Laura has lived and worked across Canada, including the high Arctic community of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, where she created Nunavut-specific digital media education resources. She recently graduated with a Masters in Communications Studies from McGill University. Her master's thesis used community based research to explore social media and Indigenous economies. These experiences inform her current work as Communications Coordinator at Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Canada's national Inuit representational organization. Laura's passion for progressive politics was inherited from her grandmother and developed through her experiences as a white settler ally. Her feminism is based on a practice of cultivating strong relationships that act as a foundation for accountability and transformative justice work in her community. Laura spent high school choreographing intricate, angry ballets and loves nothing more than swimming in a lake. She believes in the nourishing power of land, food, and people.
Sinda is an African-Arab immigrant, born and raised in Tunisia, who came to Canada in 2013. She is a migrant justice activist abd completed her first BA in Psychology at the Human Science Institute of Tunis. She has been a part of the transnational network Afrique-Europe Interact advocating against borders, visa regimes, and providing support for migrants and refugees in different countries in South Europe and North Africa. She has also organized with No One Is Illegal both in Berlin and in Ottawa. She recently completed her second BA in Conflicts and Human Rights Studies from the University of Ottawa. She is currently involved in The End Immigration Network, The Sanctuary City Network and Refugee Welcome. She is also a youth program facilitator at the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO).
Zaya is a first generation Congolese-Canadian settler. He and his family have migrated across 3 continents, making roots in Toronto and Montreal respectively. Zaya recently relocated in Ottawa where he’s currently a research associate in investigative journalism with a focus on corruption and organized crime. Prior, he was a parliamentarian staff with the Senate of Canada. Throughout the course of his life, he has focused his advocacy on marginalized youth, anti-poverty initiatives and more recently the intersection between mental health and community-development. A long distance runner, Zaya once joined a team that ran from coast-to-coast across Canada to raise awareness and fundraise on behalf of child poverty. Being the political type, he’s been involved at multiple levels of government with roles in communication and community outreach. His political scars show that he’s experienced both losing and winning sides of electoral outcomes. Zaya is also a member of the first historically black fraternity in Canada, Alpha Phi Alpha Inc., which dedicates its efforts to mentorship initiatives and coalition-based community development projects across North America. Zaya credits his family and Toronto’s eclectic and always vibrant black community for cultivating his progressive politics. Zaya can be found perusing record stores and used bookstores, he maintains that he is a wine snob and will find any excuse to dance.
Moving to Ottawa almost a decade ago from Barrie Ontario, Natasha is currently finishing a degree at Carleton University. She is majoring in Political Science with a specific focus on Indigenous Governance and Minority Rights. Her past employment includes positions at the National Association of Friendship Centres where she was tasked with annual reports on the state of the Indigenous Friendship Centre movement, as well as working at the Assembly of First Nations. Future goals involve continued work with Indigenous Groups, learning more of her Ojibwe language and heritage, and asking the perennial 'should I have another coffee?'.
Sudesh was born and raised in Bhutanese Refugee Camp in Nepal. He lived at the refugee camp for 16 years of his life. He represents Nepali speaking Southern Bhutanese culture. He immigrated to Canada in 2011, and currently he is enrolled in his second year of social service work at Algonquin college.
He is passionate about working with newcomer/immigrants and refugee youths. He has been working at the Youth Service Bureau of Ottawa with the Ethno-cultural Youth Advisory Committee. He advocates on behalf of newcomer youth’s experiences and has a strong passion for developing community organizations. He engages newcomer youths and educates on the importance of preserving cultural identity in order to integrate in a diverse community. He uses his personal life experiences to motivate other youths and educate people with his perspective. His career goal is to dedicate his work to serving refugee populations in different countries and helping newcomers to integrate.
Amber has an infectious smile, compassionate, humbling persona with a fierce, independent, bold attitude that leads her in her pursuit for social and economic justice and activism. Being raised in a rural, fruit farm community just outside of Hamilton, Ontario has given her this small town, city girl outlook on life. Hamilton, the Steel City will always be her home as steel, labour and activism has been passed down through generations of Steel working family members. She was raised by a single mom and has 4 brothers, 1 sister and her family continues to grow with nieces and nephews, whom she adores . She is always surrounding herself with strong womyn - from her mother, to her Master's supervisor an amazing Marxist, feminist role model, to her inspiring fembot comrades, to now learning and embracing many unreal political opportunities with MP Niki Ashton and the Bernie Bus . Amber's main social and economic interests include: women and work; labour rights; youth and gender justice; ending sexual violence against womyn and creating a more accessible, equitable criminal justice system; decolonizing our education system and integrating feminist, Marxist, antiracism, voices and history into the Ontario curriculum; implementing basic income to abolish poverty; and eradicating capitalism with the development of socialism for the working class. When she is not researching, writing, or reading she is playing volleyball, eating and making pizza, trying new wines, painting, facetiming with family and friends back home, snapchatting or netflixing. Amber moved to Ottawa to complete her second Master's degree and in this time she has struggled to build a solid social justice network and connect to the community, but through NextUp she has been able to find solidarity with the activists in this network and is hopeful for the continued connections and activism to come with the numerous NextUpers.
Joy Wall is a born and raised Calgarian with a passion for connection, education, and social justice. Joy has a bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of Lethbridge, where she was involved in various clubs, child development, and literacy programs.
Currently, Joy is working as a child development specialist, supporting children under 5 with disabilities. Previously she worked with an organization which supports families after the death of a loved one.
Joy has a strong passion for connecting with people and learning how people connect to one another. This passion comes together in opportunities to travel which Joy takes as every opportunity.
Joy feels strongly about storytelling being an important medium for discourse, and is involved in the storytelling and comedy communities. She has a strong interest in learning how to use comedy to connect individuals to social issues, ideas, and movements.
In the future Joy hopes to travel across the world, forming connections, and learning from everyone she meets.
Tara was born on Treaty 7 Land, in Calgary, Alberta,and has lived there ever since. After graduating they have decided to try their hardest to live a life lead by compassion and values. They are passionate about intersectional feminism, and environmental justice. Tara use's their free time doing art, or at least thinking about doing some art; or eating dark chocolate with a reasonably priced bottle of wine. In the future they hope to help make Calgary a safer, more sustainable, and generally cooler place to be.
Nina Karimi is a born and raised Vancouverite living the Calgarian dream, minus the cowboy hat. She graduated from UBC with a Political Science Degree last year, and during her time there she was the President of the UBC New Democrats and elected to the Residence Hall Association, Senate, and Board of Governors. She moved to Alberta after its most recent provincial election to work for an NDP MLA as their Constituency Assistant.
She has been passionate about politics since she was very young, attending rallies at the Vancouver Art Gallery with her parents and annoying her father with a million questions. Her parents immigrated to Canada as refugees, and it has always been clear to her how lucky she is to live in a free and democratic society.
She often feels pulled in multiple different directions when it comes to causes she supports, but her main area of focus is trying to address poverty in Canada at the systemic level, particularly with affordable housing.
In her spare time she enjoys playing board games, dancing to funky edm, and eating potatoes.
Nicole Edmond was born and raised in various rural Alberta communities, spending most of her childhood in Airdrie, Alberta. Most of her time was spent being curious about the ways of the world and biking around exploring the city. Moving to Calgary, Nicole attended art school and received a Bachelors of Fine Art degree in Print-Media from The Alberta College of Art and Design in 2014. Nicole’s curiosity continues to move her forward via her artwork, which explores the complex relationship between human beings and the natural world, specifically the relationship we have with microbes.
When Nicole isn’t focusing on her art practice she dedicates a portion of her free time as the Vice President on the board of directors at The Alberta Printmaker’s Society. Here she is often helping organize new events to spread the joys of art and printmaking with the Calgary community. Nicole is also passionate about feminism; specifically how intersectional feminism can help create a more fair and equal arts community. Nicole has pursued this passion by interviewing artists and being a part of the discourse on the feminist podcast Yeah, What She Said on CJSW.
Nicole’s dream is to one day open a non-profit gallery dedicated to showcasing artwork produced by female, non-binary and Trans artists.