Changemaker Spotlights

We would like to recognize some amazing Changemakers who dedicate their time, passion, and efforts toward promoting social change.

 

These Changemekers have demonstrated how they are intentional about solving a social problem, highly motivated to act on promoting change, and creative in the way they reach their communities.

We are honoured to recognize the following Changemakers!

Arlo Johnson

 Digital Project Manager, Sommelier

Arlo was born and raised in St. Catharines and although he now works as a Project Manager and Web Designer, he has spent the last decade working in the hospitality industry and you can still find him serving wine at local wineries on the weekends.

He is outspoken about the daily issues that people in the trans community face and appreciates the privilege he has as a white, cisgender-passing man to be able to have the necessary, but often difficult conversations, around equality for the 2SLGBTQ+ community.

Recently, he successfully petitioned the Pen Centre to remove a potentially dangerous access barrier to their gender-neutral washroom. 


He hopes to see more action taken to make all spaces safe, comfortable and accessible for trans individuals.

What does change mean for Arlo ?

“Change to me involves both policy change and individual change. We need legislation and protection for the queer community - particularly BIPOC folks - but I also value the ability to open people’s minds to the fact that transgender people really are just trying to live their lives.”

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Trecia McLennon

Director, EDI Culture and Education at Brock University | Board member at Brock University | Founder at Culturiousity | Keynote speaker | Chair of the Equity and Inclusion Advisory for the City of St. Catharines

Trecia is the Director, EDI Culture and Education at Brock Human Resources where she provides innovative vision, leadership and oversight for developing and implementing institutional initiatives to advance Brock’s equity, diversity and inclusion goals. Previously serving in Brock Human Rights and Equity, Trecia began her career at Brock as an Intercultural Communications Coordinator in Brock International. She was also seconded for a year to Brock’s Centre for Pedagogical Innovation on a project to embed culturally responsive pedagogy into the curriculum.

 

Trecia wears many hats at Brock including serving on the President’s Advisory Council for Human Rights, Equity and Decolonization (PACHRED) since its inception, and where she is also elected by her staff peers to Brock’s Board of Trustees. Trecia also co-led the creation of Brock’s Black caucus for faculty and staff, which played a key role in successfully advocating for the cluster hire of 12 new Black faculty and librarians.

 

In addition to her work at Brock, Trecia is the founder of Culturiousity which helps organizations, teams and leaders develop cultural competence for better relationships, respect and results. Culturiousity partners with organizations, groups, and individuals who strive to make a positive impact in their work, life, and communities.

 

She is a former assistant professor in the School of International Studies at the University of Ulsan in South Korea and a former instructor of Global Management Studies at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson). Trecia is the author of the anthology Trailblasian, the only known published collection delving into the voices and experiences of 17 Black women from three different countries living and working in East Asia; and co-author of an Open Educational Resource on Professional Communication being used at no cost to students by several institutions in Canada and around the world. In late 2021 she also authored another open educational resource on Intercultural Awareness and Competence for eCampus Ontario.

 

Her experience traveling to 18 and living in five different countries allowed her to learn varying degrees of five languages, cultivate a passion for all things intercultural and nurture a deep commitment to equity and inclusion.

 

Trecia is a leader in the Niagara Region. She currently chairs the Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee for the city of St. Catharines, she ran in the 2021 Federal election as NDP candidate for St. Catharines gaining over 21% of the vote, and she was the invited keynote speaker for 2020’s Niagara Leadership Summit for Women.

 

Trecia describes herself as a proud parent and change agent who aims to be a good ancestor, and leave the world better for future generations.

 

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Sabrina Hill

Filmmaker, Photojournalist, Political Candidate

Sabrina Constance Hill (she/her) is a resident of St. Catharines who recently announced her candidacy for the Regional Municipality of Niagara (representing the residents of the city of St. Catharines).

 

Her interest in political activism started in high school, where she began volunteering and working for a local political party. Later, she was appointed the youngest Director at Large for the same national political party. Years later, while enrolled at Brock University, she ran for undergraduate Senator and won. In her two terms as Senator, she successfully lobbied to have bus passes included for all full-time Brock students and several other initiatives that improved countless undergraduates' learning experiences.

 

Since then, Sabrina has became active in advocacy outside the partisan political system, focusing on improving transparency and accountability within the Region. Reforming policing services and lobbying for legal aid protection and accessibility for working-class families, as well as speaking on behalf of many equity-seeking communities in St. Catharines and across Niagara, including the 2SLGBTQQIA+, those experiencing poverty, homelessness, and the Indigenous community, is very important to Sabrina. She currently serves on two committees with the Regional Municipality of Niagara; the Women's Advisory Committee and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee (serving as Chairperson).

 

Sabrina has been fortunate to have worked in many rewarding professions; as an educator, as a journalist, and in various roles at Start Me Up Niagara, all of which have informed her current platform and advocacy work. As an open and proud transwoman, Sabrina hopes to be a part of a new, more inclusive and diverse Niagara, where once unheard voices are represented, valued, and have a seat at the table. She hopes to be a voice for a better Niagara.

What does change mean to Sabrina?

“I think it’s time that Niagara finds a more meaningful place at the table for those who experience inequality and marginalization. When developing programs, policies, and practices that affect all residents of this greater Niagara community, the halls and chambers of power need to be a mirror whereby residents can see themselves appropriately and competently represented. Change; authentic, meaningful and sustained change, means electing and empowering decision-makers who have distinct lived experiences reflective of the ever-changing demography of our community and region. I genuinely believe that it’s time that those who represent us come from the diverse, colourful, unique communities and experiences of those who live throughout and across Niagara.”

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Jessica Victoria

Founder/ Executive Director of

Stay Strong Collective

Jessica Victoria is the Founder/Executive Director of Stay Strong Collective, an organization in St. Catharines, Ontario which offers an accessible and safe space for people, particularly members of marginalized BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities, to participate in various wellness activities, such as art, meditation, yoga, and music. The collective also offers a variety of virtual events to ensure all members of the community have access to get involved.  

Jessica Victoria graduated from Niagara College’s Journalism program in 2016 and has also taken multiple psychology/mental health courses and trainings, including Mental Health First Aid and ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training). 

Jessica has authored two outstanding books: 'So I Said to My Anxiety' and 'From Why to Fly: Personal Stories and Advice on Mental, Physical and other Life Challenges'. Within these books, Jessica shares her personal experiences with anxiety and mild depression, as well as a physical disability. She is a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community and loves helping people through her knowledge, experiences, and advocacy!

Find out more about the Stay Strong Collective by visiting their website:

Order Jessica Victoria's amazing books and check out other awesome items (all proceeds going to the Stay Strong Collective):

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William Roger Dullius

Nursing Professor, PhD Candidate 

William (Will) is a Nursing Professor at EEEM Cônego João Batista Sorg and holds a Nursing degree from Brock University, a Master Degree of Psychology from IMED, and is currently in the Thesis Qualification stage for his PhD which focuses on Digital Education and Health in Care to the Brazilian LGBT+ Population.  

Will has done extensive research around the continuing education of health professionals to provide humanized care to LGBT+ people. With his team, he is developing a cellphone app which includes a continuing education course  called “Ally: a holistic approach to the LGBT+ individual”. The course educates participants about six main topics: Human Sexuality, Equitable Care and Appropriate Terminologies, Health Policy for the LGBT+ Population,  Cultural Competencies for Health Professionals, The Aging of the LGBT+ Population, and Mental Health and the LGBT+ Individual. 

Will is also doing research to see the demographic situation from LGBT people in Brazil and asking about how they see their aging process, the health assistance they have received, and whether they have chosen not to go to a health professional because they were afraid or in the past experienced LGBT phobia.

What does change mean to Will? 

 

"Change is an opportunity to be open-minded through knowledge and not promoting micro-aggressions to others."

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Khulood Agha Khan

Recent Graduate of Doctor of Education from University of Toronto

Khulood was born in Pakistan, lived in Saudi Arabia, and immigrated to Canada 19 years ago and is a Canadian citizen. She wrote the guidebook "Mirrors & Reflection: Knowing Your Power: From One Muslim Immigrant Sister to Another", a book she wished she had when she came to Canada to be better prepared to face the challenges and systemic barriers. Her book is composed of first person accounts of Muslim women.

To Khulood, change means not portraying Muslim immigrant women as passive, suppressed, or barbaric as they are seen in the Orientalist view, rather seeing them authoritative in their own way by listening to what they believe in. Through interviews and I creative workshops with Muslim women, Khulood found that all of the participants in the study embraced their parental, patriarchal ,or religious authority claiming it to be a part of them and who they are. They mentioned how they believe in religion and their elders, but it came across more as their strength than an obstacle to their self-fulfillment. They often used the words respect and modesty when speaking about values, religion, and elders. I believe it is not what diminishes but adds to their self-esteem. Her hope is that her guidebook will bring a change in perception about Muslim immigrant women in Canada to see their high self-esteem without judging them by their appearance or language because, in the words of Khulood, “When they are given a chance, they shine in their own domain.” 

To support this important initiative, please visit Khulood's website!

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Shelly Skinner (she/her)

Activist, Social Entrepreneur, Educator and Community Builder

With her lived experience of homelessness, racism, domestic and sexual violence and Black Queer homophobia and discrimination, Shelly carries a story of inspirational perseverance, resiliency and dedication to the betterment of her community.

In 2020, amid a global pandemic, Shelly founded UPlift Black (http://upliftblack.org) a social service agency dedicated to increasing the visibility and socio-economic development of local black communities. To combat homophobia among the Black community and to challenge misogynoir, UPlift Black is anchored in 2SLGBTQ+ inclusivity, with hopes of leading the change in what it means to be a diverse and inclusive social impact agency.

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Sherri Darlene

Founder of Justice4BlackLives Niagara

Sherri Darlene is the founder of Justice4BlackLives Niagara. In June 2020, Darlene organized the hugely successful #Justice4BlackLives protest in Niagara Falls Ontario. She has been very open about her own experiences of being subjected to discrimination because of the colour of her skin and is committed to fighting for racial equality. She urges those who hold white privilege to recognize the effects of white supremacy and take actions for positive change. As well, Darlene wants the community to recognize that racism is alive and well in Canada, and she has organized other community events to bring the Niagara community together in supporting and advocating for change in order to create safe environments for everyone. Thank-you Sherri Darlene for your dedication to making change a reality!

You can learn more about Sherri's activism and get involved yourself by:

  • visiting her website: justice4blacklives.com

  • Following her on Facebook Justice4BlackLives

  • Following her on Instagram justice4blacklivesniagara

  • Following her on Twitter j4BL_S

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Lori Patricia Marquis

Every Child Matters Niagara Region Social Justice Activist

We are proud to recognize Lori Patricia Marquis (Patricia Ann Charles) for her dedication to advocating for Truth and Reconciliation. Originally from Lac La Ronge in north-central Saskatchewan, Marquis is a residential school survivor as well as a survivor of the foster-care system. She is an activist who is dedicated to raising awareness about the truths of the residential school systems and to fight for every child to be brought home. October 3, 2021, Marquis organized an Every Child Matters walk in Welland Ontario to bring the community together to remember Indigenous children who never returned home and to honour First Nations, Inuit and Métis survivors, their families, and communities. Thank-you Lori Patricia Marquis (Patricia Ann Charles) for your dedication to making change a reality!

What does change mean to Lori?

"Change to me is so many things. I've changed my life not because I had to but because I wanted to. If I could make the difference in one person's life so that they can pay it forward to change their own path, then that is Change."

You can learn more about Lori's activism and get involved yourself by:​

  • Following her on Facebook: Lori Patricia Marquis

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Kelly Frances Davis
Heyote'dok

Founder of Two Row Educational Services

We are proud to recognize Kelly Frances Davis- Heyote’dok for her dedication to and promotion of peace and harmony amongst people, within their environments, and within themselves. Davis is a Haudenosaunee woman from the Six Nations of the Grand River territory, an author, public speaker, and teacher. She is the Director of Indigenous Education and Enlightenment at Canadian Congress on Inclusive Diversity & Workplace Equity, a motivated spiritual being committed to implementing the Calls to Action and to Reconciliation work, and the founder of the Two Row Education Services. Thank-you Kelly Frances Davis- Heyote’dok for your dedication to making change a reality!

What does change mean to Kelly?

 

"Change is necessary for growth! Change happens when we learn and decide to do better."

You can learn more about Kelly's activism and get involved yourself by:

  • visiting her website: www.frantastichealth.com

  • Following her on Facebook: Kelly Frantastic Davis

  • Following her on Instagram: frantastic71

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Emma Greenfield

Indigenization Specialist Indigenous Services, Georgian College

Emma Charan Greenfield (she/her) is the Indigenization Specialist Indigenous Services at Georgian College. Her work largely centres around reimagining education systems that honour First Nations, Métis, and Inuit stories, knowledges, and perspectives. Emma is a graduate of Seneca College's Bachelor of Child Development program and recently completed her Master of Education in Social Justice Education at OISE. Emma is passionate about anti-oppressive education and decolonizing pedagogies. Emma runs the book club Gindaasdaa at Georgian College which amplifies the voices of Indigenous writers. We are proud to have Emma as part of our volunteer team in the role of Educational Resource Developer.

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Mercedes Jacko (she/her/they)

Indigenous Initiatives Coordinator at Lakehead University

We are proud to recognize Mercedes Jacko for her support of Indigenous students and her dedication to advocating for Indigenous awareness. Jacko is part of the Bear Clan. She is both First Nations Ojibwe and Canadian. Her family is from Whitefish River First Nation, but she grew up with an urban experience in Toronto. In her role at Georgian College as the Indigenous Student Advisor in Indigenous Services on the Orillia campus, Mercedes took part in both academically supporting Indigenous students and leading Indigenous initiatives by coordinating awareness campaigns, workshops, events, and activities for Georgian College students and staff. She is currently working as Indigenous Initiatives Coordinator at Lakehead University. 

What does change mean to Mercedes?

"Honouring diversity will lead to change. Change is when people come together and celebrate their differences. By truly honouring everyone’s gifts, knowledge and perspectives, we can shift our intentions towards growth, inspiration, and change. Everyone has knowledge to share and that is the true strength of diversity."

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Angela Foster, Mercedes Jacko, & Lance Triskle

Truth & Reconciliation Trail at

Georgian College Orillia Campus

Angela Foster, Mercedes Jacko, and Lance Triskle helped the Georgian College community to honour the National Day for Truth by creating an initiative where the community could paint and place orange rocks along the newly named Truth and Reconciliation Trail on the Orillia campus. Prior to the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Orillia Campus community gathered to paint the rocks orange for the ceremony. Painted rocks were then left at the trail head for the community to place a rock on the trail and reflect on reconciliation and on the lives impacted by the residential schools. After the rocks were placed along the trail, Indigenous Student Advisor, Mercedes Jacko led the community in a Circle. She shared that “The Circle provided space for participants to share their truths, stories and intentions moving forward in reconciliation.”

What does change mean to Angela, Mercedes, & Lance?

Change means continuing to repair the relationship with Indigenous communities across Canada.

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Other Featured 
Changemakers
Coming Soon!

Nominate a community changemaker you want recognized by emailing us!

Email your nominations to Contact.Chapters4Change@gmail.com

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