Introduction to Global Justice and Change
Below you will find a short bio and a response to “what does this project mean to you?” from the Global Justice and Change project team.
Bio: Nisha Toomey is a Desi settler based in Tkaronto, a facilitator, educator, editor and migrant rights activist. She is a PhD candidate in Social Justice Education at the University of Toronto. Her dissertation traces white supremacist and settler colonial logics in the fields of humanitarianism and international development. Nisha has articles in Mobilities, Critical Ethnic Studies, the International Journal of Border and Migration Studies, and book chapters in Indigenous Reconciliation and Decolonization edited by Ranjan Datta and Toward What Justice? edited by Eve Tuck & K. Wayne Yang. When not teaching and writing, you’ll find her playing outside with her children.
What does this project mean to you? Today, justice for human and nonhuman persons is a question of our survival as a species. I feel so passionate about helping people–and myself–to understand the complex systems we are in, and how they exploit, harm, and destroy in order to reap profits for the wealthy classes. I believe that learning can help us bring into being ways of living in which we relate to one another differently. This work tries to present difficult content in ways that can be engaged by a wide range of audiences; it’s a difficult task for educators, but one that is so important!
Bio: Emma is a mother, sister, daughter, friend, collaborator, agitator, learner, unlearner, listener, and avid mistake maker, who is deeply committed to centring responsibility, accountability, humility, joy, care and humour in our relationships to one another and all life. Her familial lineages are shaped by the privileges produced by white supremacy and the harms caused by patriarchy, ableism and other forms of supremacy. She strives to disrupt and repair personally, relationally and structurally. Emma is a settler based in Tkaronto. She is Manager of Global Learning and Engagement at X University (renaming in process) and holds a Master Degree in Social Science in International Migration and Social Cohesion.
What does this project mean to you? I grew up in Treaty 6 territory in what is known as London, Ontario. I lived on “Attawandaron Road”, at the end of which was a historic and sacred site of the Attawandaron or Neutral Nation. I also went to a high school that was diverse, yet separate. Racial and class lines apparent everywhere, yet ignored. I was not taught about the significance of the sacred site that I called home, nor about settler violence, colonialism and racial capitalism. My path of learning and unlearning has led me to facilitate opportunities for others, particularly those benefitting from white supremacy like myself, to be able to see the world in which we find ourselves. To be stewards of change, instead of resistors to change. This project means the world to me because of that.
Artists and Musicians
Bio: Peatr Thomas is a multidisciplinary Ininew and Anishinaabe self-taught full-time visual artist from the Pimicikamak and Miskooseepi territories. As part-time Youth Facilitator, he is sharing passed down knowledge, teachings and the healing process in creating all forms of art.
What does this project mean to you? The history and truths told here are long overdue, necessary, and should be standard in education, just as we are taught other histories of settlers in high school. As an Indigenous person who struggled to overcome barriers before conversations of residential schools, colonization, and normalized racism, this is extremely important, great to see, and happy to be a part of.
Janice Jo Lee
Bio: Janice Jo Lee, aka Sing Hey, is a contemporary folk artist of Korean settler ancestry. She is a folk-soul singer-songwriter, spoken word poet, actor, bouffon, playwright, and educator. Lee is an award-winning performer who creates looping landscapes with her voice, guitar, trumpet and Korean jangu drum. She is a hard femme queer radical. She says the truth and gets in trouble for it often, on stage and off. She is interested in using art to build flourishing communities based in justice and joy. Her work explores gender justice, antiracism, friendship, burnout, community, ancestry and the Earth. Find her on social media: @janjolee
What does this project mean to you? As an anti-capitalist at heart, it feels perfectly in alignment for me to contribute music to this educational project. I am looking forward to perpetuating this content when it is complete.
An instrumental version of Janice’s song “All the times you were silent” was used in the introductory video of Module 1, Racial Capitalism and Colonialism. Watch and/or listen to Janice perform the song below.
Amai Kuda et Les Bois
Amai Kuda et Les Bois don’t fit into the usual boxes. Breaking boundaries is part of their superpower. Not a band or a solo act, they prefer to call themselves ‘a movement.’ Led by Amai Kuda, their shows and albums always begin with the pouring of libations and the invocation of ancestors. This spiritual element weaves its way throughout all their music, whether that be soothing acoustic ballads, dancy electronic grooves or alt-rock-hiphop-infused political tracks. Ecouché, for example, the “stunning new single” (Indie88) off the new album EmUrgency! is sung entirely in a language of ancestral communication and can’t be delivered the same way twice. It embodies what NOW magazine has called the group’s “tantalizing Afro-soul” fusion sound, “earthy and rootsy and good for your ears” (Errol Nazareth CBC in reference to AfroSoul Volume II: MaZai). Indeed, it is the genre-defying nature of their work which led their debut album, Sand from the Sea, to be named “one of the year’s most exciting discoveries” (Nicholas Jennings – Canada’s foremost music journalist).
Since that early accolade Amai Kuda et Les Bois have slogged away in Toronto’s music scene, performing at venues like the Jane Mallett Theatre, Harbourfront, The Rivoli, and festivals such as Luminato, Kultrun, and Small World, as well as at venues and community centers on four continents. Amai Kuda et Les Bois have certainly paid their dues, and they haven’t gone unnoticed. They’ve been featured in NOW magazine and on CBC’s Canada Live and Big City Small World, while a single from their 2019 release with Version Xcursion, Holding Back, premiered on Strombo Show. The group also won the Best Folk/Roots award as well as placing 2nd for the Best Song at the Toronto Independent Music Awards. They’ve opened for Joel Plaskett, Kellylee Evans and Sarah Slean, and collaborated with M1 of the legendary Hip-Hop duo, Dead Prez on a call-to-action song called We Can Do It.
All that said, the group is acutely aware of the glass ceiling in the music industry that keeps artists like themselves from reaching wider audiences. Their new album, ‘EmUrgency!’ is largely about pushing back against this, and in the coverage it’s received thus far (Strombo show, CTV National News, Welcome to the Music, RX Music Live and CJRU), they’ve made a point of talking about it. For Amai Kuda et Les Bois, music is about healing – ourselves, our society and the earth, and that can’t happen unless we listen to the voices that have for too long been ignored. It is truly a ‘listening EmUrgency!’
You can find their work at ynamai.com
Brian Bracken (Heading 3)
Brian Bracken is a musician, singer, songwriter and producer. From Port Hope Ontario, Brian Bracken has both shared the stage with and accompanied numerous Canadian and international award winning artists. His diverse musical attributes, dynamic style, creativity and character have earned him respect with the highest caliber of musicians. This has made him an asset in both the studio as a musician/producer and on stage with his colleagues.
Brian Bracken has written, composed for and has appeared live in bands with many popular Canadian artists such as Maestro, Choclair, USS, Ammoye, JD Era, Melodic, Najjah Calibur, Rich London and more. While continuing to perform live at local hotspots, he is known for breaking down musical barriers with his unique genre clashing styles.
Bracken’s original music paired with his catchy and energetic performances have rewarded him with the privilege of appearing alongside many well known artists, including The Black Eyed Peas, The White Stripes, John Legend, Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, Naughty by Nature, Damian Marley, Kardinal Offishall, Justin Timberlake, Jully Black, Billy Talent, The Trews, The Rascalz, K os and many more.
With numerous TV appearances on “A” Channel, City TV, BT, SUN TV and Rogers TV, Bracken also had his original song “Feeling” featured in a commercial for MuchVibe TV receiving consistent rotation for a number of years. His first rock flavoured single ”Give Love To You” was featured on 94.9 “the Rock” fm.
Gratitude for all Contributors
We are deeply grateful for the contributions, expertise and friendship of all of those who have supported this project in small and big ways.
Jade Nixon, Dino Siwek and Camilla Cardoso, who reviewed and provided invaluable feedback on early versions of the scripts for the introductory videos of Modules 1, 2 and 3.
Sally Goldberg Powell, Mariam Ahmed, Chloe Hazard, Tanya Pobuda, Minh Truong, Tina Huang, Ann Ludbrock, Sally Wilson and the entire team at the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at X University (renaming in process). This team supported the seed of an idea and helped it to blossom into a video series and interactive ebook. We remain in awe of what everyone has contributed and accomplished.
Peatr Thomas, Janice Jo Lee, Brian Bracken and Amai Kuda Yemoja Ile, the artists and musicians who brought beauty and life to this project. Words do not suffice for all that you bring to this world. We are deeply grateful for your contributions to this project.
Phyllis Power from Wilfrid Laurier University; Tom Gallini from Queen’s University; Eunjung Riauka from Algoma University and Helen Balderama from York University, our institutional collaborators. Thank you for your support and trust throughout this project.
The Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures (GTDF) collective, Sharon Stein, Vanessa Andreotti, Elwood Jimmy, and many others whose work, care, and presence has been a pivotal source of inspiration for the content and direction of this project. Thank you for being and for showing up over and over again.
And to all of those that have fed us, cared for us, loved us, laughed with us and cried with us, while we have facilitated the creation of this resource. You are the reason for it all.
This project is made possible with funding by the Government of Ontario and through eCampusOntario’s support of the Virtual Learning Strategy. To learn more about the Virtual Learning Strategy visit: https://vls.ecampusontario.ca