SPEAK OUT! Community Conversations about Race, Anti-Racism and Inclusion

Initiative Background

The Centre for Race and Culture is pleased to bring together local academics and researchers, community and grassroots organizations, and local artists and activists, to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. All community members are invited to join us March 22 and 23 for a FREE 2-day symposium on race, anti-racism, and inclusion!

Location: Main Hall, Strathcona Community League | 10139 87 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T6E 2P3
Admission: by donation; register online at EventBrite.


Friday, March 22 | 2:00 – 7:00 pm

2:00-3:45 pm – Opening Remarks and Community Project Showcase 

Indigenous Protocol by Reuben Quinn

In this session, different organizations and community groups will introduce us to their anti-racism and inclusion programs. Presenting organizations include: End Poverty Edmonton, Hate Free YEG, Intercultural Multilogues InitiativeEdmonton Shift Lab, Edmonton Community FoundationEdmonton Multicultural CoalitionMulticultural Family Resource Society, and Resiliency Project (EPS).

3:45-4:00 pm – Break 

4:00-5:30 pm – Talking Race: A Round-table

The round-table brings together individuals from university and community to talk about the realities of racism and share their experiences on the challenges of anti-racism work.


Bernadette Iahtail, “Re-Reconciliation” Does not Happen Overnight!

Bernadette is a Co-founder and Executive Director of Creating Hope Society, a society founded for the survivors of the “The Sixties and Seventies Scoop of Aboriginal Children in Care.“ For 30 years, her passions are to inform Canadians of the ongoing ripple effects of colonization and the history of Residential Schools and the 60s and 70s child welfare scoop

Ashley Dryburgh, “Depersonalizing the Political: Objectifying Whiteness as an Anti-racism Strategy” 

Complex social challenges are what get this sassy white queer out of bed in the morning. A lover of hard questions, self-reflexivity, and social innovation, Ashley currently spends much of her time thinking about how to improve funding processes for the not-for-profit sector. During business hours, you can find her working on the Grants team at Edmonton Community Foundation where she also serves as one of the Stewards of the Edmonton Shift Lab – a social innovation lab focussed on racism. During non-business hours, she’s the Board Chair for Fringe Theatre Adventures. Last year, she was named to Avenue Magazine’s “Top 40 Under 40” list. In her spare time, she dreams of feminist utopias and fights a losing battle against cat hair.

Bridget Stirling & Abdul Malik, “HateFreeYeg: Building a grassroots approach to safer spaces”

Bridget Stirling is one of the co-founders of #HateFreeYEG and an advocate and organizer involved in issues related to poverty, social and economic justice, gender, children’s rights, and human rights. She also serves as vice-chair of the Edmonton Public School Board and trustee for Ward G and is a founding member of the Child-Friendly Housing Coalition of Alberta. Currently, she is a PhD student in the Department of Educational Policy Studies with the University of Alberta Faculty of Education, where she is interested in children’s rights and youth participation in politics and civil society.”

Abdul Malik is an award winning photojournalist and filmmaker from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, currently residing in Edmonton, Alberta. His work has appeared nationwide, and internationally, both online and in print. He approaches his work from a strong ethical standpoint, and has been embedded with striking workers in Canada’s North, to newcomers in Edmonton, and everything in between. He’s currently working on several photo and video projects to be completed this year, and is a co-founder of #HateFreeYEG.

Zeina Sleiman, “Leading from the margins: Immigrant Communities and the Fight against Racism”

Zeina holds a PhD in Political Science. Her work primarily focused on understanding how precarious migrants make claims for human rights through local and grass-roots mobilization.  She currently works as a Political Science Instructor and Academic Innovation Specialist at NorQuest College.  Her work focuses on developing innovative projects that engage the College’s immigrant student population and the communities it serves.

Louisa Normington, “Antisemitism and White Nationalism in Europe and North America”

Louisa is a graduate student at the University of Alberta and a congregant of Edmonton’s Temple Beth Ora Reform Synagogue. As an Ashkenazi Jew from the United States, Louisa is familiar with the everyday experience of being a Jew in a predominantly Christian culture. She will be discussing the recent resurgence of antisemitism and white nationalism in Europe and North America.

5:30-7:00 pm – Light Dinner and Networking Event

Saturday, March 23 | 1:00 – 7:00 pm

1:00-3:00 pm – Opening Remarks and Storytelling Workshop

In this workshop, the facilitators will explore the importance of representation, accessibility, and voice when it comes to storytelling. Through group discussion and anti-oppression exercises we will explore how to best represent our own stories and foster an inclusive environment for conversation and exchange.


  • Rose-Eva Forgues-Jenkins joined the Centre for Race and Culture in the role of Podcast Production Coordinator. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies and Psychology from the University of Alberta in 2014. Rose-Eva has been volunteering for local community radio station CJSR 88.5 FM since 2013, where she has been able to share her passion for gender equality as a producer for the radio show Adamant Eve. She has a background in youth work and is passionate about sharing stories.
  • Quin Buck is an indigenous, two-spirit, non-binary human being promoting self-sovereignty through de/anti-colonial conversation. Raised in Edmonton, Quin sought to create environments where indigenous thought and culture were taught as a way of life rather than an “alternative”. Providing critical analysis of past and current systems, Quin seeks to provide youth both indigenous and non-indigenous alike with the tools to think globally about their purpose while acting locally. Quin has worked locally within Edmonton with several non-profit organizations and has worked with youth and communities abroad.

3:00-3:15 pm – Break 

3:15-4:15 pm – Spoken Truths: Storytelling Performance Showcase

In this session, poets, storytellers, and individuals from the community will share their stories and experiences of identity, inclusion, or discrimination.


  • Nisha Patel is an award-winning Indo-Canadian poet and Festival Producer of the Edmonton Poetry Festival. She has toured across the world at features and slams, and is the author of two chapbooks. Her work speaks to themes of race, feminism, and identity, focusing strongly on her struggles and triumphs as a woman of colour.
  • Lana Whiskeyjack is a multidisciplinary treaty artist from Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Treaty Six Territory, Alberta. Lana is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Extension, University of Alberta, her research, writing, and art explores the paradoxes of what it means to be ayisîyiniw ôta asiskiy (a human being of this earth) in a Western culture and society, and, how she and other Indigenous women are reclaiming, re-gathering, and remembering their ancestral medicine (sacredness and power). Lana has been featured in a documentary (Beth Wishart MacKenzie, 2017) “Lana Gets Her Talk”.
  • Ella Koshaji has a certificate in Theatre Arts and an MBA from Damascus University. Since childhood, she has always enjoyed the dramatic arts and in performing has found the freedom to express herself completely. In 2017, Ella had to leave everything behind and move to Edmonton to start a new life. She appreciates the safety of living in Canada and is inspired by its multiculturalism. Currently, Ella is working to improve her English skills so that she can pursue her career as an artist and social activist. In the meantime, Ella is an active member of the newcomer Syrian community and she enjoys volunteering her time with non-profit agencies.
  • Basel Abou Hamrah is a LGBTQ+ Settlement practitioner with Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers (EMCN) and the Pride Centre of Edmonton. He is also one of the leaders of Edmonton LGBTQ+ Newcomers Group and sits on the board of the Edmonton Men’s Health Collective. Originally from Syria, Basel came to Edmonton in late 2015 and started his work in the community upon his arrival. The dream of being an actor is something that has always been chasing him, and this will be his first public performance!
  • Omar Ramadan is a new local slam poet and recent MA in English at York University.  He has lived in many parts of Canada and in the Middle East where he taught English for a time.  His writing focuses on injustice, race, identity and home and trying to reconcile what all that means in a Canadian context.  This will be Omar’s first storytelling experience but is no stranger to the stage as he performs weekly at Open Mic nights at Breath in Poetry, and is looking to qualify to represent Edmonton in the Edmonton team at the next Canadian Festival of Spoken Word.
  • Deirdra Cutarm is a fourth-year Sociology/Native Studies student and is from Maskwacis (Ermineskin), AB. She is the second generation of her family to enter post-secondary and she is quite fond of teas. She is currently an Arts Councillor for the University of Alberta Students’ Union and became more invested in her school community than she thought she would.
  • Kathryn Gwun-Yeen Lennon was born and raised in Edmonton -Treaty 6 Territory, Alberta with Cantonese and Irish ancestry. She was a member of Edmonton’s 2012 Slam Poetry Team, and a member of the festival ensemble at the 2013 and 2015 Victoria Festival of Spoken Word. She is working on her first book of poetry, thanks to support from the Edmonton Arts Council.

4:15-4:45 pm – Unheard Youth Podcast Launch

CFRAC is delighted to officially launch our very first podcast! The Unheard youth podcast features newcomer youth voices from Fort St-John, BC; Edmonton, AB; Toronto, ON and Montreal QC. Rose-Eva and other contributors will share their experiences with creating the podcast. Listening stations will be available for guests to enjoy episodes of the podcast at their leisure. Participants will also be able to take home a listening kit – a visual component to the podcast which contains pictures, a glossary, a timeline and episode descriptions.

4:45-5:15 pm – Light Dinner

5:15-7:00 pm – Anti-Racism Film Challenge Screening (Hosted  by Intercultural Multilogues Initiative)

Join us for the Anti-Racism Short Films Screening and round-table by local filmmakers and activists. This session is organized by Coming Together (Intercultural Multilogues), which is an anti-racism initiative led by local Indigenous and Newcomer service agencies, hosting monthly Intercultural Gatherings and collaborating with community to eliminate racism through an intersectional and participatory framework.

Organizers: Elli Dehnavi, Rose-Eva Forgues-Jenkins, and Sarah Brandvold




Initiative Funders