Beekaa Abraham

Beekaa Abraham is a dancer/choreographer/mover/actor and martial artist from East Africa, Oromia. He completed the Performing Arts Preparation program at Sheridan College and has performed/created choreography for numerous shows/events in the Hamilton and GTA areas. Beekaa has facilitated at Defining Movement Dance providing workshops in creative movement through schools and youth as well as community organizations. He is a member of The Parahumans, an interdisciplinary and experimental Dance Theatre, based out of Hamilton and Toronto. He was host and MC for MATAPA’s Hamilton World Music Festival for multiple years. Was part of Hamilton Fringe Festival A.L.E.R.T (Artistic Leadership and Entrepreneurial Training) Program, where he collaborated and created a performance piece with the youth from The SPACE (formerly Ngen Youth Centre) in Hamilton. This led him to the curation of R.I.T.E! (Rhythm Inspiring Transcultural Edutainment) projects; that engages for the community, by the community; which teaches us not to fear each other, despite our differences in culture, colour, and beliefs.

Dr. Hodan Ali, DNP, MSc, BScN
Refuge: Hamilton Centre for Newcomer Health

Hodan is a Primary Healthcare Nurse Practitioner and Co-founder of Refuge. An experienced global health clinician and seasoned development expert, Hodan is a leading voice on durable solutions for internally displaced communities in the Horn of Africa. A mother of three and a former refugee child from Somalia, Hodan continues to be passionate about building strong communities and impact driven change for more equitable and just systems.

Laura Babcock
Summit Moderator

Laura Babcock is owner of POWERGROUP Communications Inc, an award-winning PR firm. She is a national TV, radio and podcast contributor on current affairs and host of the OShow. Laura is a former CBC TV journalist, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director and Women of Distinction Recipient for her advocacy of social justice in her community. 

Evan Balgord
Executive Director
Canadian Anti-Hate Network

Evan Balgord is the Executive Director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network. He is an investigative journalist and researcher covering the rise of the new far-right and hate groups in Canada. He is a fellow of the Munk School of Global Affairs Fellowship in Global Journalism and graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto, double majoring in Psychology and Sociology. Before this, Evan was working as a Special Assistant to Toronto Mayor John Tory. He served as a Vice President of the Canadian Association of Journalists and is a non-academic affiliate of the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society.

The Canadian Anti-Hate Network is an independent, non-profit organization made up of Canada’s leading experts and researchers on hate groups and hate crimes. The Canadian Anti-Hate Network counters, monitors, and exposes hate promoting groups and individuals in Canada using every reasonable, legal, and ethical tool at its disposal. It provides education and information on hate groups to the public, media, researchers, courts, law enforcement, and community groups. The Network has relationships with colleagues and organizations doing similar work internationally, such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, and experts in de-radicalization.

Ralph Benmergui

Ralph Benmergui is an award winning broadcaster, Strategic Communications professional and Ordained Spiritual Director, providing one-on-one focusing on personal and spiritual growth. Ralph works with progressive organizations on critical issues like climate change and creating livable, equitable and sustainable neighbourhoods, communities and regions. Ralph has a new book coming this fall published by Wolsak and Wynne, I Thought He Was Dead: A spiritual Memoir.

Mohamad Bsat
Staff Lawyer
Hamilton Community Legal Clinic

Mohamad Bsat (he/him) is a staff lawyer at HCLC that practices within the housing team. Mohamad is passionate about community building and creating a society that functions from an anti-racist and anti-oppressive framework. Mohamad is a member of a number of ARAO initiatives, including: the anti-racism and anti-oppression steering committee within the legal clinic, Association of Community Legal Clinics of Ontario anti-racism advisory committee, and the Fast and Female Anti-racism and Respect committee. Mohamad is also a member of the Queer Justice Project/Trans ID clinic and has been featured on the recent Nike Canada campaign “you can’t stop us.”

Dr. Richard Douglass-Chin
Associate Professor
English/Women’s and Gender Studies
University of Windsor

Richard Douglass-Chin is an associate professor of English/Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Windsor. He is a founding member of Researchers, Academics and Advocates of Color for Equity in Solidarity, and has appeared on CBC and CTV to speak about anti-racism and new ways of thinking about white supremacy. He has facilitated Walls to Bridges classes comprised of both incarcerated and non-incarcerated students within prison spaces. He is currently co-creating an online Anti-Racism Bystander Intervention course to be launched in 2022. He is also curating a new historical kiosk for Griffin House that will help highlight the rich Black history of Hamilton. 

Lisa Emmons
photo credit: Jess Bullock

Emmons’ choreography is sharp…Filled with exquisite contradictions, movement here is contracted and stark, then suddenly lyrical and lovely.” Gary Smith, Hamilton Spectator. Emmons has been presented by Theatre Aquarius* (2020), Dance Works CoWorks (2017), Burlington Performing Arts Centre (2017), and Dance Matters (2020*, 2014), in addition to a number of productions in Toronto and across the GTA. Eilers has choreographed 18 works over a 12 year choreographic career. Emmons is currently a performer-in-residence at Hamilton Artists Inc. Art Gallery.

Emmons was an artist with the Burlington Whole Shebang (2014-2016) and is a lead facilitator of Andrea Nann’s Conscious Bodies Method. As an assistant to Andrea Nann in Memory is the History of Forgetting (Fall 2019) and assistant to Peggy Baker mounting MOVE (Winter 2019) Emmons gained insight into their respective processes. Emmons was nominated for a Hamilton Arts Award in 2019 for Dance and Performing Arts.

*canceled due to COVID-19

Novelette Gordon
Novelty Productions

Novelette Gordon is Jamaican born and Canadian grown.

A lover of life long learning, volunteering and filmmaking, Novelette enjoys strengthening all her muscles, especially her creative muscle in all her endeavours. She is an Educator by training, acquiring two BAs, B.Ed and M.Ed along her education journey. She has taught internationally in England and China.

Never one to be bored or inactive, Novelette is a member of four Toastmaster clubs where she’s served as, President, VP Education, VP Public Relations, and a Mentor for new members. She continues to make an impact developing her communication, speaking and leadership skill, appearing as a panellist, speaker, and being an entrepreneur as Founder of Novelty Productions a film company.

She loves to read and is on a mission to break her record from last year by reading 51 books this year.

Neha Gupta

Neha Gupta
HWDSB Human Rights and Equity Advisory Committee

Neha Gupta is a Grade 11 IB student from Westdale Secondary School in Hamilton. She is a science enthusiast and social innovator with the hopes of catalyzing change around equity-based issues.

Neha is the co-chair of the HWDSB Human Rights and Equity Advisory Committee and has been involved since its inception in 2018. The advisory committee works to represent student bodies and advocate for student voices in the areas of equity, diversity, inclusion, and human rights.

She is also the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Dimensions Magazine, a youth-led initiative to promote STEM awareness through publishing student work in accessible digital and online formats. As a TEDx speaker, she utilizes her passion for public speaking to work to empower youth by means of sharing ideas and learning from each others’ stories.

Koubra Haggar

Koubra Haggar is a student organizer and third year Human Behaviour student at McMaster University. She has been involved at different levels in her community since high school due to her passion for social justice and equity. In 2018, she was appointed by the government of Ontario as a Board of Governors Member for Ontario’s first independent French-language University set to open its doors in 2021, Université de l’Ontario-français, and continues to serve on the board. She is involved at several other levels in her communities through organizations such as Defund Hamilton Police Services and la FESFO (the Federation of Franco-Ontarian Youth).

Nona Houshiyarkhah

Nona Houshiyarkhah, 20 years old, lives in Tehran, Iran, where she’s a member of Alternative Motion Group. She currently studies Chemical Engineering in University. She has visited Hamilton and has family here, and hopes to visit again soon after the pandemic ends. Nona has been dancing for 6 years, and tries to learn as many styles as possible. Her favourite style is Contemporary, and her performance is in that style.

Rev. Victoria Ingram
First Unitarian Church of Hamilton

Rev. Victoria Ingram is the Minister of the First Unitarian Church of Hamilton.  This congregation has served Hamilton since 1889 as a community of liberal faith and an advocate for equity and justice.    

Miranda Jurilj

Miranda Jurilj
Public Education Coordinator

Miranda is the Public Education Coordinator at SACHA – Sexual Assault Centre (Hamilton and Area). In this role Miranda works with schools, community organizations, sports teams, faith groups, workplaces and anyone else interested in learning more about sexual violence prevention, the interconnectedness of sexual violence and oppression, and how to support survivors. Miran­da val­ues com­mu­ni­ty care, action, empow­er­ment, and knowl­edge shar­ing as tools to fight oppression and ending all forms of violence. Miran­da is a poet, intersectional fem­i­nist, planner, cook, and cat mom who is always excit­ed to meet new peo­ple and talk about resistance, solidarity, and community support!

Pauline Kajiura

Pauline Kajiura
Project Manager
Community Inclusion and Equity
City of Hamilton

Pauline Kajiura has a length of experience working toward racial and social equity in communities and workplaces, as an organizational leader, volunteer, activist, and musician.  

Pauline is Project Manager, Community Inclusion and Equity, at the City of Hamilton and leads the City’s Hate Prevention and Mitigation Initiative.  As a partner of Intersecting, she provides anti-racism and anti-oppression education and training. Previously, she has worked as Executive Director of Information Hamilton and Financial Coordinator of SACHA, the Sexual Assault Centre of Hamilton and Area.  

She has served on numerous boards and committees, such as the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion, Immigrants Working Centre, YWCA Hamilton, the National Association of Japanese Canadians Human Rights Committee, the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres, and as Chair of the City of Hamilton’s Committee Against Racism.

Pauline’s intersecting social locations, as a lesbian, Black, and Asian woman bring relevant perspectives to her anti-racism, anti-oppression work.  She holds a B.Sc. from McGill University and a GIS Specialist certificate from McMaster University and Mohawk College.  

Kim Katrin

Kim Katrin is an internationally acclaimed award winning educator, consultant & social entrepreneur. Recognized as one of The Root’s ‘Young Feminists to Watch’, celebrated as Canada’s National Youth Role Model. Since 2012, Kim has spoken on equity and social entrepreneurship at institutions across Canada and the US both on and offline to millions. From Ivy League institutions including Princeton, Stanford & Dartmouth to Canadian schools like McGill, UBC & Mount Allison. Kim has opened for the cultural scholar Cornel West at the University of California, delivered the keynote address at Historically Black Colleges’s Morehouse & Spelman and was a beloved speaker at LUSH headquarters. Collaborating with brands like Makeup Forever, Squarespace & Lululemon she has worked both internally and externally to innovate around inclusion.

Farheen Khan
Women’s Mosque of Canada

Farheen Khan is a senior level executive within the Not for Profit and Charitable sector. Her area of expertise is capacity building for not-for-profit and charitable organizations of all shapes and sizes. Farheen has worked with several organizations with a particular emphasis on supporting Black, Women and People of Colour led and serving organizations gain the knowledge, skills and systems required to be competitive and effective in offering programs and services to their respective communities.

Farheen has a background in Business Marketing and is a graduate of several leadership programs including the CITY Leaders Program, Maytree Foundation’s Leaders for Change, Civic Actions, DiverseCity Fellows and the Centre for Social Innovation’s Agents of Change programs. She is an excellent storyteller, as she is an author, has been a TV broadcaster (Azeeza Show) and continues to be an advocate in the media, speaking on matters of gender-based violence, islamophobia, equity, civil and human rights.

Today, in addition to her work and her advocacy efforts, Farheen is also the co-founder and Imama of the first Women’s Mosque of Canada, the Muslim Chaplain at Trent University and is one of the Founding Directors of the Azeeza for Women.

Caleb Kieffer
Research Analyst
Southern Poverty Law Center

Caleb Kieffer is a Research Analyst with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project where he tracks hate and extremism in the United States. Caleb has been with the Center for three years and is a subject matter expert on anti-immigration and Islamophobic networks operating in the country. His work is primarily featured at SPLC’s award-winning Intelligence Report and Hatewatch blog. Caleb’s research and reporting on hate groups has shown up in outlets like The Washington Post, The New York Times, as well as in U.S. Congressional testimony. Prior to joining SPLC, Caleb worked for the Center for New Community, a national civil rights organization based in Chicago that bridged research and advocacy to combat the hard-right’s attempts to undermine democracy. He is a graduate of DePaul University.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is the premier U.S. organization monitoring the activities of domestic hate groups and other extremists and is celebrating 50 years this August. It was founded in Montgomery Alabama by two civil rights lawyers to ensure that the promise of the Civil Rights movement became a reality for all.  The Intelligence Project tracks and exposes the activities of over sixteen hundred hate groups and other domestic extremists including the Ku Klux Klan, white nationalists, the neo-Nazi movement, and anti-government militias.

Robin Lacambra

As founder of GOODBODYFEEL Movement Studio, a for-profit small business prioritizing progressive values; host of the Empowered Embodiment Podcast; somatic coach; and social justice advocate, Robin believes that there is always an intersection worth exploring and sharing. She works to create and strengthen bridges between various industries and social causes, and in doing so, has developed the Sharing Privilege Online Course, as well as a 200 hour Teacher Training Program, focused on radical inclusivity and accessibility.

No matter the project, Robin’s work always comes back to the community: empowering people to believe in the importance of creating a culture filled with compassion so, in turn, it can fuel an environment of belonging for each and every body. 


Mayumi Lashbrook
photo credit: Hernani Sagra

Mayumi Lashbrook is an accomplished dance artist, choreographer, Co-Artistic Director, educator and arts administrator residing in Tkaronto (colonially known as Toronto), Ontario. She strives to increase connection, visibility and diversity in the Canadian arts landscape through on and off stage initiatives. She performs as a way to find connection, commonality and vulnerability in others. Mayumi is interested in choreography that communicates through dynamic, fluid, powerful, delicate, weighted, intricate and agile physicality.

Mayumi graduated from Ryerson University’s Theatre Performance Dance program, on the Dean’s list. She is the Co-Artistic Director of Hamilton’s Aeris Körper, a facilitator of Dreamwalker Dance’s Conscious Bodies methodology and Communications and Outreach Manager of the Canadian Dance Assembly. Her different roles are all encompassing and overlapping. This enables her to approach projects and communities with openness, curiosity, excellence, skill and with deep satisfaction.

Rabbi Hillel Lavery-Yisraëli
Beth Jacob Synagogue

Rabbi Hillel Lavery-Yisraëli was born and grew up in Vancouver, BC. He did most of his rabbinical training in Jerusalem, Israel, and lived there for 16 years. From 2012-2015 he served as chief rabbi of Gothenburg, Sweden. In July 2015 he returned to Canada to begin serving as the rabbi of Hamilton’s Beth Jacob Synagogue. In keeping with his position as rabbi, he is an activist for human rights, women’s rights, anti-racism, 2SLGBTQ+ rights and basic income. Rabbi Hillel is married to Yonah who is also a rabbi and an artist. He is the father of four children.

Yonah Lavery-Yisraeli

Yonah Lavery-Yisraeli (YTT 300) teaches yoga and meditation. In addition to asana, she is formally trained in yogic philosophy, which she continues to study with Dr. Shyam Ranganathan of York University. Her work as a yoga teacher is characterised by the investigation of philosophical inquiry through movement. Yonah is also an internationally-exhibited visual artist; her work has been shown in Israel (“Tosafot”), the United States (“JOMIX”), Austria and Germany (“Die weibliche Seite Gottes”), and Canada (“Imbas Forosnaí” at the Hamilton Public Library, “Talmud Illuminated” at the Rosenshein Museum).

David Legagneur
Francophone Program Contributor

David is a contributor to the Francophone program scheduled for Tuesday, May 18th at 6pm.

David Legagneur a toujours défendu un milieu exempt de toute discrimination. Il a écrit un livre intitulé : David Contre Goliath, le racisme systémique, une histoire à enrayer à tout prix où il a mis l’accent sur les différentes injustices dont les enseignants issus de la diversité doivent faire face. Il aime mener des actions pratiques et constructives pour l’épanouissement de la communauté.

Susciter un changement de comportement face au racisme systémique et à la discrimination

  • Sensibiliser les gens
  • Développer des habitudes afin de devenir des acteurs de changement.

Celeste Licorish
Access Program Manager
Office of Community Engagement
McMaster University

Celeste Licorish is McMaster University’s Access Program Manager in the Office of Community Engagement where she is building a program to assist underrepresented and underestimated students with post-secondary aspiration and attainment. 

She is passionate, motivated and strives to help students see their possibilities. Celeste also works within systems and institutions to change the values and beliefs that lead to inequitable outcomes; embedding processes to support and empower students to not only reach post-secondary but to be successful and thrive.

Celeste lives in Hamilton with her three daughters. She believes in the power of community and is an inspired advocate for positive change.

Shanika Maria

Shanika Maria [she/her] is a queer Black singer-songwriter, producer and musician. Her lyrics are contemplative, introspective, sometimes witty and heartbreakingly honest. She is influenced by music across genres, borrowing sounds and ideas from country, folk, jazz, classical, latin and electronic music. She is constantly exploring new styles, and ways of creating music.

Over her career, she has released two projects: Childish Games EP [2017] and Subtle Uncertainties LP [2019]. She explores themes about identity, relationships and mental illness creating a cohesive message over all of her projects. As a queer Black woman, she is forced to navigate and negotiates these questions in spaces, which has subtly and overtly come through her music.

Jocelyn Mattka

Jocelyn Mattka is a 17-year-old singer-songwriter and performer. She is graduating from Ancaster High School this June and is looking forward to attending university in September. Her performance career began at the age of six when she took part in the ballet The Nutcracker. Since then, Jocelyn has performed in a number of theatre productions, including Peter Pan (as Peter Pan) and Seussical the Musical (as Jojo) with Theatre Ancaster, To Kill a Mockingbird (as Scout) with the Hamilton Player’s Guild, and Footloose (as Ariel Moore) with Ancaster High School. Jocelyn joined ACTRA as a professional TV and film actor in 2018 after her appearance in the 2017 film “It” and her vocal work on Plan International’s “I am a Girl” campaign. Jocelyn currently dances at CDC Burlington and is a proud member of their Performance Company. Additionally, Jocelyn has been studying music since she was 9 and holds RCM certificates up to level 8 theory and level 7 practical for piano. She has passions both for writing and music, which she loves to combine in songwriting. Jocelyn is ecstatic to be sharing some of her original music at Listen Learn Act as well as covering some of her favourite artists!

Rowa Mohamed
Roots to Justice
Disability Justice Network of Ontario

Rowa Mohamed is a community organizer working in Hamilton Ontario. She has a background in Health Science and understanding food security. She is one of the coordinators for the DJNO program Roots to Justice which aims to achieve sustainable access through food sovereignty.

Varsha Naik
Executive Director
Regional Diversity Roundtable

Varsha Naik has led The Regional Diversity Roundtable (RDR) as executive director since September 2017. Prior to that she sat on the chair at the Regional Diversity Roundtable for over 5 years and is one of the founding members of the RDR. She is also an experienced community advocate and served as the pioneer community liaison coordinator for the peel district school board for over 12 years. She was instrumental in introducing Faith Forward initiative at the pdsb. RDR is committed to building inclusion through anti-racist, anti-oppressive , diversity competence that results in institutionalization of equity in the core values, structures, workforces, policies and services of the public and human services sectors in Peel Region. The RDR aims to build capacity through training, workshops, conferences, and community conversations alongside offering multiple other DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) resources to ensure organizations are equipped to serve a diverse clientele and ensure communities are reflected in all aspects of organizations. Varsha has led two community workshops in DEI in Hamilton over the last few years resulting in Hamilton leaders starting to discuss a city-wide strategy. 

Never Gonna Stop (NGS)

RALPH: Born august 15, 2002 in LA, California. He has a big family including 9 siblings and wonderful parents that love him, he has done music his whole life, with his mother being a singer and his father being a musician, he started singing at the age of 4 and hasn’t stopped ever since, he loves to be happy and never loses a smile, a big inspiration of his is Michael Jackson, and his older brother who is also a rapper, because of him RALPH had the thought of recording and releasing music and being in the business for the rest of his life, his love for people is wide and his love for music is wider and he’ll always remember that no matter what anything is possible!!

Wavy spent the majority of his childhood in Haiti, where he faced many hardships such as homelessness and hunger, and would use music to cope and escape reality. After moving to Canada, he started pursuing music seriously and now wishes to share his experiences with the rest of the world in pursuit of instilling hope and inspiring others.

Jyssika Russell

Originally from Ottawa, Jyssika Russell has been an active member of Hamilton’s 2SLGBTQIA+ communities since they came out ten years ago. After the closure of all 2SLGBTQIA+ spaces in Hamilton in 2015, they founded speqtrum Hamilton, a youth-led and focused 2SLGBTQIA+ community organization in 2017. They are a member of Hamilton Queers Against Hate collective, and have coordinated counter-hate rallies, protests and events, directly combatting homophobic and transphobic actors in Hamilton. They have advocated for 2SLGBTQIA+ inclusion and youth voice in multiple spheres, including the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, the City of Hamilton, and as Chair of the Queer and Trans Youth Collaborative, a collection of queer and trans youth-serving agencies and organizations in Hamilton.

Lindsay Schubiner
Momentum Program
Western States Center

Lindsay Schubiner directs Western States Center’s Momentum program to counter the dangerous ascension of white nationalism across the country. Since joining the Center, she has led the development of a number of initiatives to strengthen democratic responses to organized bigotry, including a fellowship program to train new leaders, the promotion of municipal resolutions condemning white nationalist activity adopted to date by elected officials in four communities, rapid-response interventions, a research tool for journalists and community leaders on the anti-immigrant movement, and a robust schedule of professional and community trainings. Lindsay has provided commentary for PBS NewsHour, the New York Times, NPR, and the Washington Post, among other outlets. Lindsay holds a Master’s degree from Harvard’s School of Public Health and previously worked for the Center for New Community and the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Western States Center is based in the Pacific Northwest and Mountain States and works nationwide to strengthen inclusive democracy so all people can live, love, worship and work free from fear. It does this by: strengthening the organizing capacity of often-marginalized communities; providing training, leadership development, and organizational capacity support to social movements and leaders committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion;  convening culture-makers to shift the narrative and use culture as a vehicle for base- and power-building in non-traditional social change spaces; and, assisting communities and civil society to effectively respond to social movements that exploit bigotry and intolerance.

Dr. Priya Sharda

Priya Sharda has conducted numerous workshops and training sessions on hate crime and related topics to educators, law enforcement, community services and educational institutions. She’s an educator who has worked both in, and with the not-for-profit sector and government organizations, developing policies and programs focusing on diversity, inclusion and equity. Priya has worked predominantly in Hamilton. She’s also been a Program and Outreach Coordinator, as well as a Counsellor in the former Hate Crimes Prevention Program with the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion. She is currently a member of the Ontario Police College Community of Practice – Responding to Hate Motivated Incidents & Violent Extremism in Canada, with experts from around the province. Her research and work have largely focused on women’s issues, human rights and anti-racism.

Dr. Pamela Swett
Dean, Faculty of Humanities
McMaster University

Pamela Swett, dean of the Faculty of Humanities, received her undergraduate training at Bryn Mawr College and completed her graduate degrees at Brown University. Her research and teaching interests lie in 20th-century German and European social and cultural history.

She has received research grants from the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada

She has authored several books including Selling under the Swastika: Advertising and Commercial Culture in Nazi Germany and Neighbors and Enemies: The Culture of Radicalism in Berlin, 1929-1933. She is the co-editor of Pleasure and Power in Nazi Germany and Selling Modernity: Advertising in Twentieth Century Germany.

From 2017 until her appointment as dean, Swett was the Faculty’s associate dean of graduate studies and research, and from 2011 to 2017 served as chair of the Department of History.

Vandana Verma
Just One Wish Kindness Program

Vandana Verma is a teacher with the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board.  Since starting at Prince of Wales Elementary School, Vandana has worked with staff, parents, volunteers and students on many projects to create a positive school climate. In 2013 she began the “Just One Wish Kindness Program” with the goal of helping everyone realize that they have the power to make positive change happen. Over the years, the Just One Wish Kindness Program has grown into character education lessons, books, Kindness Awards and a puppet talk called Let’s Talk Kindness. Her goal is to bring out more kindness in people. She believes that kindness, to ourselves, others and the environment, is the solution to all the world’s problems.  The more kindness there is, the better our world will be for all living things.

Jessica Vinluan

Jessica Vinluan
Hamilton Art Council / Redefine Twenty / Filipinas of HamOnt

Jessica Vinluan (she/her) is an educator and life-long learner. Born and raised in Hamilton, she fell in love with arts. She is currently Hamilton Art Council’s Outreach and Communications Coordinator and chair of the recent community committee focused on bridging the gaps in communication, digital accessibility, and inclusion. She is a Brock University graduate, with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and a Bachelor of Education. During teachers’ college, Jessica founded Redefine Twenty, a collective dedicated to community and education for youth and BIWOC. In 2020, she co-founded Filipinas Of HamOnt, a decolonial feminist, equity-seeking, anti-racist iniative, by Filipinas for Filipinas. She recently completed Juno’s Web Development course striving to learn how to make digital platforms accessible.

Syrus Marcus Ware

Syrus Marcus Ware

Syrus is a Vanier Scholar, visual artist, activist, curator and educator. Syrus is an Assistant Professor at the School of the Arts, McMaster University. Syrus uses drawing, installation and performance to explore social justice frameworks and black activist culture. His work has been shown widely, including in a solo show at Grunt Gallery, Vancouver (2068:Touch Change) and new work commissioned for the 2019 Toronto Biennial of Art and the Ryerson Image Centre (Antarctica and Ancestors, Do You Read Us? (Dispatches from the Future)) and in group shows at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Art Gallery of York University, the Art Gallery of Windsor and as part of the curated content at Nuit Blanche 2017 (The Stolen People; Wont Back Down).  His performance works have been part of festivals across Canada, including at Cripping The Stage (Harbourfront Centre, 2016, 2019), Complex Social Change (University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, 2015) and Decolonizing and Decriminalizing Trans Genres (University of Winnipeg, 2015). 

He is part of the PDA (Performance Disability Art) Collective and co-programmed Crip Your World: An Intergalactic Queer/POC Sick and Disabled Extravaganza as part of Mayworks 2014. Syrus’ recent curatorial projects include Thats So Gay (Gladstone Hotel, 2016-2019), Re:Purpose (Robert McLaughlin Gallery, 2014) and The Church Street Mural Project (Church-Wellesley Village, 2013). Syrus is also co-curator of The Cycle, a two-year disability arts performance initiative of the National Arts Centre.

Syrus is a core-team member of Black Lives Matter- Toronto. Syrus is a co-curator of Blackness Yes!/Blockorama. Syrus has won several awards, including the TD Diversity Award in 2017. Syrus was voted “Best Queer Activist” by NOW Magazine (2005) and was awarded the Steinert and Ferreiro Award (2012). Syrus is an ABD PhD candidate at York University in the Faculty of Environmental Studies. He is the co-editor or the best-selling Until We Are Free: Reflections on Black Lives Matter in Canada (URP, 2020)

Gary Warner
Francophone Program Contributor

Gary is a contributor to the Francophone program scheduled for Tuesday, May 18th at 6pm.

Gary Warner est un professeur émérite de l’Université McMaster qui a aussi été actif dans la communauté de Hamilton depuis plus de 45 ans sur des questions liées au développement international, à la paix, à la pauvreté, aux droits de la personne, à l’antiracisme, à l’immigration et à la justice sociale. Il a dirigé en 2019 la planification de la conférence parrainée par le Gandhi Peace Festival à Hamilton sur la lutte contre la haine.

Rev’d Garfield Wu
Rector & Missioner
St. Luke’s Anglican Church, Palermo

Rev’d Garfield Wu was born in the mainland of China, where he lived for over 30 years. He was an engineer, a project manager and an entrepreneur. He attended Trinity College at the University of Toronto in 2014 and graduated with a Master’s degree in Theological Studies and a Diploma of Ministry in 2017. He was ordained into the Anglican Church of Canada in February 2018.

Garfield serves as the rector at St Luke’s in Oakville and as the Anglican Chinese Missioner in the Anglican Diocese of Niagara. 

He currently resides in Burlington with his wife Aileen and their two lovely boys, Philip and Andrew. 

Garfield can be reached at or 905-825-3364 ext. 81.