Organize BC is a collaborative project: our community of over a dozen trainers is spread across the province. Here is just a small sample of our people.
In Grade 9, Anna participated in a sleep-in outside the Principal's Office at her high school to demand the school administration allow the drama club to travel on a school bus over a mountain pass in the middle of a snowstorm to the Regional Drama Festival. Their campaign was a success (or maybe the snowstorm just ended…), and her commitment to taking collective action to make change was born. Since then, Anna has run trainings on anti-oppression and environmental justice in Alberta, challenged young people to question their role as social changemakers at the Pearson Seminar on Youth Leadership, and coordinated Skills for Solidarity, an online program that opened up a conversation about the shared history between Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous Peoples in Canada. She lives in Victoria, BC where she enjoys paddling her canoe, and riding her bike, Betty.
Peter first realized he had to do something about climate change while reading ‘The Lorax’ by Dr Seuss to groups of children, on a mossy rock in the Sooke Hills, as part of an environmental program at a summer camp. Since 2008, he’s been a community organizer on campaigns for voting reform, to block oil tanker traffic expansion and to push the University of Victoria to divest from fossil fuels. Currently, he is an organizer and trainer at Organize BC, running capacity-building programs for organizers who are creating progressive change around BC. At some point in there he became a trained chef. He lives in Victoria with three of his best friends and a cat. He bikes everywhere, and goes rock climbing most weeks.
As a child, Tahia began interpreting the world for her mother as they navigated through unfamiliar places in the way that migrants in search of a new home often do. It was in these turbulent times that she discovered her power as an advocate and her passion for justice. Tahia has since committed herself to building resilience by bringing communities together. For nearly a decade, she has been working with youth across BC through the arts, popular education, and community organizing. Currently, Tahia also works in collaboration with anti-Islamophobia advocates to create safe spaces for Muslims and provide opportunities for dialogue and solidarity. Along the way, Tahia has picked up skills as a mediator, poet, and a doula. She trusts in the words of Arundhati Roy, “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing”.
We have a 15-person trainer pool made up of organizers across BC. Here's a few of them!
Celine felt really shook up when she started experiencing earthquakes at her farm near Dawson Creek, a result of nearby hydraulic fracking without consent or consultation from her family or neighbours. Celine committed to empowering British Columbians to organize in order to defend the places and systems that sustain us. Before becoming the Lead Organizer at Organizing for Change, where she runs a three month coaching, training and campaign support program called Campaign Accelerator, she spent seven years with Dogwood Initiative where she helped build the fiercest constituency of grassroots environmental and political organizers the province has ever seen! She’s a political nerd, deer hunting and mushroom foraging enthusiast and is known for going on epic road trips with her husky dog, Loup.
When a pine beetle outbreak -- caused by climate change -- destroyed the forests in the Okanagan Valley where Jolan grew up, he decided he had to do something. He joined the climate justice movement, working to build opposition to tarsands pipelines in B.C. After watching the Harper government systematically undermine environmental protection and climate action, he joined Leadnow, where he helped design the organizing strategy for the Vote Together campaign, which helped defeat the Conservatives in the 2015 election. In 2016, Jolan led a successful organizing drive at Leadnow, achieving certification with BCGEU. He currently works as a National Organizer at Leadnow. Jolan believes that face-to-face conversations and intentional relationship building are the building blocks of powerful movements -- whether the goal is to stop a trade deal or unionize a workplace.
Mary moved from rural Turkey back to British Columbia in 2014 when she realized that people in this province might actually have the power to say no to Enbridge Northern Gateway. It was an exciting realization! In 2015 she shifted from volunteer to staff organizer with Dogwood, and is currently developing teams and leaders in Vancouver to fight pipeline expansion, coal port expansion, and to ban big money in politics. She is also a trainer with Organize BC, happy to put to practice some of her background in teaching. Mary sings in a choir, runs an Arabic-English language exchange, and wanders in the nearby mountains.
Rachel is a Field Organizer at Leadnow and is working with teams across the country to build capacity and push for a healthy environment, a just society, a fair economy and a strong democracy in the post-Harper era. In the lead up to the 2015 federal election, Rachel organized with thousands of volunteers to sign up supporters to Vote Together and mobilize them on election day as part of the massive effort to defeat Harper, and build people power in the process. Before joining Leadnow, Rachel worked as a Settlement Youth Worker with the Vancouver School Board supporting newcomer immigrant and refugee youth in civic engagement and youth-led projects. Her experience in social justice work stems from her time in Quebec organizing with the Student Movement and the Palestinian Solidarity Movement where she became passionate about working with people to take collective action for the change we want to see.