy decisions affect everyday lives. Saman currently serves on the board of The Platform, an organization working to reshape the political landscape to advance the priorities of young Black, Indigenous, and racialized women and gender-diverse youth. She also serves on the board of the Iranian Canadian Congress. Previously, she worked at the DUKE Heights BIA and the Downsview Advocate, as well as served on the executive of Roofs for Refugees. She also founded the Willowdale Advocate, a local newspaper. In 2018, Saman ran for office in North York, ON. Her educational background includes degrees in Political Science and Anthropology. Saman is dedicated to building a progressive city and making room for women, especially young racialized women, to take space, influence policy-making, and run for office.
First Forum – April 15, 2021
This is the first public forum of the series and we are highlighting the following movements:
- Black Lives Matter Toronto
- The Student Movement
- Workers’ Action Centre and their grassroots advocacy for workers’ rights
- Rights of Non-Status Women Network
Andrea Lewis is a Caribbean immigrant and currently a student at the Sister2Sister program at the Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto. She worked with RBC Royal Bank of Canada – Antigua branch for 19+ years, before coming to Canada in 2013. While there, she gained the prestigious title of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) with the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering/Anti-Terrorist Financing Specialists (ACAMS). She was the 1st female Retail Banker to hold this title in Antigua. She was also Co-chair of the 1st ever ACAMS Antigua Chapter in 2012. Although Andrea appreciates the experience and knowledge gained via the financial sector, she has now embarked on a different career path. Andrea is channeling her attention towards impacting the life of others in a more direct manner.
- Nour Alideeb is a Syrian Muslim woman based in Mississauga. She is currently the Executive Director at the UTM Students’ Union which represents over 15,000 full-time and part-time undergraduate students at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Prior to taking on a staff role, she was an elected representative and served as the Chairperson for the Canadian Federation of Students – Ontario from 2017 to 2019. Now as a recent graduate and new mother, she continues to fight for a free, high-quality post-secondary education, publicly owned and funded services like childcare, transit and healthcare, and decent work for all.
- Elsie Ikhariale is a Project Lawyer with the Barbra Schlifer Clinic’s #AndMeToo project which provides legal services to women with precarious work or immigration status that experience workplace sexual harassment or assault.
- Veronica Zaragoza is a Mexican immigrant who identifies as a lesbian, feminist and activist woman. She graduated from law school in Mexico, and then came to Canada in 2005 as a refugee. Veronica has worked in several precarious jobs, including as a cleaner, factory worker, and in construction. For five years, she fought for and finally gained legal status in Canada. She joined the first Feminist Latin-American Group for Lesbian, Bisexual, Queer, Intersex and Trans, Immigrant women in Canada, and now participates in many Latin-American feminist movements. Veronica is currently in the Assaulted Women’s and Children’s Counsellor/Advocate program at George Brown College. She is an organizer at the Workers’ Action Centre, working closely with the Latina Community, undocumented workers, and workers with precarious jobs.
- Pascale Diverlus is born of a lineage of Haitian freedom fighters. She is an award-winning community organizer and educator. Pascale’s practice is rooted in reimagining, redefining, and rebuilding a different, better world— liberation through all methods. For nearly a decade, Pascale has stood on the frontlines calling for justice; she is a co-founder and former lead organizer for Black Lives Matter -Toronto, the first international iteration of the Black Lives Matter movement. During her time, Pascale led the movement’s community engagement, curriculum development, public education, and direct action coordination. Previously, she was a student activist on multiple Toronto campuses calling for free education, robust sexual violence policies and police-free campuses. Pascale is the recipient of the J.S Woodsworth Human Rights Award, the Viola Desmond Award and the Evelyn Myrie Political Action Award.