Keeping the Fossil Free Faith

Fossil Free Faith is an initiative to unite people of all religions to address the climate changes created by fossil fuels. This article features three alumni of Next Up BC, Maisaloon Al-Ashkar, Christine Boyle and Anjali Appadurai,  great activists coming together across faiths to drive change.

Original Story (Vancouver Courier, August 19, 2015)

Keeping the Fossil Free Faith

Initiative calls on religious institutions to address climate change

Over the weekend, the United Church of Canada voted to divest from fossil fuels. That means the church will sell off close to $6 million in holdings, a bit less than five per cent of its investments.

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Transgender Calgarians looking forward to launch of comprehensive resource list

From Calgary Metro (May 13, 2015)
*minor corrections were made to this article when reposted here.

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Transgender people in Calgary will soon have a fresh, updated resource to consult during what some in the community describe as an overwhelming time.

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NU Calgary alum proud to be facilitating positive change in their community

Jesse

Jessie Naidu, and her experience of Next Up Calgary 2014-2014, in her own words:

I have been involved in learning about social justice since graduate school and have had an interest in doing social justice work in some capacity in my life. After grad school, I landed a great job in health promotion strategic development, where I feel social justice is present at times but must be more prominent in order for us to have a truly just system. Before Next Up, 

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Building collective empowerment with Next Up in Calgary

Cristabel

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. 

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NU Saskatchewan alum connects Canadians and West Africans for women and children's rights

NU Saskatchewan 2013-2014 alum, Erica Moir, shares her story here:

Have you ever wanted to support an overseas development project but were sceptical of its overhead costs, impact, and sustainability? This is how I felt before traveling to Togo, West Africa.  Through a family friend, I learned about an NGO named Modef and several of their projects that improve women and children’s rights. I met with farmers to learn about an organic soybean project at a rural elementary school constructed of weaved mats and wooden benches for desks.  The lack of infrastructure and visible extreme poverty was enough to convince me that supporting a locally established NGO is a great way to contribute to overseas development projects.

Friends of Kouka is a partnership project which does just that. Our current campaign is based on 2 objectives: To educate Canadians about life in Togo, including their challenging realities, and to obtain financial support for MODEF projects.  In our current campaign, 100% of the donations will be used to purchase school desks for the new school year in August 2015.

Please check out our facebook page called "Friends of Kouka", consider joining our team or making a financial contribution.  Through your support, we hope to create a long term partnership to improve women and children's rights in the Kouka, Togo. 

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NU BC 2014-15 alum speaks up for Climate Action Now!

Next Up BC grad 2014-15 Kaschelle Thiessen brought her two children with her to speak out for Climate Action Now! at the march this past April.  Kaschelle writes of her experience:

I just wanted to thank everyone so much for letting me be the one in our recent Next Up meeting to be coached and to workshop my story before the march. It went so well, I had strangers coming up and telling me I nailed it!  I went into Next Up expecting to get an amazing education and networking, I didn't know just how emotionally supported and loved I would feel as well.  You all really set the stage for what ended up being such an amazing and empowering day. I appreciate you all.  Both of my kids ended up deciding to stand with me!


 

 

 

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NU Sask 2014-15 grad thanks unions for the recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling on the right to strike

Daniel McCullough, Next-Up Sask 2014-15:

I remember my sociology professor standing at the front of the theatre one day and asking his students, “Who here likes weekends?” Hand after hand rose until everyone had indicated in the affirmative.  With a sly grin, our professor added, “Well, you should thank a union then!” 

It may have been a little glib, but it’s true. Every Canadian worker has benefitted, is benefitting and will benefit from the victories of labour unions. Weekends? Thank a union. Minimum wage? Thank a union.  Let’s add another big one:  on January 30th, 2015, after a seven-year legal battle the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL), that Canadians are constitutionally guaranteed the right to strike.  This means that governments cannot legislate workers back to work, or deem some professions too “essential” to strike. 

Strikes brought us the right to refuse unsafe work and minimum wage.  Strikes allow those without individual power to have the power to stand up to business owners, politicians; anyone who puts profits ahead of people. So to the SFL and all the unions in Saskatchewan and across Canada who have fought for our right to strike, thank you for your tireless work to make this province and this country better.

 

 

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NU Saskatchewan alum tells the story of Spectrum Voices, a support group for adults on the autism spectrum

Maaya (Maya) Kuri Hitomi, Master's Student in Applied Social Psychology and NU Saskatchewan alum 2014-2015, shares her story with us:

Since graduating from the NextUp program part of my time has been dedicated to helping a group address a pressing need here in Saskatoon: the development of services for adults on the autism spectrum. For those under the age of 18, services, usually in the form of educational supports, social skills building, and family assistance, are available through numerous community organizations. However, once people on the spectrum reach the age of 18, these services are abruptly cut-off. To make matters worse, the services offered through these already overtaxed community organizations rarely focus on the skills necessary for people to live in our community independent of family or caregivers.

This unfortunate gap in the services available in our city leaves many of those with autism spectrum disorders to scramble for assistance from organizations without training on the specific needs of this community. As a result, these adults often feel as though their autonomy is undermined, their personhood is disrespected, and their abilities are ignored. To combat this, this group of people living with autism spectrum disorders has begun to organize. Starting with Spectrum Voices, a support group aimed at adults on the autism spectrum, these individuals aim to allow those in the community to share stories, information, and resources in a way that supports each member’s personal autonomy and unique skillset. From here, this group hopes to use evidence-based practice to service the needs neglected by other organizations. As an applied researcher and ally to this community, my role is to bring the skills necessary to identify these neglected needs and to assess the effectiveness of attempted interventions. Hopefully through partnership on this project, Saskatoon can begin, once again, to serve these individual and create framework for future services for this community.

 

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Next Up Calgary alum and Calgary OutLink in the news

Transgender people in Calgary will soon have a fresh, updated resource to consult during what some in the community describe as an overwhelming time.

On Sunday, Calgary OutLink will launch a new resource guide filled with information for those thinking about transitioning. The comprehensive pamphlet, also available online, will cover everything from the effects of hormones to changing your name to lists of local doctors.

Read the entire article here:

http://metronews.ca/news/calgary/1368378/transgender-calgarians-looking-forward-to-launch-of-comprehensive-resource-list/

 

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Next Up BC cohort #8 celebrates graduation!

Next Up BC's 2014-2015 participants celebrated their graduation in the beautiful Vancouver sunshine this May.  We are sad to say goodbye, but we're so excited about the next steps for this awesome group of leaders!

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