Building collective empowerment with Next Up in Calgary


NU Calgary alum, Cristabel Sosa, shares her Next Up experience with us:

I am a Caribbean soul that landed in Canada about 5 years ago. I am very passionate about equity and currently work in health promotion, a discipline where social justice is a vital tenet.  As part of NExtUp, the last eight months have enriched [and often challenged] my perspectives on advancing and protecting our most precious social, cultural and environmental resources. In our cohort, I’ve found a community of solidarity that seeks traction for an Alberta where sustainability, equity, democracy and the public interest become the status quo.

More concretely, NextUp has also facilitated a closer engagement with my Union, Health Sciences Association of Alberta. I’ve always valued their work, yet now, I’ve gained a new appreciation for it that has led me to be more involved.  Recently, I participated in a committee on universal childcare led by HSAA. This initiative shows HSAA’s commitment to its members but also to all Albertans, as universal and affordable childcare is an issue that matters to all. I had the opportunity to meet Board members and work along former NextUp alum, Laine Burlingham.  I was also able to attend the Public Interest Alberta (PIA) conference sponsored by HSAA, and had the opportunity to share highlights and lessons with my coworkers.

Another benefit of NextUp is the network of people and organizations associated with it. I’ve learned about great organizations and allies in Alberta doing work to protect our environment and communities.  This includes Community Wise, Parkland Institute, Public Interest Alberta (PIA) and many more. Finally, NextUp is a great platform to foster a sense of community, critical analysis and collective empowerment.  I am deeply grateful for each person I’ve met along the way.