As a registered nurse, Claire is interested in working at the intersection of health and community development. After studying nursing at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Claire moved her passions abroad, focusing her efforts on global health and HIV work in Rwanda. Upon return to Canada, Claire gained experience in a variety of clinical settings including BC Children’s Hospital, Options for Sexual Health, and Ravensong community health centre in Vancouver. A Masters in Public Health from the University of British Columbia further developed her passion for addressing the social determinants of health, which she put to work at YouthCO HIV and Hep C Society for a couple of years before returning to her hometown, Calgary. When she is not educating people on benefits of harm reduction and sexual health education, Claire can be found on Twitter, or outside camping, cycling, or cross-country skiing. Through Next Up, Claire is looking forward to building connections and community with networks of social justice-oriented people.
Spending a large portion of my childhood in Vancouver’s Chinatown, I was drawn back into the neighborhood as an adult to look at what was happening after years of disinvestment and gentrification. The neighborhood, which allowed my great-grandmother to connect with others, thrive in and build community with her limited English and resources, has led me to my current focus in life. As a grad student in SFU’s Urban Studies Program, I study the impacts of neighborhood change on the well being of low-income, long-term, monolingual Chinese seniors. In my social change efforts I work to ensure those like my great-grandmother have the ability to remain and make a life for themselves in gentrifying Chinatown. I’ve also had the joy of being a part of impactful organizations that work to build sustainable and resilient communities like Embark Sustainability, Growing Chefs and Village Vancouver. My favourite things in life are breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack time.
Pardis’ interest in social change is rooted in her experiences as an exiled immigrant woman in Vancouver, on unceded Coast Salish territories. Her awareness of social justice piqued upon working with an organization dealing with power dynamics and oppression in the Middle East. This work allowed her to understand histories of colonialism and injustice in the Canadian context and has impelled her to point her ongoing learning and activism in this direction. In Spring 2015, Pardis was involved in Transportation Not Deportation – a successful campaign geared towards ending the MOU between CBSA and Vancouver Transit Police. In her undergraduate thesis, Pardis conducted research around the ways in which communities of colour were excluded from meaningful civic participation in the 1970s. In addition, her involvement in Pathways to Education has given Pardis the opportunity to provide support to young people facing challenges due to systemic inequality. In her free time, Pardis enjoys various forms of jazzercise, forcing herself to be ‘outdoorsy,’ and illustrating awkward life events in attempts to mitigate anxiety.
Juliana was born and educated in Brazil, where she graduated in Psychology and obtained a Master’s Degree in Education. From an early age she became interested in social justice issues, working extensively in the slums of Sao Paulo. She focused on empowering the children and youth and providing opportunities to leave their life of drugs and violence.
She moved to Canada in December 2012 and since then has been dedicated to assisting immigrants and refugees settle in the city of Saskatoon. She started volunteering with the International Women of Saskatoon and has since become a permanent addition to their staff as the Community Capacity Building Coordinator.
Juliana is always smiling and believes that a beautiful smile cure any suffering. She also thinks that the two greatest things in life are chocolate and hugs. She really misses the hugs of friends who still live in Brazil and it is always open to a hug from anyone. She is really honoured to participate in the 2015-2016 Next Up program and hopes to learn from others and their experiences.
Craig Frank Edes studied both Acting for Stage & Screen at Capilano University and Aboriginal Focus Oriented Therapy and Complex Trauma at the Justice Institute of British Columbia. Craig spent the earlier parts of his youth as a member of the Cultural Connections for Aboriginal Youth Youth Council, assessing grant applications for cultural programming off reserve. He also spent the latter part of his youth as a Youth Worker at the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre in Houston, British Columbia, and as an outdoor scrutineer and foot canvasser for the NDP in Saskatoon West.
Craig has been performing a Hip Hop and a Sacred Space Workshop as one half of Native Hip Hop Duo, Mob Bounce; his Hip Hop group focuses on social issues around culture and on environmental issues around water and land commodification.
Franny loves outdoor and environmental education and currently spends a lot of her time pursuing that. You can often find her adventuring with a group of high school students, all over the province, with Saskatoon Public Schools. She also relishes moments spent with her little family: a daughter, a dog, and a dear love. She’s excited about learning how to reduce her own ecological footprint and working with others towards reducing theirs too. She likes the idea of treading lightly and intentionally on this Earth. In her spare time, Franny loves to be active and play sports, she stays up too late playing board games with friends, and she enjoys teaching yoga to beginners.
Leif Jensen is an activist interested in social change, particularly in ways that benefit prisoners, homeless persons, those with mental illness, and workers. He graduated from the University of Saskatchewan in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in English and Political Studies, focusing on decolonial theory. He went on to complete his Juris Doctor in 2014, and became a lawyer in 2015.
Leif has been involved with several organizations which promote social justice, including Community Legal Assistance Services for Saskatoon Inner City (CLASSIC), the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Lookout Emergency Aid Society, Amnesty International, Solidarity with those in Solitary, and the Canadian Journal of Poverty Law.
Leif makes great scones, decent hash browns, and perpetually disappointing chilli. His biggest regret is choosing the wrong ice cream after climbing Table Mountain in Cape Town. If you ask him about Chumbawamba he will rant about them for a very tedious 10 minutes, though you will leave with a new appreciation for their art.
Davida Bentham is a Mennonite and activist from Saskatoon, Treaty 6 territory. She enjoys knitting, shredding the slopes at Lake Louise, and working to build a more progressive society. Davida has been involved in and is passionate about environmental, immigration, and Indigenous rights/reconciliation movements. She has a bachelors degree in Northern Studies and Environmental Assessment, a Masters in Sustainable Environmental Management, and has recently started Law School at the University of Saskatchewan.
Davida has learned much about our planet, and herself, while visiting Norway, Aotearoa/New Zealand, Australia, Iceland, Costa Rica, and others. She believes that not upholding the treaty relationship, inequality, and climate change (to name a few) are hindering our entire community. She also acknowledges, and is inspired by, the work of activists who have come before her, and hopes she can add to their rich contributions.
When Davida isn’t rabble rousing you can find her eating Rollkuchen, thinking about pacifism in the contemporary context, or dreaming of a more utilized public transit system.