Organize BC is a collaborative project: our community of over a dozen trainers is spread across the province. Here is just a small sample of our people.
Peter first realized he had to do something about climate change while reading ‘The Lorax’ by Dr Seuss to groups of children, on a mossy rock in the Sooke Hills, as part of an environmental program at a summer camp. Since 2008, he’s been a community organizer on campaigns for voting reform, to block oil tanker traffic expansion and to push the University of Victoria to divest from fossil fuels. In 2017, he was a Teaching Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, coaching and supporting organizers around the world running local campaigns. He's been a Co-Director at Organize BC since 2015, and is currently on the Board of Directors and fundraising team at the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre. At some point in there he became a trained chef. He lives on unceded Songhees and Esquimalt Territory in Victoria, and spends a lot of time kayaking.
When Laura walks, she treads lightly on the unceded land of the Qayqayt. Her hometown is New Westminster and she often reflects that it has been a connecting place for thousands of years. She finds as much time as possible to feel for and listen to that connection. It has been best felt when organizing in her own community around sense of place and isolation, language preservation, heritage reform, and indigenous solidarity. That same feeling and listening has fuelled her organizing work in the disability sector at Kudoz and her studies in Anthropology. She’s learned to inform system design and community connections. Most of all she has learned that a great partnership is what makes a project real and possible. People power.
She took this understanding forward and created her own non-profit, Populous Map. The goal being to make historical research accessible while maintaining autonomy and privacy in the stories people share. She sees reciprocity as a necessary outcome of good anthropological work and brings these themes and learnings into her role at Organize BC.
We have a pool made up of organizers across BC. Here's a few of them!
As a child, Tahia began interpreting the world for her mother as they navigated through unfamiliar places in the way that migrants in search of a new home often do. It was in these turbulent times that she discovered her power as an advocate and her passion for justice. Tahia has since committed herself to building resilience by bringing communities together. For nearly a decade, she has been working with youth across BC through the arts, popular education, and community organizing. Currently, Tahia also works in collaboration with anti-Islamophobia advocates to create safe spaces for Muslims and provide opportunities for dialogue and solidarity. Along the way, Tahia has picked up skills as a mediator, poet, and a doula. She trusts in the words of Arundhati Roy, “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing”.
Natasha is a facilitator, consultant, educator and coach, in diversity, equity, inclusion, & social justice. Her work includes inclusive leadership, intercultural competence, emotional intelligence, critical thinking, transformative organisational development, equity, social justice and anti-oppression, specifically exploring power and privilege and addressing systemic change. She creates spaces for all voices and supports dialogue, often difficult and courageous, across difference, on topics that are usually avoided, taboo and challenging. She has worked with government, union, non-profit, community and corporate sectors, in the UK, Europe, Canada, and the USA, specifically in the areas of education, healthcare, public sector, community services and the environment.
When a pine beetle outbreak -- caused by climate change -- destroyed the forests in the Okanagan Valley where Jolan grew up, he decided he had to do something. He joined the climate justice movement, working to build opposition to tarsands pipelines in B.C. After watching the Harper government systematically undermine environmental protection and climate action, he joined Leadnow, where he helped design the organizing strategy for the Vote Together campaign, which helped defeat the Conservatives in the 2015 election. In 2016, Jolan led a successful organizing drive at Leadnow, achieving certification with BCGEU.
Anna started her environmental life out in the technocratic world - studying to be an environmental engineer then adding economic management and policy studies to a trip around the world. She came home inspired by the democratic defeat of Harper, and potential for Canada to take climate leadership in a world becoming more desperate for it. She quickly discovered that all was not what it seemed at home. Organizing found her in the winter of 2016, underemployed and frustrated, and brought her into her first volunteer role in a people powered campaign - she hasn’t turned from organizing since. Anna is always looking for new and established ways to engage, to build community capacity, and get organized together to win big in the ways that our planet needs us to. She currently works with the Georgia Strait Alliance to build a Fossil Fuel Moratorium and loves Booster workshops.
Jackie is an educator and facilitator with a passion for building an equitable and sustainable world. She designs and facilitates leadership development, social justice, strategic planning, health care advocacy and facilitation skills programs. A faculty member with the Inner Activist Education Program, she supports change makers and activists to lead with authenticity, emotional intelligence and a commitment to dismantling systems of power and privilege. With Natasha Aruliah she co-facilitates anti-oppression and inclusive movement-building workshops. She also co-leads The Work That Reconnects (inspired by Joanna Macy): a deep exploration of our emotional, spiritual and ecological connection to all life on Earth. Jackie has been active in social justice and environmental change for over 40 years.
Mary moved from rural Turkey back to Vancouver in 2014, inspired and motivated by people in her home province who thought they could stop the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline (which they did!). She discovered organizing and has not been the same since. She worked at Dogwood as a Provincial Organizer and Training Coordinator to develop teams and leaders to block pipeline expansion and ban big money in BC politics. She worked at the BC NDP as Training and Volunteer Coordinator in the lead up to the 2017 election. Mary is now working on the Salmon Beyond Borders campaign to protect the BC-Alaska transboundary region's wild salmon rivers. She is happy to be a trainer at Organize BC, where she can put her teaching background into practice and reflect on how we do this work. Off the side of her desk, Mary runs Language Partners BC, to bring together Vancouver neighbours to improve language fluency and build community. Her ideal day involves hiking with close friends and eating snacks.
In Grade 9, Anna participated in a sleep-in outside the Principal's Office at her high school to demand the school administration allow the drama club to travel on a school bus over a mountain pass in the middle of a snowstorm to the Regional Drama Festival. Their campaign was a success (or maybe the snowstorm just ended…), and her commitment to taking collective action to make change was born. Since then, Anna has run trainings on anti-oppression and environmental justice in Alberta, challenged young people to question their role as social changemakers at the Pearson Seminar on Youth Leadership, and coordinated Skills for Solidarity, an online program that opened up a conversation about the shared history between Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous Peoples in Canada. She lives in Victoria, BC where she enjoys paddling her canoe, and riding her bike, Betty.
Anna McKenzie is a Swampy Cree member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation with roots in the Métis community in Saskatchewan. She has been living on the unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Wauthuth nations for 6 years. A graduate of UBC’s First Nations and Indigenous Studies bachelors program, Anna’s work has largely centered around supporting Indigenous youth in foster care. She has worked as a program coordinator for the Culturally Relevant Urban Wellness Program (CRUW), which brings Indigenous youth to the UBC Farm to engage with the land through gardening. Other program involvement has taken place at the Urban Native Youth Association and Watari Youth Counselling Services, and the Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health. Youth empowerment and engagement has prompted Anna to explore creative facilitation, which she applies within her role as a Strategic Engagement and Communications Associate at Castlemain Group, an Indigenous Advisory firm. Anna works to stay engaged with community through one-to-one youth support while also working towards impacting policy for youth aging out of care in BC.
Jorge is working as Project Director of the Inner Activist, a project of Tides Canada. The Inner Activist is a leadership education program that is part of a global movement rooted in social justice, equity, self-awareness and our place in nature. Jorge also co-founded in partnership with immigrant and refugee youth and allies, the Fresh Voices Initiative with Vancouver Foundation in 2011, where he worked as Project Manager until 2016. Fresh Voices gathers a network of more than 200 migrant youth to address systemic issues and create opportunities by advocating for policy change in BC.
Jorge came to Canada as a refugee from Colombia in late 2000. He uses his own immigration journey, life experiences, training and education to bridge communities and facilitate positive change within government, organizations and grassroots groups. Jorge has been supporting connections between young people from diverse communities in BC, Canada and the Americas for more than 15 years. He has worked with Immigrant Services Society of BC, MOSAIC, the International Institute for Child Rights and Development - University of Victoria, City of Vancouver, the Ecumenical Task Force for Justice in the Americas and PeerNet BC. Most of the projects he is involved with are about opening spaces for inclusive facilitation, and youth and community empowerment within an anti-oppression framework. He promotes strong community connections, between diverse communities, particularly between indigenous, immigrants and refugees among others.
Brittany's a senior campaigner at Leadnow. She began during the 2015 election doing digital acquisition on the Vote Together campaign to defeat Harper, then ran the org's campaign against the Trans-Pacific Partnership. While she still holds the trade file, she also leads on Rapid Response campaigning to serve Leadnow's impact, growth, and fundraising objectives.
Her background is in human rights work. She’s worked with NGOs, grassroots groups, and the United Nations on a variety of issues – from women’s rights to monitoring state violence – in places like Canada, Bangladesh, and Palestine.
Rachel joined Leadnow in 2015, and hit the ground running with a massive face to face organizing effort that helped defeat the Harper Conservatives. Since then, Rachel has been working with teams on the ground to build capacity and coordinate collective action in key moments: canvassing at farmers markets, flooding government consultation processes, showing up at MPs offices, hitting the streets with National Days of Action in communities from coast to coast to coast, or delivering thousands of petition signatures to decision makers. Rachel is always looking for new ways to support, cultivate and empower the Leadnow network of local organizers so we can amplify our impact and continue to build our capacity for the long haul.
Celine felt really shook up when she started experiencing earthquakes at her farm near Dawson Creek, a result of nearby hydraulic fracking without consent or consultation from her family or neighbours. Celine committed to empowering British Columbians to organize in order to defend the places and systems that sustain us. Before becoming the Lead Organizer at Organizing for Change, where she runs a three month coaching, training and campaign support program called Campaign Accelerator, she spent seven years with Dogwood Initiative where she helped build the fiercest constituency of grassroots environmental and political organizers the province has ever seen! She’s a political nerd, deer hunting and mushroom foraging enthusiast and is known for going on epic road trips with her husky dog, Loup.