The Honourable Zanana L. Akande has worked towards equity in our society by addressing education, communications and the media, feminism, race relations and social change. She has worked as a teacher, consultant, and administrator in the public education system, and a lecturer at the university level, and continues to speak on issues of effective communication, social change, community development, and women. Zanana has worked in the media with MTV, and was the co-founder of TigerLily, a magazine giving voice to the perspectives of women of colour.
Elected to the Ontario Legislature in 1990, she was appointed Minister of Community and Social Services, thus becoming the first black woman to hold a cabinet position in Ontario. A community advocate, she has served on the boards of many organizations, including the YWCA of Toronto, the United Way of Greater Toronto, the Family Services Association, as Governor of Centennial College and as President of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations and Harbourfront Centre. Currently, she sits as a Board member of Factory Theatre, and of Toronto Community Foundation, while continuing to serve on the Partnership Steering Committee of the Youth Challenge Fund.
Zanana has been the recipient of many awards including the African Canadian Achievement Award for Education, and the Lifetime Achievement Award; the Onyx Award for Exemplary Service to Community, the Community Builder Award for Exemplary Professional and Community Service, the Arbor Award from the University of Toronto, the Human Rights Award from the Centennial Foundation, and the Constance C. Hamilton Award from the City of Toronto.
A. Michael Allcott, Ph.D. is the Director of the Trent International Program (TIP). He is an award-winning teacher who has facilitated cross-cultural trainings all around the world, including for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. Currently serving as Associate Registrar at Trent, Mike is also an Honorary Associate Professor in the English Department.
Julie Bothwell is currently in the process of launching a consulting/facilitation business that will focus on First Nation Awareness, Cultural Sensitivity Training as well as, Personal and Professional development and wellness.
As a Proud Anishnaabe and Scottish Woman, Julie has first hand experience with the effects of Prejudice and Racism.
As a mother of 4 residing in Alderville First Nation, along with her Cree Partner she works very hard at breaking the cycle of violence and long term effects of cultural genocide and generational trauma. Having over 15 yrs of front-line experience working with First Nation Children and their Families in First Nation organizations, with most recently leaving the area of Family Violence from an Aboriginal Women's Shelter; Julie is very compassionate about this Topic of Understanding Bias and Building Community Capacity.
Constable Thomas Decker is currently assigned to the Toronto Police Service Community Mobilization Unit.
He holds two graduate degrees from the University of Vienna, a Masters in Applied Linguistics and a Masters in Ancient Near Eastern History. Constable Decker joined the Toronto Police Service in 2003 and has worked in divisional policing, specialized Traffic Services, and in 2007 was appointed the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Liaison Officer for the Toronto Police Service.
In consultation with leading LGBT community groups, he has been actively involved in raising awareness surrounding issues of homophobia in the context of bullying and harassment in Canadian Schools. He has worked in close co-operation with the Safe School Action Team on efforts to reduce homophobic and gender-based victimization. In close collaboration with the Toronto Police Hate Crimes Unit, he has worked to increase the rate of reporting of hate crimes against members of the LGBT community. He has also focused on LGBT youth suicide prevention and on continually enhancing police response to same-sex domestic violence and partner abuse.
He has been instrumental in the development of the award-winning RHVP Program - Report Homophobic Violence, Period. RHVP is a community-based hate crime reporting and prevention program. This program has spread throughout the Province and has been received with great interest both nationally and internationally.
He has lectured extensively on crime prevention issues affecting the LGBT community throughout North America, Australia, and New Zealand.
Joyce Drouin is the Ottawa Police Service GLBT Liaison Committee Coordinator and Elder Abuse Prevention Coordinator with the EARRS (Elder Abuse Response and Referral Service) program at Nepean Rideau Osgoode Community Resource Centre in Ottawa.
She was the crisis line/ volunteer coordinator for the Women's Sexual Assault of Renfrew County for over seven years prior to moving to Prince Edward Island where she worked with the Aboriginal Women's Association of PEI on a project called Creating Safer Communities.
In 2006 Joyce coordinated a conference and media campaign on Homophobia and Hate Crimes in Rural Renfrew County. This project was funded by the Ministry of the Attorney General after the Member of Parliament for that area organized an anti- Same Sex Marriage Rally. The conference and media campaign focused on making Renfrew County a safer place to live and invited allies to be a part of this change. A successful conference made front page news coverage and hosted over 150 delegates with representation from all of the eight law enforcement services in the area. For the largest county in Ontario that has no lesbians or gays, this was a big feat.
She brings with her first hand experience working with law enforcement and first responders advocating for services that are respectful and sensitive to the diverse needs of the communities she resides in.
Katherine Hensel is a Secwepemc (Shuswap) barrister practicing law in Toronto, with Stockwoods LLP. She represents First Nations clients throughout Ontario and Canada in litigation, including land disputes, the defence of Aboriginal and treaty rights, child welfare proceedings, commercial disputes and election and membership disputes under the Indian Act. She graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 2002 and was called to the bar in 2003. She was Assistant Commission Counsel to the Ipperwash Inquiry (2004-2007). She is adjunct faculty with the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, teaching various courses concerning Aboriginal peoples and the law. She is frequently asked to speak and teach on litigation and policy issues concerning First Nations people.
Saleha Khan is an instructor with the Race Relations and Adult Education Unit at the Ontario Police College. Her areas of expertise include social justice, human rights and responsibilities, hate crimes, and the settlement sector's challenges and opportunities with new Canadians. Saleha has a degree in business specializing in Human Resources and Personnel management and post-grad work in Adult Education and Professional Development. Saleha also has the Diversity Professional Certification from the USA. She has worked in the human capital and diversity field for the past nine years. She has volunteered with child and youth organizations that focus on bullying and the protection of children from dangers of the Internet. She is also involved in volunteer efforts in empowering women and members of immigrant communities regarding issues of partner and domestic abuse.
Detective Brett Kemp has been a member York Regional Police for 11 years and is currently assigned as the Detective in charge of the Hate Crime Unit. Some of his previous assignments include; Criminal Investigations Bureau where he specialized in hate crime/bias investigations and sexual assault investigations. He was also previously assigned to the Two District Community Orientated Response Unit and Two District Uniform Patrol. He has also been temporarily assigned to York Regional Police Homicide Unit, Drugs and Vice Unit and Auto Recovery Unit to assist with investigative projects. His current assignment includes the responsibility to monitor all Hate/Bias Crime occurrences and Hate Propaganda occurrences in York Region. He is also the representative member for York Regional Police on the Provincial Hate Crime and Extremism Investigative Team (HCIET).
Dawn Berry Merriam has over 30 years experience in community planning. She was the City of Peterborough's first Manager of Social Planning. After leaving City Hall, she worked for 13 years with the local District Health Council, where she was the Associate Executive Director. During her work with the District Health Council, she worked with many community agencies to assist the Ministry of Health to develop a local planning presence and ensure that the Ministry understood the changing infrastructure of health and social services.
After leaving the District Health Council, she assumed the position of Manager of Support Services first for Marycrest Home for the Aged and then the recently built St. Joseph's At Fleming. During her 6 years with the facility her department included: Admissions and social services; Recreation; Pastoral care; Marketing; Therapy services; and Volunteers. Her role was to ensure that all of the social and spiritual services were in place to complement the physical care needs of the 200 residents.
Dawn has a strong affiliation with Trent. Her graduate studies was completed within the Canadian Studies department. Her thesis documented the role of community development used in health and social service planning. In 2006, Dawn returned to her roots of social planning and community development and assumed the position of Research & Policy Analyst with the Peterborough Social Planning Council.
Hamdi Mursal graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa in 2004 and was admitted to the bar of Ontario in 2005. She articled at Ottawa South Legal Clinic. While at Ottawa South Legal Clinic, she provided advice and representation to members of low-income communities on matters involving social assistance, housing, criminal injuries compensation, immigration, human rights, and employment law.
Following her articling, she joined the litigation department of Tibollo & Associates, a small boutique law firm in Toronto practising exclusively in the area of commercial and insolvency litigation, including contract disputes, fiduciary duties and creditors' rights.
In 2007 she joined the Ontario Human Rights Commission ("Commission") as a human rights legal officer, where she investigated and mediated numerous human rights complaints at the Commission.
In 2008 she joined the African Canadian Legal Clinic ("ACLC"). Since joining the ACLC, she has litigated and mediated human rights complaints before the e Ontario Human Rights Tribunal (the "OHRT"), successfully negotiated settlements on a number of racial profiling complaints before the OHRT.
Charles C. Smith is currently a Lecturer in cultural theory and cultural pluralism in the arts, at the University of Toronto Scarborough. He is a member to the Canadian Court Challenges Program Equality Rights Panel and a Research Associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. He has also recently served as the Equity Advisor to the Canadian Bar Association. His book on racial profiling Conflict, Crisis and Accountability: Law Enforcement and Racial Profiling in Canada was released in October, 2007 by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
He has authored several papers for the Canadian Bar Association: Ten Years Into the Future: Where Are We Now After Touchstones for Equality?; Concerns on Increasing Tuition Fees at the University of Toronto; Response to the Provost Study of Accessibility and Career Choice in the University of Toronto Faculty of Law; and Comments on Methodologies To Study Accessibility to Law Schools. The latter piece has now been published with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in Missing Pieces V (2004). He also guided the CBA in its production of Take Action on Equity and Diversity, a resource guide and toolkit for law firms which is accompanied by an educational DVD on preventing harassment and discrimination.
Marion Steele has worked as a social worker and supply teacher, but now runs her own event planning business and brings her fundraising and marketing expertise to the Ottawa Police Service GLBT Liaison Committee where she serves as community co-chair. She is one of the founding members of the HIV/AIDS Committee Grey-Bruce and a board member of the Anti- Racism Alliance. Marion also established the only 24-hour, volunteer-run "Gay-Line" in rural Ontario, as well as the Lesbian Mums' Support Group, through Grey-Bruce Children's Services. Since re-locating to Ottawa, she has been a member of the board of Women's Place and a volunteer for the PTS Gayline. She served on the Pride Committee of Ottawa-Gatineau from 1996 to 2000 and was re-elected in 2004. From 2004-2008, Marion was the Marketing and Sponsorship Coordinator responsible for re-branding the Festival and putting the newly branded Capital Pride Festival on the map as Canada's capital's GLBTTQ Pride celebration.
She is a long time volunteer with Canadian Parents for French, establishing the only French residential camp in Ontario, Camp Chez Nous, and takes great pride in her five now-grown children.