Bill Xu is a full time Human Rights student at Carleton, and a part time climate justice activist, community organizer, coffee addict, foodie, outdoor enthusiast, and … plant lover? Before immigrating to Turtle Island at the age of nine, Bill spent most of his childhood in rural and suburban NanJing. With relations to Bill’s Chinese Name (Xu Jing Ze), meaning “to live peacefully by the river”, Cháng Jiāng (the Yangtze River) plays a significant role in Bill’s activism, as it is the river that gave and continues to give life to his city. As co-founder of the new OPIRG working group, Carleton Students for Climate Justice, Bill would like to shift approaches to climate justice activism in a way that centres anti-racism, Indigenous sovereignty/solidarity, and migrant justice; in doing so, creating a safer platform for BIPoCs to discuss climate justice without the influences of toxic-whiteness.
Throughout Next Up, community events, and his post-secondary education, Bill wishes learn more about the intersections between his roots/race and his queerness with hopes to further decolonize conversations around sex, gender, and sexuality in the Queer Asian community.
Roua Aljied is a biomedical engineering student and spoken word poet who is passionate about writing, social justice, and people. Born in Sudan and raised in London, Ontario she is currently living in Ottawa, Ontario. Her poetry focuses on issues such as anti-blackness, human rights abuses, gender-based violence, and Islamophobia. In 2014 she was crowned the Ottawa youth slam champion as well as the women’s Versefest slam champion. She has coordinated with Women in International Security Canada and the 16 Days of Activism Campaign as well as performed for the 2016 International Women’s Day ceremony in Ottawa to speak about issues of domestic abuse. Her work has been taught in classrooms, featured on CBC, as well as screened across Canada, the US, Ukraine, Germany, Ireland and Serbia. The summer of 2016, Roua gave a TEDx talk about intersectionality and accessibility in activism and the subject continues to be her main focus as she believes activism without intersectionality and accessibility is not productive or progressive. She is the cofounder of the Carleton Students for Climate Justice and hopes to create safer spaces for BIPOC, and especially women/femme identifying individuals. As a Black, Arabized, Muslim, immigrant woman she never runs out of words to write, but when she’s not performing, coding, or where she’s supposed to be, Roua can almost always be found in a coffee shop. Through story telling she hopes to connect with people in order to collectively cope and heal.
Fatima is a passionate and enthusiastic second-generation Flipinx-Canadian woman. She was born in Toronto and moved to up and coming Brampton, Ontario at the age of 11. She studied in Ottawa at Carleton University, having recently earned an undergraduate degree in Public Affairs and Policy Management, specializing in social policy. Fatima spent her undergraduate years volunteering with different groups at Carleton, primarily with the Carleton chapter of Engineers Without Borders Canada. She largely spent her time working with other youth across Canada to advocate for effective, sustainable international development policies and practices in and out of Canada. Having switched interests from international development to local community organizing and municipal politics, Fatima started volunteering with City for All Women Initiative in 2015 and is fortunate to be working as their communications and administration coordinator.
Still unsure about she wants to do with her life, Fatima hopes that she can spend time working to create an equitable and just world. She aims to find and create spaces in which marginalized voices are represented, amplified, and heard. In particular, she is interested in the intersection of mainstream and marginalized communities and finding ways to challenge the status quo. She firmly believes that complacency is unsettling and boring.
In her spare time, Fatima spends her time understanding the various ways in which race, gender, class, and age intersect in her life. She is also attempting to decolonize and focus on indigenizing herself with the Filipinx culture. You can also find Fatima trying new recipes, playing board games, making terrible puns, fantasizing about her future cat, and opening 20+ tabs on her browser and never getting back to them.
Fa'Ttima was born on unceded Algonquin territory in Ottawa with a Libyan-Trinidadian heritage. She completed her undergraduate degree at Carleton University in the Law and Legal Studies program in 2014. Currently she is completing a masters in Women and Gender Studies researching disability and employment access through the AODA. Her research interests also surround accessibility, employment, criminal justice system responses to mental health, body politics, sexuality, and popular cultural representation of persons with disabilities. She has been actively involved in feminist projects at Carleton from broadening public education on sexual assault by confronting prevalent narratives to raising money for the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre. Promoting intersectional dialogues on marginalized identities experiences of gender based violence is her current work with the GSA. Previously, she worked as a research student for Planned Parenthood on building much needed sexuality and disability resources in the Ottawa area with the intention of developing peer based support.
Next Up provides the opportunity to engage with anti oppressive frameworks and learn best practices from community leaders engaged with social justice projects. Currently, Fa'Ttima is working with on-campus organizations to improve accessibility in mental health for marginalized students while promoting a policy for more inclusive event planning for service centres. Other social justice projects she engages with include: advocating for intersectional peer support programming; addressing Islamophobia; and providing more diverse narratives for mental health. In her spare time Fa'Ttima enjoys writing poems, reading, running, inline skating, art galleries, and exploring the local progressive arts scene.
Gloria Song is a human rights lawyer and researcher with a focus on access to justice, gender-based violence, international development and circumpolar research. She has a Master of Laws at the University of Ottawa where her graduate research focused on governance and access to justice issues in Nunavut. She also holds a juris doctor law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School, and a bachelor’s degree in communications with a concentration in political science from the University of Ottawa.
Gloria practiced as the first full-time poverty lawyer to be based in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut for the Legal Services Board of Nunavut. She has also worked on human rights research projects on domestic violence laws in Guyana (through the International Development Research Centre's research award program) and Namibia (through the Canadian Bar Association’s Young Lawyers International Program). She currently serves as the co-chair of the Law Society of Nunavut’s Access to Justice Committee.
Gloria also volunteers for her community to empower marginalized populations, administering the Osgoode Hall Korean Law Students Association Alumni bursary fund, facilitating legal rights workshops, and teaching keyboards at Ottawa Rock Camp for Girls. In addition, she is the frontwoman for the Ottawa-based indie dream pop band Scary Bear Soundtrack.
Abeal Biruk graduated from Carleton University for Human Rights with a minor in Philosophy. Born and raised in Ottawa in an Ethiopian family, he maintains a strong relationship with the Ottawa-Ethiopian community. He is Co-President of the Ethiopian Orthodox youth group and enjoys ethical discussions on the current and future use of technology. He is a firm believer in pursuing multiple interests to develop a better sense of both internal and external perspectives. Abeal spent a significant portion of his life working within a family-run convenience store where he developed the ability to communicate and understand the needs of the different demographics of the community. He joined the Next Up Ottawa to learn how to work within a social justice framework and better understand the social issues faced in the province. Along side his passion for social justice, he is in the process of attaining his personal training certification to help individuals maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
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.