IDERD Award Recipients 2019

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Portrait photo of Janelle Baptiste-Brady, PhD Student and Coordinator, Centre Integrative Anti-Racism Studies

Janelle Baptiste-Brady

PhD Student and Coordinator, Centre Integrative Anti-Racism Studies (CIARS)
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
University of Toronto

Janelle Baptiste-Brady is a community organizer and doctoral candidate at OISE. Her thesis focuses on Black mothering in education. She works to champion anti-racism work through her scholarly and community contributions.

Janelle is an active member of the University of Toronto community where she is currently a Coordinator for the Centre for Integrative Anti-Racism Studies (CIARS), operating out of OISE. She co-led the Decolonizing Conference, which is a 3-day conference with an international and local audience of over 600 and 1000 registrants in 2016 and 2018 respectively. The Decolonizing Conference has been recognized as the largest conference held at OISE and importantly addresses issues of anti-racism and equity through critical global scholarship and community organizing.

As a scholar, Janelle has written several peer-reviewed articles on anti-racism and its intersections in education. Her new co-edited book, Critical Schooling: Transformative theory and practice addresses issues of race and racism from anti-racist perspectives.

Introduced to the political landscape through grassroots organizing, Janelle has been an active member of the Ontario NDP where she has worked to mandate various equitable outcomes. In 2016, she was the youngest member and one of few racialized women to be elected as Vice President of the ONDP.

As an educator, Janelle has led many workshops, taught courses, facilitated critical initiatives at the school-board level and transferred theorization into the community.

Janelle Baptiste-Brady advances anti-racism by… showing her commitment to equity and transformative change through capacity-building in political, educational and community spaces, and aims to continuously bridge theory and practice through her work at CIARS and beyond.

Portrait photo of Jenny Blackbird Coordinator, Ciimaan/Kahuwe'ya/Qajaq Indigenous Language Initiative

Jenny Blackbird

Coordinator, Ciimaan/Kahuwe’ya/Qajaq Indigenous Language Initiative Program
Centre for Indigenous Studies

Jenny Blackbird (Nehiyaw and Finnish-Canadian) is an old-style jingle dress dancer, hand drummer/singer and a multi-disciplinary artist with a background in fashion design.

Jenny works at University of Toronto’s Centre for Indigenous Studies as Coordinator for the Ciimaan/Kahuwe’ya/Qajaq Indigenous Language Initiative program. She also works at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) as an Indigenous Knowledge Resource Teacher, conducting tours for student groups, as well as on-site outreach in the Daphne Cockwell First People’s Gallery.

Since 2008, Jenny has volunteered at the Aboriginal Legal Services (ALS) as Community Auntie for the Giiwedin Anang council, which supports Indigenous families who are navigating through the child welfare system. Jenny also sits on the ALS community council diversion program, as advisory committee and council member.

Jenny is producer and co-host of “Indigenous Waves”, a radio show which broadcasts live on Mondays at 6 PM on CIUT 89.5 FM, as well as the producer and co-host of The Women’s Hour radio show, Saturday mornings at 10 am on Radio Regent, an online radio station.

Jenny facilitates arts workshops in TDSB schools and has guest lectured at Ryerson’s School of Social Work, OISE and Indigenous Studies. She also guest lectured on hand drumming for winter term 2018 at the Faculty Of Music at U of T for the World Music Ensemble.

Jenny is the recipient of the 2016 “Culture Keeper” Minaake Award, granted by Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto.

Jenny Blackbird advances anti-racism by… advancing de-colonizing and reconciliation efforts within the University of Toronto and beyond.

Portrait photo of Mikhail Burke Dean’s Advisor on Black Inclusivity Initiatives and Student Inclusion & Transition Mentor

Mikhail Burke

Dean’s Advisor on Black Inclusivity Initiatives and Student Inclusion & Transition Mentor
Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering
University of Toronto

Mikhail Burke is the Dean’s Advisor on Black Inclusivity Initiatives and a Student Inclusion & Transition Advisor. Mikhail first entered the Faculty as an undergraduate student in 2008 where he completed his BASc in Materials Science and Engineering (2012) and his PhD in Biomedical Engineering (2018).

During his time as a student, Mikhail was involved with the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) U of T Chapter where he served as Chapter President in 2010 and cofounded (in collaboration with the Engineering Outreach Office) a STEM outreach camp for Black elementary students known as ENGage.

As the Dean’s advisor on Black Inclusivity Initiatives, Mikhail serves on several equity, diversity and inclusivity (EDI) committees and action groups which seek to build upon the diverse and inclusive culture goals of the Faculty. As Co-chair of the Black Inclusion Steering Committee, he is guiding efforts to assess barriers of access, inclusion and success for current and prospective Black students, staff and faculty and providing actionable recommendations to address said barriers.

As the Student Inclusion & Transition Advisor, Mikhail acts as first point of contact for students who may be experiencing barriers to their transition into and inclusion within U of T Engineering; providing individualized support and/or coordinating with other support services, student groups, staff and/or faculty to address raised issues.

Mikhail Burke advances anti-racism by… by addressing anti-Black racism and raising awareness about racial discrimination within the University of Toronto Engineering community.

Portrait photo of Seán Kinsella Coordinator of Residential Transition Programs

Seán Kinsella

Coordinator of Residential Transition Programs
Student Housing & Residence Life
University of Toronto Mississauga

Seán Kinsella is a Crip, queer/two-spirit (aayahkwew) êkâ ê-akimiht nêhi(y/th)aw/otipemisiwak/Nakawé/Irish person with wahkohtowin connections to what are now known as Treaty 6 territories as well as James Bay Cree.

They grew up as a guest on Williams Treaty territories and did an undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo.

Since 2010, Seán has worked at the University of Toronto Mississauga in Student Housing & Residence Life and in particular has contributed to anti-racism and Indigenous education through the Waawaahte Northern Lights Initiative (WNLI) which allows Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, staff and faculty to access Indigenous knowledge keepers and teachings in a decolonial land-based setting.

Seán has also served on a number of committees related to Indigenous inclusion, curriculum, and awareness (including Co-Chairing the Working Group for Students under the TRC Steering Committee for the University of Toronto) and has regularly presented within U of T and internationally on land-based praxis and Two Spirit identities. Seán also served for several years as the Co-Chair and Executive Director of the Peel Aboriginal Network Indigenous Friendship Centre connecting UTM with Indigenous agencies in the Peel Region. Seán is also a faculty member of Centennial College, teaching in their Indigenous studies stackable credential and a member of the Titiesg Wîcinímintôwak Bluejays Dancing Together Collective.

Seán Kinsella advances anti-racism by… raising awareness about Indigenous identities and resiliency (especially around Two Spirit identities) on all three campuses and in particular promoting Indigenous knowledge and ceremonies, creating space for future generations of marginalized students, staff and faculty at the University of Toronto.

Portrait photo of Hana Lee Associate Registrar, Admissions and Registration

Hana Lee

Associate Registrar, Admissions and Registration
Faculty of Medicine
University of Toronto

Hana Lee’s passion for admissions and community engagement can be traced back to her time at the University as an undergraduate student. Holding various leadership positions in the University College Residence Council, Hana has collaborated with stakeholders from diverse backgrounds with the goal of creating a welcoming space for everyone in the community.

With great passion for U of T and community engagement, Hana has continued on a path to recruit, admit, and support exceptional undergraduate students to the U of T community. As the Associate Registrar, Admissions and Registration at the Faculty of Medicine, Hana as taken on a leadership role in identifying and responding to opportunities and challenges emerging in the health professions admissions area.

More recently, Hana worked closely with the Faculty of Medicine leadership to recruit and engage community members from various locations in the Greater Toronto Area to ensure that multiple and diverse perspectives are represented in the admissions process as admissions committee members, file reviewers, interviewers, and trainers.

Hana takes leadership roles in challenging existing systemic barriers in the admissions area, including administration of special application streams (Indigenous Student Application Program and Black Student Application Program), development of unconscious bias training for admissions raters, and engaging medical school admissions colleagues at national conferences as a speaker.

Hana Lee advances anti-racism by… challenging existing systemic barriers for underrepresented students in the admissions area.

Portrait photo of Inioluwa Deborah Raji Undergraduate Student

Inioluwa Deborah Raji

Undergraduate Student
Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering
University of Toronto

Deborah Raji is a senior in the Engineering Science program at the University of Toronto, majoring in the Robotics Option. She spent her Professional Experience Year (PEY) as a Machine Learning Engineering intern at Clarifai, a leading computer vision startup. She later became involved in AI research, working closely with Joy Buolamwini of the MIT Media Lab on several projects to highlight cases of bias in computer vision. Her first-author work with Joy, which highlighted the intersecting racial and gender biases in facial-recognition software, has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Verge, Venture Beats, National Post, EnGadget, Toronto Star and won the Best Student Paper Award at the ACM/AAAI Conference for AI Ethics & Society.

Her enthusiasm for coding also led her to found the student initiative, Project Include, which aims to provide summer coding bootcamps for hundreds of middle school students in low income communities in the Greater Toronto Area and Ecuador. Project Include provides a space to teach and interact with children, many of them racialized, to nurture curiosity for technology and empower them to pursue further study in the field. She has presented multiple times on the topic of Machine Bias, at events run by Fast Company’s Innovation summit, Women Who Code NYC, Girls Make Apps, and AI4All and is now a mentee in Google AI’s flagship research mentorship cohort, working with their Ethical AI team. She continues to bring strong ethics and an equity lens to her work and contributes to a more equitable society.

Deborah Raji advances anti-racism by… highlighting racial and gender biases imbued in technology, and empowering underrepresented racialized groups within the tech space and the broader community.

Portrait photo of Henry Ssali Office Assistant/Receptionist

Henry Ssali

Office Assistant/Receptionist
Office of the President
University of Toronto

Henry Ssali is one of many University of Toronto’s dynamic global citizens. He is an engaged graduate student, committed staff and compassionate volunteer. Currently completing his Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Policy at OISE, he is widely known as a proficient innovative leader with a passion for social justice and fairness.

Henry is a recipient of the 2019 Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Award for his exceptional service as Executive Vice-President, Leadership Higher and Adult Education, Department Students Association (LHAE, DSA) and his other roles as the GSA Chair for the Finance Committee and GSA Representative to the UTGSU.

He is the Founder and Executive Director of the University of Toronto African Alumni Association through which he created The GOWN: African Scholars Awards, a distinguished platform for acknowledging African excellence within the university community and beyond.

Henry is a Student Delegate for the OISE Special Committee on Constitutional Revisions and currently serves as the Treasurer for the 2019 Black Graduation Celebration Organizing Committee. He is a sports enthusiast who also enjoys partaking in various political discussions to broaden his understanding of pertinent issues. In summer 2018, he participated in the RBC’s RACE FOR THE KIDS run, supporting youth mental health at Sunnybrook Hospital.

Henry Ssali advances anti-racism by… advancing and honouring the experiences of African students, staff, faculty and alumni at the University of Toronto and beyond.

Group photo of Mental Health on the Margins
Members include: Katrina Hui, Elaine Bradley, Aarti Rana, Beverly Guan, Zenita Alidina, Zainab Furqan

Mental Health on the Margins

University of Toronto

Mental Health on the Margins (MHOTM) is an organization founded and run by a group of psychiatry residents at the University of Toronto.

MHOTM began in 2015 as an initiative with the purpose of providing a platform for discussion on important social justice topics that are often “at the margins” of the curriculum within healthcare education, specifically addressing populations that have been marginalized.

The group organize monthly meetings in downtown Toronto, where an invited speaker shares their expertise on a particular topic in a discussion-based session with members over a shared dinner. The goal is to create a safe space for members to share their thoughts and perspectives with one another, as a way of creating an interactive and thought-provoking educational experience that promotes inclusivity, diversity and equity. The sessions facilitate personal and professional growth for all participants, especially amongst the mental health care workers who attend. Through these meetings, the group promotes the delivery of compassionate, equitable and humanistic care.

Mental Health on the Margins advances anti-racism by…, breaking down barriers and including voices of lived experience in their events to promote the delivery of compassionate, equitable and humanistic care.

logo for the U of T Muslim Justice Collective
Members include: Aysha Ahmadjan, Lama Ahmed, Nooria Alam, Iman Bakkioui-Lahroussi, Ifrah Farah, Ahmed Hegazy, Khalood Kibria, Atif Khan, Habiba Maher, Aliza Rahman, Naima Raza, and Sofietou Sakho

Muslim Justice Collective

University of Toronto

The Muslim Justice Collective aims to cultivate a safer space for and by marginalized and politically engaged individuals who practice or identify with Islam through culture, family, ancestry, or spirituality. We understand Islam as an anti-colonial religion and as one that strongly condemns oppression and standing up against injustice. The purpose of this group is to provide healing, support and community and to serve as a site for learning, engagement and political action. This collective prioritizes creating open, meaningful and creative dialogue surrounding the intersecting identities of being Muslim and BIPOC2SLGBTQ +.

Muslim Justice Collective advances anti-racism by… building critical understanding, advocating and empowering students across the University to respond to the impact of racism on faith communities.

Portraits of the UTSC Connections & Conversations Local Executive Committee
Pictured left to right:
Top: Amorell Saunders N’Daw, Danielle Bannis, Kimberley Tull
Middle: Holly Andrews, Denise Lopes, Jeevan Kempson
Bottom: Kyomi Duncan-Hastings, Neil Chakraborty, Lisa Nagapen

UTSC Connections & Conversations

Local Executive Committee
University of Toronto Scarborough

Connections and Conversations (C&C) is a staff-driven initiative that provides a supportive network for racialized staff and allies. C&C began at the University of Toronto Scarborough as informal off-campus meetings among a small group of colleagues to discuss their experiences, especially their challenges, working at the university. This group evolved into a tri-campus affinity group prioritizing equity and applying an anti-racism and oppression frameworks to build professional development and mentorship opportunities for racialized staff.

The UTSC Executive Committee, comprises staff from various areas of expertise throughout the university, creates campus specific goals and initiatives in collaboration with campus leadership to address the needs and priorities of racialized staff towards fostering a supportive and inclusive environment. This dedicated team advocates for systemic change that can support the university’s equity mandate while also providing learning opportunities for racialized staff and allies. Previous events focused on a wide range of topics from professional development to networking and self-care with such events typically occurring once per semester.

Previous sessions include: Presenting Your Best Self, career development and networking; Addressing Interpersonal Microaggressions; Above the Salt, Self-Care Strategies for Racialized Staff.

UTSC Connections & Conversations advances anti-racism by… creating spaces for networking, allyship and promoting career development of racialized staff. C & C synthesizes outcomes and knowledge gleaned from the groups’ initiatives to recommend ways to eliminate institutional systemic barriers by working with all levels of administration at UTSC.