Born in Toronto and raised in East Vancouver, Danny Oleksiuk is kindergarten-to-law school grad of BC’s excellent public education system. His professional experience runs the gamut from practicing labour and aboriginal law in Vancouver, conference development with the United Nations in Beijing, and financial market regulation in Toronto. His current work in labour law has been informed by a pretty thorough survey of the BC economy through part and full-time work, including stints as a bike courier, grocery clerk and bartender, as well as in residential construction and lumber milling. In his spare time, Danny has worked on campaigns for political candidates he believes in and acted as a board member of the Environmental Law Centre. He can often be spotted riding along the Ontario and Off-Broadway bike paths in any kind of weather.
Hailing from the blue prairie skies of Alberta, Darlene is a transplant to the Vancouver area, originally moving to complete her MA in Environmental Studies from UBC. Her education and professional experience have ranged from the macro to the micro: working in Washington DC on Canada-US relations, studying sustainable development strategies for the Quebec government, and analyzing zero waste options for the City of Vancouver.
As a social and environmental justice advocate, Darlene is active in Vancouver’s food community. Her work aims to link her research and policy background with a food justice framework, working to bringing the voices of the grassroots to decision-making and evaluation in social services.
Her downtime juggles between early mornings on her yoga mat, cycling and hiking adventures in BC, and solo dance parties in the kitchen.
Rebecca was born and raised in Cole Harbour, NS (yes for all you hockey fans, she went to school with Sidney Crosby). She completed her Bachelor of Science from St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, NS. An interest in the environment and multiple influential chemistry professors lead her to major in chemistry, with a focus on water chemistry. After gaining her Bachelor degree she moved to St. John’s, NL to obtain a PhD at Memorial University of Newfoundland, where her interests shifted to green chemistry and the development of environmentally friendly polymer chemistry. Throughout her education she was actively engaged with the university community, representing the Chemistry Department on numerous boards and committees. She was involved in monitoring chemical safety practices, striving to achieve a safe work environment for all chemistry researchers, and in the development of an emergency management plan for the entire University.
Rebecca has a passion for bringing science to the general public. While residing in Calgary, AB, she worked at TELUS Spark, the new Science Centre. She engaged families and developed STEAM based science programs that were accessible for both children and adults. Rebecca is currently living in Vancouver, performing research at UBC that aims to develop improved devices for solar energy harvesting. In her spare time you will find her doing chemistry outreach in the community or outside on a mountain skiing or hiking.
Jeanie is an educator, a dreamer, a new parent, a nature lover, and a believer in the power of people coming together to make the world a better place. Formally educated at Pitt Meadows Secondary, Pearson College, McGill, SFU and UBC, Jeanie has worked as a teacher of English, Social Studies, Life Skills, Leadership, and Community Building in Richmond, Vancouver, Metchosin, BC and on the West Coast of Norway. Her informal education leaves her deeply indebted to a wonderful community of family, friends, and colleagues with special shout outs to her grandparents and adventures in the great outdoors.
Keenly interested in social change, Jeanie is proud of her contributions to the Otesha Project, the B:C:Clettes, the Pearson Seminar on Youth Leadership and her four years as a faculty member of the United World Colleges. Current interests include: project based learning, non-violent communication, and consensus-based decision making.
Having recently relocated to Vancouver, Jeanie is excited to connect and reconnect with the rad community of changemakers here.
A grade 12 student from New Westminster BC, Sadie’s goal in life is to create positive change. Her passion for social and environmental justice was sparked at age 13, when she began working with Free the Children. Shortly after, she fundraised six thousand dollars in six months to travel to Kenya, where she helped build a school. At present, Sadie is the president of the New Westminster Secondary School Interact club, which supports Doctors Without Borders and a local homelessness shelter. She is also an active member of her school’s Environment club. She aspires to empower other young people to become engaged with social change.
Sadie loves learning and seeks adventure. She fell in love with Italy during a year-long cultural exchange. Recently, she produced a play about global women’s rights which raised over a thousand dollars to fund safe housing and education for girls in Arusha, Tanzania. Sadie is also engaged in civic politics, having managed the successful campaign of a progressive City Councillor in the 2014 municipal elections. Currently, Sadie is working with teachers to start a cohort program at her school focused on social justice, with an emphasis on global issues and sustainability.
Sadie is deeply grateful to have won a scholarship for a student expedition to Antarctica, where she hopes to deepen her understanding of how human-caused climate change interacts with polar systems. She was also recently named New Westminster’s Junior Citizen of the Year. She is honoured to be a member of the Next Up Vancouver cohort 8.
Maisaloon is a Muslim Palestinian who grew-up in Jordan, and now she is an immigrant-settler who is grateful to live on Coast Salish Territories.
Throughout high school, she was actively involved in the Leadership, Mentorship, and Library programs. She was also Editor-In-Chief of the student newspaper, Chair of Grad Council, and Chapter President of the Best Buddies club. She first recognized her potential as a young activist during a Social Justice course in grade 12, where she organized a student-led Human Library project that provided youth with an open and safe space to eradicate stereotypes through one-on-one conversations about the lived experiences of diverse individuals dealing with different forms of oppression. She graduated from secondary school in 2014, and is humbled to be the first student in her high school’s history to have won the Exemplary Citizen Award consecutively through grades 8 to 12.
Maisaloon helps organize a conference for youth called Social Justice Beyond the Classroom. She partakes in Fossil Free Faith, an interfaith network through which she intertwines her activism with her faith background. She is on the leadership team of SFU’s Best Buddies Chapter, and involved with SFU Amnesty International, Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group, and the SFU Women’s Centre. She works as a Program Leader for the City of Burnaby, where she’s inspired by the vibrant energy of children. She’s studying First Nations Studies and Political Science at Simon Fraser University on a Major Entrance Scholarship. She is an Advanced Placement Scholar and a recipient of the Burnaby Youth Citizenship award.
Maisaloon’s Palestinian heritage allowed her to witness the repercussions of oppression at a very young age, which is the spark that ignites her compassionate fight for justice. Her faith is the grounding force that sustains her energized spirit and sense of hope. She is a young woman of colour determined to cultivate decolonized spaces in which the marginalized communities she identifies with are represented, empowered, and heard!
Faith & the Common Good blog post: http://greeningsacredspaces.net/from-the-heart/
Originally from Alberta, Peter was lured to the west coast by the prospect of fly-fishing its myriad rivers year-round, climbing mountains and being a little warmer most of the year. Through his travels in Central America and East Africa, Peter saw the deep connection between social and environmental issues and became passionate about conservation and the restoration of ecosystems as a justice issue – something he has been able to see more at home now. Having obtained his M.Sc. in Ecology from the University of BC, Peter worked as a biologist for A Rocha Canada researching species at risk and working on restoring the Little Campbell River, and currently coordinates stewardship and restoration projects for Metro Vancouver Regional Parks.
When not exploring the outdoors, Peter prefers to watch soccer, listen to country music and play pedal steel guitar as much as he can.
Rodrigo first came to Canada from Guatemala to study political science at the University of British Columbia. After finding his life partner in Vancouver, enjoying the boundless wilderness of BC, and being active in the local social movements, he has come to the realization that Canada is now his new home.
He has a diverse background in social activism with his involvement with organizations such as Oxfam Canada, the Sierra Club or Powershift BC. He currently works at Leadnow, where he is able to harness the power of the internet to connect progressive Canadians across the country who are committed to fighting for an open democracy, a fair economy and climate justice.
Rodrigo’s passion for the outdoors is one of his greatest motivations to fighting for social justice and environmental sustainability. When he is not typing emails for Leadnow or spending time with his wife and two cats, Rodrigo will likely be doing rock climbing, hiking, skiing or planning his next outdoor adventure.
Alex is an education geek. He’s currently working towards his PhD in Political Science at UBC, and holds master’s degrees in Global Politics and Social Policy from the London School of Economics. He also earned a BA in Psychology from SFU, with a research focus on the psychology of morality. From the other side of the classroom, he’s a teaching assistant at UBC and has taught at a progressive high school in Vancouver.
What’s the point in all of that studying and research, though, if you don’t try to make some change in the world? That’s why Alex has been involved in a range of social justice projects, including the fossil fuel divestment campaign at UBC. When he’s not doing that sort of thing, he likes to read, listen to music, and sometimes pine for Prague (where he spent a semester studying).