Jolan Bailey is a gifted political organizer who skillfully brings people together to work for environmental justice. He grew up in Kelowna in family with strong Christian beliefs. While aspects of this upbringing were problematic for Jolan, he credits his family’s faith with having instilled in him the compassion that has informed much of his later work as an activist. In his teens, Jolan began to question hegemonic forms of masculinity, partially through theatre. When in his high school tried to ban students from performing a play about homosexuality, Jolan challenged the school. Through this experience, Jolan began to understand the ways that true compassion often requires pushing for institutional change.
Jolan left Kelowna for university, and majored in Environmental Studies and Economics at the University of Victoria. He was intrigued by the way these two disciplines often talked about similar topics but with strikingly different lenses. Upon completing his bachelor’s degree Jolan began a year-long internship working on ForestEthics’ Tar Sands campaign. Jolan soon found himself struggling to maintain a balance between the work he cared passionately about, and his own personal sustainability. Needing time to reflect and recharge, Jolan then took several months off to bike from Tillamook, Oregan to Guanajuato, Mexico.
Upon returning from his trip, Jolan was rehired by ForestEthics as the Canadian Outreach Coordinator. In this role, he has coordinated massive opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker project. Jolan excels at logistical coordination, strategic thinking and encouraging cooperation between organizations, skills which contributed greatly to the success of the Defend our Coast day of action in October 2012. This spring, he will be working with Leadnow.ca on citizen engagement and action for upcoming BC election.
When not organizing action for progressive causes, Jolan enjoys spending time with his partner,cooking with berbere, and playing the ukulele.