SPEAKERS BIOS

Alexander McClelland is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Carleton University. His work focuses on the intersections of life, law, and disease. He co-created the Policing the Pandemic Mapping Project, which visualized the enforcement of COVID-19 across Canada for the first year of the pandemic.
 

Amber Sandy coordinates SciXchange’s outreach programmes with a focus on Indigenous knowledge-based science. She is a member of Neyaashiinigmiing, the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation. Amber has managed various community based projects and programmes where she gained skills in resource and programme development, community outreach and educator training, and capacity building projects integrating traditional and western science in her approach to conservation and environmental science. She believes that Indigenous people are natural scientists as science is inherent in Indigenous languages, stories, and interactions with the environment. It is her passion and commitment to share these views with Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples alike through education.

Andrea Ritchie is a Black lesbian immigrant survivor who has been documenting, organizing, advocating, litigating, and agitating around policing and criminalization of Black women, girls, trans, and gender nonconforming people for the past three decades. She is the author of Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color and co-author of Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black WomenQueer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States, and the forthcoming No More Police: A Case for Abolition. She co-founded the Interrupting Criminalization initiative with Mariame Kaba, as well as the In Our Names Network, a network of over 20 organizations working to end police violence against Black women, girls, trans and gender nonconforming people. She currently hosts the Invest/Divest Learning Communities at the Community Resource Hub, and supports dozens of organizations across the US working to divest from policing and invest in community safety. She has authored numerous research reports, articles, and opinion pieces on policing, criminalization, mass incarceration and immigration enforcement.
 

Andreia Beatriz is a a Family Health Practitioner with the Brazilian Society of Family and Community Medicine. She works with a health team at Lemos Brito Penitentiary/ Bahia. She is Professor at the Department of Health and Researcher at the Interdisciplinary Center for Studies in Health Inequalities (NUDES) at the State University of Feira de Santana. She is coordinator of the Political Organization Reaja ou Será Morta (React or die!)which since 2005 has been developing practices and actions to combat the genocide of black people in the streets, slums and inside prisons. She is the creator of the permanent action Intramuros Health and Culture in the Bahian prison system and co-founder of the Community School quilombista Winnie Mandela. She is author of the book Olhar entre grades, vidas em poemas, published by Reaja Editora (2020) of which she is co-founder.  She co-directed the documentary film Genocide and Movements, released by the production company Couro de Rato (2021). 

Aviah Day is a community organiser involved in Sisters Uncut, a national direct-action collective fighting cuts to domestic violence services as well as state violence. She is also involved in the Kill the Bill Coalition, a national movement resisting the Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill as well as Hackney Cop Watch which provides the people of Hackney, London with the skills to protect themselves and each other from police violence by building community resistance to state coercion. Aviah is the co-author of Abolition Revolution.
 

Beverly Bain is a Black queer radical feminist anti-capitalist scholar, public intellectual and organizer. She teaches on Feminism, Blackness, queer diaspora, radical pedagogies, anti-violence, anti-racism and abolition in Women and Gender Studies, in the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Toronto/ Mississauga Campus.
 

Briana Olson Pitawanakwat is an Indigenous Birthworker, radical educator, organizer, multimedia artist and Queer Anishinaabekwe from Wiikwemkoong Unceded First nation. She currently runs Toronto Indigenous Harm Reduction and Native Arts Society, 2 spirit led initiatives with her fiancé Nanook Gordon.
 

Christophe Lewis (he/him) is an activist and former prisoner.
 

Courtney Skye (she/her) is Mohawk, Turtle Clan, from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. She is a Research Fellow at Yellowhead Institute, a First Nations-led governance think tank at the Faculty of Arts at X University.

Desmond Cole is a journalist, radio host, and activist. His debut book, The Skin We’re In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power, won the Toronto Book Award and was a finalist for the Forest of Reading Evergreen Award and the Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize. It was also named a best book of 2020 by The Globe and Mail, NOW Magazine, CBC, Quill & Quire, and Indigo. Cole’s writing has appeared in the Toronto Star, Toronto Life, The Walrus, and the Ottawa Citizen, among others. He lives in Toronto.

Ellen Gabriel is a Kanehsatà:ke Mohawk Territory Indigenous Human Rights Activist. Gabriel was well-known to the public when she was chosen by the People of the Longhouse and her community of Kanehsatà:ke to be their spokesperson during the 1990 “Oka” Crisis; to protect the Pines from the expansion of a 9 hole golf course in “Oka”. For the past 22 years she has been a human rights advocate for the collective and individual rights of Indigenous peoples and has worked diligently to sensitize the public, academics, policing authorities and politicians  on the history, culture and identity of Indigenous peoples. She has made numerous public presentations on Indigenous rights and history, including presentations to Parliamentary committees and the National Assembly on legislative amendments affecting the rights of Aboriginal peoples in Canada.   She has been active at the international level participating at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous issues, negotiations on the Nagoya Protocol of the Convention on Biodiversity and most recently, at the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. She has traveled across Canada, to the Hague in Holland, Strasbourg, France to address the European parliament, and to Japan to educate people about the events in her community during the 1990 “Oka Crisis” when she was chosen by the Longhouse and her community to be their spokesperson.  

Ms. Gabriel has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Concordia University where she graduated in May 1990. She worked as an Illustrator/Curriculum developer for Tsi Ronteriwanónha ne Kanien’kéka/ Kanehsatà:ke Resource Center in Kanehsatà:ke and also worked as an Art Teacher for the Mohawk Immersion School for grades 1-6.  Ellen has also worked on videos illustrating legends of the Iroquois people and the local community stories.  She is presently an active board member of Kontinón:sta’ts – Mohawk Language Custodians and First Peoples Human Rights Coalition. In 2004, Ellen Gabriel was elected president of the Quebec Native Women’s Association a position which she held for 6 ½ years, until December 2010. In 2005, Gabriel received the Golden Eagle Award from the Native Women’s Association of Canada; 2008 International Women’s Day Award from the Barreau du Québec/Québec Bar Association and as well in August 2008. Gabriel was the recipient of the Indigenous Women’s Initiative “Jigonsaseh Women of Peace Award” for her advocacy work. She believes that decolonization will be achieved by implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples with the full and effective participation of Indigenous peoples.  She believes that education controlled by First Nations peoples based upon our languages and culture are paramount to the revitalization of our institutions damaged by the Indian Act, the Indian Residential School and colonial legislation and policy.  Our traditional knowledge is precious, is one of the key components for Indigenous peoples in overcoming colonial oppression. She is an advocate for gender equity, the revitalization of Indigenous languages, culture, traditions and Indigenous governing structures.

 

Ellie Ade Kur works with Maggie's Toronto Sex Workers Action Project, focusing on projects for Black sex workers, mutual aid and community supports for sex workers navigating increased scrutiny and criminalization from police, courts and the public. She is a graduate student in Human Geography and Urban Planning at the University of Toronto writing and teaching on sex worker justice, police violence and community organizing in the city. 

 

Erica Violet Lee is a nēhiyaw writer and community organizer based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. 

Fania Noel is a Haitian-born, French Afrofeminist organizer, thinker, and writer. Fania Noel is living in New York where she is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at The New School for Social Research, working on the specialization of Black political organizations in contemporary France. Since 2015 she has been the co-founder and editorial director of the political journal on intersectionality Revue AssiégéEs (Besieged), a political publishing project led by women, queer and trans people of color, After 5 years as a member of the MWASI – Collectif Afroféministe, she joined in 2021 Black Feminist Future‘s Board of Directors. She is actually the publication director and creator of Alaso, a Haitian feminist anthology revue edited by the Haitian feminist organization Nègès Mawon. Her second book "Et maintenant le pouvoir. Un horizon politique afroféministe" [Power now! An Afrofeminist political horizon] (Cambourakis Editions) has been published in 2022. 
 

Gary Kinsman is a long time queer liberation, anti-capitalist, anti-poverty and anti-racist activist and is a member of the No Pride in Policing Coalition, the AIDS Activist History Project, and the Anti-69 Network. He is the author of The Regulation of Desire (which he/they is working on the 3rd edition of), co-author of The Canadian War on Queers: National Security as Sexual Regulation, and editor of We Still Demand! His/their website is radical noise at www.radicalnoise.ca.
 

Glowz (she/her) is a member of Toronto Prisoners' Rights Project and is supporting a loved one on the inside. 

 

Harsha Walia is a South Asian activist and writer based in Vancouver, unceded Coast Salish Territories. She has been involved in community-based grassroots migrant justice, feminist, anti-racist, Indigenous solidarity, anti-capitalist, Palestinian liberation, and anti-imperialist movements, including No One is Illegal and Women’s Memorial March Committee. She is formally trained in law, works with women in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, and is the author of Border and Rule: Global Migration, Capitalism, and the Rise of Racist Nationalism (Fernwood Publishing) and Undoing Border Imperialism (AK Press). 

Idil Abdillahi is an Assistant Professor at the School of Disability Studies at X University.

Imani Mason Jordan is an interdisciplinary writer and artist. They are the comms strategist at Release, the UK’s national centre of expertise on drugs and drugs law, where they are the editor of TalkingDrugs.org, a multilingual platform for news and analysis on drug use, policy, harm reduction and related issues across the world. Their 2020 chapter, 'Towards an Abolitionist Drug Policy Reform', appears in The Impact of Global Drug Policy on Women: Shifting the Needle by Emerald Publishing. In 2019 Imani was a plenary speaker at Harm Reduction International in Porto, Portugal and co-produced REGENERATE, a black-led arts festival on the intersections of drug policy, racial justice and liberation in 2018, alongside Camille Barton. Imani has facilitated reading and discussion groups on abolition with Abolitionist Futures and black abolitionist. 
 

Isabel Altamirano Jiménez is a Binizá feminist scholar and activist from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Mexico. She is Professor of political science, Canada Research Chair in Comparative Indigenous Feminist Studies and the organizer of the annual Indigenous Feminisms Workshop at the University of Alberta. Isabel has been collaborating with the Oaxacan University of Communality in Xdani Guia since its beginning. Her research interrogates the connection among body, land and different modalities of natural resource extraction in Canada and Mexico as well as the practices of refusal enacted by Indigenous people, particularly Indigenous women.
 

Jamie-Lynn Magnusson is speaking on behalf of No Pride in Policing Coalition.

Kara Passey (they/them) is a non-binary, Ukrainian/Irish settler living in Treaty 1 Territory. They hold a BFA (Honours) from the University of Manitoba (2011), and a Masters of Development Practice from the University of Winnipeg (2019). Kara has over a decade of community development experience including program delivery, non-profits, community organizing, participatory action research, and economic development. Their passion for art and music fueled their earliest ventures into community organizing; Cootie Club, Negative Space, and Winnipeg’s Not Enough Fest were all initiatives that concentrated on creating safer spaces, removing barriers, and promoting the participation of women and non-binary people in Winnipeg music. Kara became a member of Winnipeg Police Cause Harm, a grassroots initiative committed to defunding the Winnipeg Police Service and reallocating resources to life-sustaining services.   
 

King Kxndi is an artist and political scientist. 
 

Kristen Bos is co-director of the Indigenous-led Technoscience Research Unit and Assistant Professor of Historical Studies at the University of Toronto Mississauga and the Women and Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto. She is an Indigenous feminist researcher and writer trained in archaeological approaches to material culture as well as an Indigenous science, technology, and society (STS) researcher, who is concerned with visualizing the relationship between colonial, gendered, and environmental violence. She also has a longstanding relationship with Toronto’s Rape Crisis Centre. Bos is urban Métis based in Toronto, but her homeland is northern Alberta where prairie transitions into boreal forest. 
 

Kyon Ferril is speaking on behalf of the Toronto Prisoners' Rights Project.

Lama (they/them) is queer Palestinian Egyptian who is engaged in community organizing and activism in Tkoronto. Lama’s work centres queer and trans Black, Brown, Indigenous and radicalized communities’ liberation and joint struggle work. They believe in the power of community congregating and healing together through storytelling and meeting each other. They hold space on their social media for education, art and activism centered around Palestinian, SWANA (South West Asia and North Africa) and racialized queer and trans voices. They are dedicated to sharing their queer Palestinian Egyptian story and art wherever they go, as well as, creating and sustaining spaces where they can amplify and support other QTBIPOC folks' work. 
 

LLana James' research illuminates the ways in which technology can undermine or bolster human rights in the context of clinical care, rehabilitation science and public health. She critically appraises current applications of data and technology, while developing and implementing interventions that seed new, ethical futures. As a result of her ground-breaking work, she is the inaugural AI, Medicine, and Data Justice Post-Doctoral Fellow at Queen’s University.
 

Dr. Megan Scribe (She/Her/Hers) is Ininiw iskwew from Norway House Cree Nation. She is an interdisciplinary Indigenous feminist researcher, writer, and educator. Scribe’s research interests include Indigeneity, systems of power and oppression, and Indigenous worlding through speculative fiction and poetic inquiry. Scribe is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at X University, an Associate Research Fellow with Yellowhead Institute, and a Council Member for Aboriginal Legal Services’ Community Council Diversion Program.
 

Mikinaak Migwans is is assistant professor of Indigenous Contemporary Art in Canada and curator at the Art Museum, University of Toronto. A multimedia artist by training, Migwans has expanded their work to include research, teaching, curation and community engagement. An Anishinaabekwe of Wikwemikong Unceded First Nation, Migwans has focused their work on reclaiming Anishinaabe artistic practices and legacies from the archives of colonial institutions. Exploring Anishinaabe art and crafts in museum collections through the lens of critical theory, Migwans addresses questions of object repatriation, culturally sensitive exhibition and the politics of place-making, particularly in land-based art.

 

Mylan Tootoosis is Nêhiyawpwat (Plains Cree-Nakota) from Poundmaker Cree Nation located within Treaty Six Territory. He completed his Masters of Arts in Indigenous Governance at the University of Victoria in British Columbia in 2013 and obtained his Bachelors of Arts in Indigenous Liberal Studies at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  He has participated in various land based education programs in Costa Rica, Hawai’i, Belize, and Mexico. He is  has spent much of his youth working along side and being trained by his parents Arsene and Kimberly Tootoosis who are also the founders of Red Echo Associates. He is currently a Doctoral Student in the Department of Indigenous Studies at the University of Saskatchewan. He has recently instructed and lectured university classes at the University of Saskatchewan gaining insightful experience on how to better engage and prepare Indigenous Students for academia. His thesis and research concentrates on Indigenous Governance, Decolonization, and Political Ecology on the Prairie. He is currently working four-days a week on the Student Services team at Chief Little Pine School as a Life Skills Coach. He also has a podcast The Radicle Narrative.
 

Nanook Gordon is an actor, carver, and silk-screen printmaker who was born in Inuvik, Invialuit Settlement Region, NT, and who lives in Toronto, ON. After reconnecting with their mother and learning more about the intergenerational legacy of residential schools, they founded Feeding Canada, which sends food and other essentials to northern communities. Gordon began silk-screening t-shirts to raise money for the program. Gordon also founded the Intergenerational Survivor Project to capture the stories of those dealing with intergenerational residential school trauma, and co-founded Porcupine Warriors, which stages peaceful protests for increased land and water protections. They currently run Toronto Indigenous Harm Reduction and Native Arts Society, 2 spirit led initiatives with their fiancé Briana Olson Pitawanakwat.

Nick Estes is a citizen of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe. He is the author of Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance (Verso, 2019), coeditor with Jaskiran Dhillon of Standing with Standing Rock: Voices from the #NoDAPL Movement (University of Minnesota Press, 2019), and coauthor with Melanie K. Yazzie, Jennifer Nez Denetdale, and David Correia of Red Nation Rising: From Bordertown Violence to Native Liberation (PM Press, 2021). In 2014 he co-founded The Red Nation, an Indigenous resistance organization, and he is cohost of The Red Nation podcast. His writing has appeared in the Guardian, Intercept, Jacobin, Indian Country Today, High Country News, and other publications. Estes was an American Democracy Fellow at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University (2017–2018) and until 2021 was an assistant professor in the American Studies Department at the University of New Mexico. He joins the faculty of the University of Minnesota Department of American Indian Studies in 2022.
 

Petra Molnar is a lawyer and anthropologist and the Associate Director of the Refugee Law Lab, York University. Her current work focuses on the impacts of surveillance technologies on people crossing borders and splits her time between Canada and Greece. She is currently working on her first book, Artificial Borders: AI, Surveillance, and Border Tech Experiments, coming out in 2022.
 

Rajean Hoillet is President & Vice-President Equity, Ryerson Students’ Union; Chairperson, Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario; and Member, Toronto Prisoners Rights Project.

 

Riley Kucheran is an Indigenous fashion researcher who supports a global community of Indigenous makers who are leading design resurgence. His experience in fashion retail, entrepreneurship, and Indigenous theory means he sees fashion as a powerful tool for decolonization: Land-based Indigenous design relies on community relations to collectively make clothing in respectful and reciprocal ways. He is a member of Biigtigong Nishnaabeg (Pic River First Nation) and an Assistant Professor of Design Leadership in Fashion at The Creative School.
 

Rinaldo Walcott is professor in the Women and Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto. He is the author of The Long Emancipation: Moving Toward Black Freedom (Duke, 2021) and On Property  (Biblioasis, 2021) which was shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award.
 

Robyn Maynard is a Toronto-based writer and scholar. Her wide-ranging body of work on policing, abolition and Black liberation has received a number of prominent nominations and awards, has been translated into multiple languages, and is taught widely across universities in Canada, the US and Europe. Maynard’s most well-known work is Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present, a national-bestseller. It was named “best book of the year” by The Globe and Mail, The Walrus, and The Hill Times, shortlisted for an Atlantic Book  Award, the Concordia University First Book Prize and the Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-fiction, and is the winner of the 2017 Annual Errol Morris Book Prize. Maynard has refereed works published in TOPIA, Critical Ethnic Studies, Scholar and Feminist, Canadian Women’s Studies, Atlantis, and an assortment of anthologies, and publishes regularly in trade publications like the Toronto Star and Washington Post. Her latest work is Rehearsals for Living, co-authored with Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, forthcoming in June 2022 with Knopf (Canada), Haymarket: Abolition Paper Series (US) and Memoire D’encrier (French translation).
 

Sam Tecle’s research and scholarly work spans across the areas of Black and Diaspora Studies, Urban Studies, and Sociology of Education. His work focuses on the analysis of diverse experiences, trajectories and expressions of Blackness, grounded in particular histories of  racialization, colonialism, community formation and resistance. His forthcoming work Black Grammars: On Difference and Belonging explores the experiences and perspectives relating to blackness and Black identification of East African Diasporas across the UK, Canada and the US. More broadly, Sam is interested in questions of Black Sociality, Black cultural production and its expressions across the diaspora.
 

Shanice McBean is one part of Sisters Uncut (UK) and co-author of Abolition Revolution (Pluto Press 2022).

 

Shady Hafez is a passionate advocate for the liberation of Indigenous nations through the revitalization of Indigenous ways of knowing and being. Much of Shady’s work has been dedicated towards community development and front-line service provision in both on-reserve and urban settings. Beyond his current position at the National Association of Friendship Centres, Shady is also an instructor in the Indigenous Wellness and Addictions Program at Canadore College which is currently hosted in his home community. In his spare time Shady is an avid writer, commentator, dancer and learner/practitioner of Anishinabe arts, culture and land-based practice which he hopes to pass on to his amazing daughter, Ayah.

Skyler WIlliams (he/him) is Mohawk from Six Nations of the Grand River. He is the spokesperson for 1492 Land Back Land, an ongoing land defense within Six Nations.
 

Souheil Benslimane is a Non-Binary, Queer, illegalized, criminalized migrant, and former prisoner who is currently living on occupied, unceded, and unsurrendered Algonquin Anishinaabe territory where they await an imminent deportation to so-called Morocco. Souheil became involved in abolitionist as well as prisoner and migrant justice organizing as they were released from the penitentiary and immigration detention in March 2018 as a member of the Criminalization and Punishment Education Project (CPEP), a member of the Ottawa Sanctuary Network (OSN), and an organizer with the Jail Accountability and Information Line (JAIL) hotline. Souheil organizes with incarcerated comrades and is also involved in police abolition organizing, mutual aid, and other projects and sites of resistance on Algonquin Anishinaabe territory as a guest and displaced human.

 

Todd Miller writes a weekly post for The Border Chronicle. He has researched and written about border issues for more than 15 years, the last eight as an independent journalist and writer. He resides in Tucson, Arizona, but also has spent many years living and working in Oaxaca, Mexico. His work has appeared in the New York Times, TomDispatch, The Nation, San Francisco Chronicle, In These Times, Guernica, and Al Jazeera English, among other places. Miller has authored four books: Build Bridges, Not Walls: A Journey to a World Without Borders (City Lights, 2021), Empire of Borders: The Expansion of the U.S. Border Around the World (Verso, 2019), Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security (City Lights, 2017), and Border Patrol Nation: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Homeland Security (City Lights, 2014).
 

Uahikea Maile is a Kanaka Maoli scholar, organizer, and practitioner from Maunawili on the island of Oʻahu. He is an Assistant Professor of Indigenous Politics in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto St. George, and an Affiliate Faculty with the Centre for Indigenous Studies and Centre for the Study of the United States. Maile is also an Editor with Red Media, a media project and press for and by Indigenous peoples, which recently published The Red Deal: Indigenous Action to Save Our Earth.
 

Vanessa Gray co-founded Aamjiwaang and Sarnia Against Pipelines (ASAP) and is also co-lead of the Environmental Data Justice Lab at the Technoscience Research Unit at the University of Toronto. She is an Anishinaabe kwe from Aamjiwnaang First Nation, located in Canada’s Chemical Valley. As a grassroots organizer, land defender, and educator, Vanessa works to decolonize environmental justice research by linking scholarly findings to traditional teachings. She continues to take part in a diversity of tactics such as direct action, classroom lectures, co-hosting Toxic Tours, and Water Gatherings.
 

Yasmin Jiwani is a full professor in the Department of Communication Studies, and a Concordia University Research Chair on Intersectionality, Violence and Resistance. Her research interests focus on the discursive ways in which racist-sexism is conceptualized and ideologically utilized in popular discourse. The particular sites which she has examined include media reportage of violence against Indigenous and racialized immigrant women, representations of Indigenous and Muslim youth in the popular press, as well as discourses of resistance articulated by marginalized groups in film and other popular media. Her most recent project is centered on cyber-memorials and virtual graveyards as reflections of the vernacular. Here, her analysis attends to race, gender and belonging as expressed in the narratives posted on these sites. She is the author of Discourses of Denial: Race, Gender and Violence, and co-editor of Girlhood, Redefining the Limits, and Faces of Violence in the Lives of Girls.
 

Zoë Dodd is a long time harm reduction and drug user advocate, organizer, activist and scholar. She is currently working at MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions at St. Michael’s Hospital, Unity Health, as the inaugural Community Scholar https://maphealth.ca/dodd/ . She has been focused on work related to Hepatitis C, HIV, drug policy, and overdose response. She has been instrumental in addressing the overdose crisis which has taken the lives of thousands of people in Canada. She is the recipient of many awards, is engaged with several research projects and recently completed a masters at York University in the Department of Environment and Urban Change where she focused her work on the experiences of people who use drugs with mandated drug treatment.