Veronica Ledesma is a first generation Canadian from Latin American roots; she is also a student at Carleton University, ardently focusing on her double major in Sociology and Communications at the undergraduate level. She is passionate about furthering her education and knowledge base on both a theoretical and practical level. In the future, she would like to expand her work to an international stage.
She has been involved with animal welfare and furthering the humane treatment of animals. Veronica aspires to work with youth and children and find ways to provide quality education and a better life for the next generation. She has always and will continue to raise awareness on the plight of refugees and hopes to assist groups working to provide aid in refugee crisis. In her spare time, she enjoys doing oil paintings and kickboxing.
Kaffie Abdirashid is an impending graduate of the Conflict Studies and Human Rights program at the University of Ottawa. Kaffie's work has focused on ending violence against women, but she is also interested in efforts towards penal reform and abolition. She is an avid reader, and though she has lived most of her life in Ottawa, she enjoys travelling. In all her efforts towards social, economic and environmental change, Kaffie continually strives to cultivate a community-oriented grassroots approach that re-centres marginalized groups.
Natasha Mendonca is a graduate of the International Studies program at York University’s Glendon College. As someone with multiple intersecting identities, she is interested in work that aims to undo oppression through building solidarity among diverse groups. She is eager to learn about the colonial histories that have shaped her life and heritage and is concerned with addressing their role in the current transnational issues we face.
Nazneen Khan is an ambitious, empathetic and, passionate first generation Indo-Canadian. She was born and raised in Mississauga, Ontario but is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree at Carleton University in Public Affairs and Policy Management with a specialization in development studies.Complementing her academic interests, she has a variety of passions. On any given day, you can find her hanging out with the social justice community of Ottawa, trying to recreate some cool recipes, reading her favorite novel or practicing the beautiful art of henna.
She is extremely passionate and continues to advocate for feminism, gender equality, justice and decolonization of women of colour. Nazneen has a keen interest in intersecting gender with other issues such as social class, environment, immigration, social policy and issues of development.
Nazneen believes in lifelong learning, and is always ready to embrace new opportunities and challenges that will continue to shape her not only as a future leader but also as a person. Currently she is in the process of decolonizing herself, and uses her critical mind to evaluate social issues through an anti-racist, anti-capitalist, and a decolonizing perspective.
Finally, a few fun facts about Nazneen: She loves the color green and has always wanted to be a cat!
Hadia is a third culture kid that has roots in East Africa, Canada and Bahrain. She has recently completed her Bachelors at Carleton U, majoring in Human Rights with a minor in Law, and is hoping to pursue her masters in the next coming years in International Law and and Human Rights. Hadia's interest in social justice started in middle school when she was lucky enough to participate in Model UN and was a security person in the Human Rights council. She went on to participate in MUN for the next 6 years. Hadia challenges friends to become more aware of inequality and discrimination.
She has developed an interest in researching areas such as anti-racism, Canadian Immigration, law, labour rights, political repression, civil liberty issues, the impacts of colonialism, decolonization, indigenous solidarity, international relations, and islamophobia. As an OPIRG volunteer, Hadia has had the opportunity to engage with these topics in practical ways via campaign organizing. Through next up she hopes to gain further understanding of different social justice issues, building my leadership skills and expanding my network.
In her free time, Hadia enjoys traveling when possible, hanging out with family and friends and watching tv shows. She considers herself the reigning queen of tv shows lol. Also, her love for Ginger-ale is unreal.
Jenn Bergen is passionate about social change and community engagement, and sees her role as building the spaces and programming necessary for groups to take action on social and environmental justice issues. She has worked for the Regina Public Interest Research Group, the Sask Council for International Cooperation, and recently founded the Queen City Hub in Regina. During her time in Saskatchewan, she also co-founded an activist camp for youth, an annual music fundraiser for homelessness, and a community-university garden. She earned her BEd and MPA at the University of Regina, and is currently working towards her PhD at the University of Ottawa. She studies education for youth democratic engagement, and works with student-teachers to develop their civic identities. In her spare time, she runs half-marathons, creates visual art, bakes pies, and hangs with her dog, McCoy.
Charana is a first generation immigrant from Sri Lanka who is now studying at Carleton University for an undergrad in Political Science. He’s a member of various student-led campaigns. In his spare times he enjoys trying new sports and outdoor hobbies. Right now Charana is fighting to to end the corporatization of post-secondary educational institutions and is involved in a few grassroots activist groups.
Jesse grew up in Northern Ontario so he feels most at home when he’s surrounded by trees. He spent most of his childhood in Sudbury, but most recently spent 7 glorious months in Halifax - a city he hopes to return to very soon. Jesse has a Marketing diploma from Confederation College, and is currently in his third year of Carleton University’s Human Rights program.
Jesse has been politically active for some 7 years, much of which has been spent interrogating his own inner oppressor and learning how to act in genuine solidarity with marginalized communities. He is increasingly interested in the Social Determinants of Health and how they mediate the intersections of chronic illness and queer/trans+ bodies/identities. As someone with an invisible disability, he’d also like to contribute to ending the stigma against mental illness. Aside from specific issues, he’s very interested in discussions on how to combine art/music/theatre/design with activist initiatives in order to increase the accessibility of these spaces and ideas to non-activists.
Jesse has experience in organizing community actions and engaging in conversations with people from low/moderate income communities. In the past, he has helped to facilitate direct-democratic decision making processes, run workshops, and canvassed countless hours for NGOs. In his downtime Jesse enjoys cooking and baking, and he's a shameless gamer and science fiction nerd with a love for playing and listening to music.
Jesse is excited about being apart of Next Up, a progressive/radical social group where anti-O is the norm. He is excited to learn from the experiences of his fellow NxtUprz and to continue to work on building his capacity for genuine solidarity!
Rosella Chibambo is a self-described (dope) feminist media-maker and activist. She uses new media in advocacy and communications campaigns, most recently for the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict. Born and raised in Calgary, she moved to Ottawa in 2007 to study journalism and law at Carleton University. She has
worked as a reporter from Calgary, Ottawa, Tanzania, and Rwanda.
Rosella hopes to use media to create spaces for and amplify the voices of marginalized communities, and is particularly passionate about expanding definitions of feminism to address diverse movements and struggles. She is Malawrish, or half Malawi and half Irish.
Omar is a Master's student in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University, researching food system planning. He is also a Research Assistant with the SSHRC Partnership Project, ‘Gender and Urbanisation in the Global South: a Transformative Knowledge Network’ (GenUrb). He holds a B.A in Environmental Studies from Carleton University. His research interests include social procurement, food policy, and food citizenship. Omar has previously worked both as a researcher and as an organizer in grassroots and non-profit settings.