Founder & Co-Creator of The Magic Project
Community Educator at The Youth Project
Youth Facilitator & Programmer with In My Own Voice Arts Association
What are you most proud of professionally? And who or why?
I think I am most proud of starting The Magic Project with my partner, Emma Paulson. We have let that project breathe and be limitless. We have never been afraid to say yes. I also feel quite proud of speaking in schools through my current position at The Youth Project. That's always been a goal of mine.
I am also proud of myself. For being propelled into action and making the change I want to make.
What's your vision for Atlantic Canada in 10 years? What’s our biggest opportunity now?
My visions for Atlantic Canada in 10 years are to have a better more intersectional understanding of the school system, better examine our prison systems, and follow the voices of the youth at any cost. Our youth know what needs to be changed and are ready to work towards changing those avenues. Our biggest opportunity would be truly listening to the Mi'kmaw people in how to best care for this land for the betterment of all people.
What was your greatest stage of growth? What made it a shift for you? What's your favourite or most read book or podcast? Now or at each of your greatest stages of growth?
2016/2017 have been my biggest years for growth. Personally and professionally. I've learned a lot about myself over the past few years. I think the shift originated with the desire to know more and learn more about myself. Sometimes we have to let go of things in order to make room for the new, more necessary things we would like to learn.
Music has always influenced me in ways. Beyonce's visuals took this whole world by storm with ‘Lemonade’. Chance The Rapper has taken his music to the next level with little to no monetary requirements of his fans. Lizzo is a plus-sized woman of color musician who is out here crushing it. We're in a very complex era. But marginalized persons are writing their own rules. So, not only is the music influential there is an influential movement taking place. I've always been a big lover of poetry. I love Pablo Neruda, Saeed Jones, Rupi Kaur, Audre Lorde...the list goes on and on. I also really love the book called ‘Black Girl Talk’. It's a compilation of dialogue and poetry from predominately Canadian Black women and girls. Also i was exceptionally inspired by the movie ‘The 13th’ and the show ‘Dear White People’.
What's your deepest learning from this past year? How did/will you apply it?
To fight oppositional stances through and educational lens instead of anger. This is something that works best for me. I apply it daily. I find that through having my main goal to be to educate people, I can highlight my points more effectively.
Who's inspired you, directly or indirectly? How have they inspired you?
- Lindell Smith - for keeping the braids and changing the face of politics forever.
- Debra Paris Perry - for being my elder and sharing the history with me, so I can share with others.My partner, Emma Paulson - for loving me through it all, and I mean ALL.
- Joee Smith - for always bending gender and showing us how it's done through an explosively intersectional lens.
- Amanda Rekynuk - for being a warrior mama and showing me fierce love.
- Bria Miller - for being brave enough to make art speak in a radical way and living a lot of the journey closely with me.
- Shauntay Grant - for writing stories about black kids because representation matters.
- Rebecca Moore - for fighting tirelessly and for inspiring and teaching me.
- Shevy Price - for being a true friend and a believer in the cause and a believer in me.
- Jeremy Williams - for being a brilliant, successful influence for our black youth.
- And last but certainly not least - the babies and children I work with - I see you, I think of you often and I'm proud of you no matter what. I love you.
What would you have done differently?
Nothing really. Because all of the good, bad, ugly and beautiful led me here and I'm pretty pleased with where I am right now. But I suppose if I had to choose something, I would say stop and celebrate more. It's so important to revel in the good moments and not just keeping pushing forward.
What were your priorities and how did they help you overcome some of the struggles you've faced? What motivated you to make the choices you've made? What are the principles you live by?
My priorities are to make change, spread love, tell people that I love that they matter and I believe in my youth. I've been motivated by my own lived experience to create a generation that feels it truly understands society as it stands and how best to fight against it.
How have you recovered from fractured professional relationships? What uncomfortable truths have you learned about yourself in those experiences)?
I think my truths I've learned would be you set the pace for your own hustle. Sometimes you have to break down to break through, and sometimes you have to go up in flames to be reborn again.
Educator, Public Speaker, Artist, Social Justice Arts Activist, Youth Worker, Programmer, Innovator, Believer, Fighter