Pride board candidate bios (2017)

Pride Toronto tardily released bios for candidates for its board. Some number of them – though possibly none – will be elected at the annual general meeting (AGM) on 2017.01.17.

Pride Toronto presented these bios in an untagged PDF that could not correctly associate two black candidates’ names and photographs.

Page of text has two photos in mismatched places

How terribly embarrassing. It’s as if Pride Toronto were completely inept at document production (also cannot tell two black gay males apart).

File sources (all PDF):

Bios

  • Copy-edited. Rather significantly, “muslim” is always capitalized, and I fixed that here.

  • Note that when Cooper, a female, consistently uses the words “they” and “their,” she’s talking about only one person (herself, a woman); if you vote for her you’re endorsing one female candidate, not Siamese twins.

  • Some candidates’ bios were so glossolalic (Gapka’s, Monroe’s) they can’t be fixed.

Hussein Haider Ali

Hussain has worked in the field of human resources for over 15 years. He has worked in regulatory, nonprofit, and public-service organizations. As a certified human-resources professional, he has worked in various leadership positions in the field and has developed systems and policies to ensure the effective management of organizations. He has contributed to the LGBTQ community in a professional context for the last few years through his employment with the 519.

His work at that organization provided him with the foundation of working in support of marginalized communities, offering programs and services to members of the community at large. It was his first experience working in an LGBTQ organization, and he knew it wouldn’t be his last. He continues to work to support marginalized communities through this current role with the City of Toronto, a position in HR for the division of the city that manages homeless shelters and subsidized housing.

Hussain intersects with the community in various ways. A gay male that came out later in life, someone who identifies as Muslim, a person of colour, and an immigrant who came to Canada in his early teens, with roots in Zambia, Tanzania, UAE, India, he feels an affinity to a variety of different people. He has always prided himself in his ability to build relationships quickly based on common understanding and respect. Hussain is also a member of the board of directors for the Human Resources Professional Association, the professional association and regulator for HR.

Paul Bozzo

Paul is a longtime Toronto resident and a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, and is passionate about working for Pride Toronto! He hopes to bring his nearly ten years of experience in conflict resolution and human resources to the Pride Toronto team. Paul works as a mediator at the Ontario Labour Relations Board. He provides dispute-resolution services in complex labour-relations and employment matters, including those arising in contexts of collective bargaining and unfair labour practices.

Paul’s main responsibility is creating a safe space where issues can be discussed and problems can be solved in a confidential, nonjudgmental environment. Previously, Paul worked as a senior employee relations consultant at a Canadian financial institution. In this capacity, Paul advised HR professionals about employment law and human-rights requirements as well as HR policies and programs.

In his spare time, Paul volunteers as an instructor for Osgoode Hall Law School’s “Lawyer as Negotiator,” a course that promotes collaborative problem-solving as an alternative to trial. Building on this experience, Paul believes that he can contribute to Pride Toronto by advising on mediation and other strategies to help find common ground among members of our diverse community. He could also advise on best practices for Pride Toronto’s HR policies and programs, including those relating to labour, employment, and human-rights issues. Paul is the proud partner to Daniel, a law teacher, doctoral student, and women’s‑ and LGBTQ+-rights advocate. They are both fathers to Finnegan, a Jack Russell terrier mix who loves his gay dads.

Sarah Cooper

Sarah Cooper is a gender-nonconforming, proud, queer young professional in Toronto, pursuing a graduate degree at the University of Toronto Munk School of Global Affairs. Currently elected at the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union, Sarah has a proven track record of representing their peers and engaging in transparent decision-making while recognizing and respecting diverse needs and perspectives.

Professionally, Sarah began their career working closely with queer and trans* youth, advocating for access to support services and post-secondary education. Sarah has also worked closely with both the Catholic and public school boards in Ottawa developing programming that is inclusive of the multiplicity of identities of queer and trans* youth high school students. Consistently working to develop their skills in community advocacy, graphic design, policy development, and campaign creation, Sarah is passionately committed to serving the Pride Toronto community.

Through their studies in human rights and political science, as well as years of community activism, Sarah has developed a deep understanding and respect for the history of Pride and will work tirelessly to ensure that Pride Toronto works to embody its original roots of resistance and celebrate those in the community who made Pride what it is today. Deeply invested in the continual growth and improvement of Pride Toronto, as a Board member, Sarah will be focused on supporting the most marginalized in our community.

Nicole Desnoyers

Nicole Desnoyers is a Métis Francophone Queer woman currently living and working in Toronto. Nicole was on the Ottawa Dyke March committee in 2011 and 2012, and was part of the fundraising team both years. In university, she was elected as the first VP, equity of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO), where she supervised the campus Pride Centre and oversaw organizing for the annual campus Pride Week and Orientation Week Drag Show. During her mandate, Nicole created the first campus sexual-assault protocol for orientation, helped build the all-gender washroom campaign, and organized the first Indigenous students’ powwow on campus. She was also the host of 1 Girl 5 QTs (queer and trans students) for 3 years, an event focused on raising awareness about queer and trans issues on campus.

In 2014, Nicole was elected as the SFUO’s VP, services and communications. During this mandate, she was part of the team that brought Laverne Cox as the keynote speaker for the campus’ Anti-Racism Week. Nicole has also been providing anti-oppression workshops to various student, youth and labour groups for the past four years. Education on equity issues is one of Nicole’s passions, and, through her workshops, she has assisted various groups in their work to challenge homophobia, transphobia, racism, colonialism and other forms of oppression. Since moving to Toronto, Nicole attended her first Toronto Pride in 2015 and is excited to give back to the community that has welcomed her since arriving to the city.

Susan Gapka

Susan Gapka is a dedicated campaigner for social justice highlighting her record on affordable housing, homelessness, mental health, harm reduction and lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans issues since coming out as a community leader almost 20 years ago. As founder and chair of the Trans Lobby Group, Susan helped lead a lengthy campaign to persuade the Minister of Health to fund sex reassignment surgery for trans people in Ontario, helped change the Vital Statistics Act sex designation so that trans people’s legal documents more accurately reflect their lived identity, and amended the Ontario Human Rights Code to include “gender identity” and “gender expression.”

Susan has served on the Toronto Local Advisory Committee and as Toronto representative on the National Consumer Panel of the At Home/Chez Soi Research Demonstration Project, the Housing Component for the Mental Health Commission of Canada. She also served on the Board of Pride Toronto which hosted World Pride 2014 and is currently Fierté Canada Pride’s Central Regional Director for Ontario. Susan has a degree in political science from York University and a diploma in community work from George Brown College.

Robert Hampsey

Seeing the amount of inequity within Ontario has inspired Robert to get involved to try to create a more inclusive society. Currently a caseworker for the Ontario public service, he has spent the past 11 years providing assistance to people with various levels and types of disabilities. Since 2009, Robert has been elected as chair of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) Rainbow Alliance arc-en-ciel (the union’s LGBTQ equity caucus), as well as OPSEU’s Equity Chairs Committee. During his four terms in these roles, Robert has engaged in organizational reviews, developed resolutions and policies to address inequities, and educated members around the needs and experiences of diverse equity-seeking groups.

Robert joined the Ontario New Democratic Party executive board in 2014 as one of the two LGBTQ co-chairs. He continues to bring LGBTQ issues and concerns directly to the party leadership. Robert is excited to bring his experience advancing equity to Pride Toronto.

Kevin Rambally

Kevin Rambally is a black queer individual who grew up in a rural area where queer services were scarce. Kevin is clinical social worker and has been working with queer and trans populations for the past 10 years. Most recently, for the past six years Kevin has been the Youth Beyond Barriers coordinator at Associated Youth Services of Peel. In this role, Kevin provides individual counselling, assessments, and group support to youth aged 12 to 18 years old who identify as queer, trans, or questioning.

Prior to this, Kevin worked as a health promotion and community education coordinator at the Peel HIV/AIDS Network. In this role, Kevin worked one-to-one with HIV-positive clients and those affected by HIV/AIDS, provided health consultation and education to the community regarding HIV/AIDS stigma, and designed a peer support program.

Kevin is passionate about furthering his development with respect to advocacy for queer and trans safer spaces. This interest is reflected throughout his professional development, in which Kevin has provided community education and support to individuals struggling with mental-health challenges while adhering to anti-racism and anti-oppression principles. In doing so, Kevin has gained a deeper perspective on these issues while also opening doors to being a catalyst for wide-reaching change. Kevin brings personal experience, education, enthusiasm, drive, and determination to his work with queer and trans populations, and is also a passionate advocate for establishing safe environments and furthering the equality of oppressed communities.

Maurice Tomlinson

Maurice is a senior policy analyst with the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network. At the Legal Network, Maurice acts as counsel and/or claimant in cases challenging anti-gay laws before the most senior tribunals in the Caribbean, authors reports to regional and U.N. agencies on the human rights situation for LGBTI people in this region, conducts judicial and police LGBTI‑ and HIV-sensitization training, and facilitates human-rights documentation and advocacy capacity-building exercises.

Previously, Maurice was a lecturer of law at the University of Technology in Jamaica and at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. He has also worked as a corporate lawyer. In 2012, Maurice received the inaugural David Kato Vision and Voice Award, which recognizes individuals who defend human rights and the dignity of LGBTI people around the world. Maurice holds an honours bachelor of arts in history from the University of the West Indies, a master of business administration in entrepreneurial studies from the University of Calgary, an honours LL.B. from the University of the West Indies, an LL.M. in intellectual property law from the University of Turin (cum laude), and a Certificate of Legal Education form the Norman Manley Law School in Jamaica. Maurice was called to the Jamaican Bar in 2006.

Kenneth Tong

Ken is a nonprofit management professional with 20 years’ experience working for influential organizations with global impact, and is currently working with the MasterCard Foundation (Canada’s largest private foundation) to manage its digital strategies and corporate branding. Ken has worked in communications strategy across the international development, humanitarian aid and intergovernmental sectors most notably with Médecins sans frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) with secondment to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the World Conservation Union (IUCN), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). He brings a wealth of nonprofit management experience, with focus on strategic planning, crisis communications, and risk management.

Ken’s commitment to local and global development is also demonstrated in his volunteer work for various community-based organizations and service on the boards of directors for the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT), Dignitas International, and the Millennium Scholarship Foundation.

Ken is also active in the local LGBT community as an out gay athlete and executive member of the Toronto Triggerfish Water Polo team, bringing it to participate in Pride Toronto’s parade and community fair. Furthermore, Ken has volunteered with Pride Toronto as a former co-coordinator of communications/media in 2002/2003, and is excited to join the Pride Toronto Board of Directors to represent Toronto’s diverse interests and communities. Ken is active on Twitter @kingmo, and tweets about digital technology, brand marketing and strategy, local communities, global health, and LGBT issues.

Elijah Monroe

Elijah Monroe identifies a gay male in the LGBTQ+ community and as a Cayuga First Nations person, Monroe was raised on Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve Nº 40. Monroe’s beliefs and values are based on his traditional background of the Great Law of Peace. These values are based on inclusivity, diversity, compassion, community, respect, empathy, and always keeping a good mind. He is a recent graduate of Sheridan College’s honours bachelor of photography program. Monroe has held many position within his community of Six Nations, ranging from Six Nations Council to a national organization called Indspire that supports Indigenous education in Canada.

Currently, Monroe is working as a research assistant for the Centre for Indigenous Learning and Support at Sheridan College. Monroe also holds a position at a Montreal-based organization called Apathy Is Boring as a city ambassador for Toronto. Through his position, Monroe is a part of a Canada 150 signature initiative project called 150 Years Young: Through creative installations, we will create space to acknowledge and feature the diverse ways young people are shaping their communities across Canada and mobilize the potential of their peers. Monroe also plans to pursue a master’s degree at Ryerson University in the public policy and administration field. Monroe is passionate about issues affecting Indigenous peoples of Canada and strives for Canadian reconciliation in the country.

Winners

Issued by Facebook and by no other means, here is Pride Toronto’s announcement of elected boardmembers.

Pride Toronto would like to thank all members and dedicated volunteers for attending the 2015/2016 Annual General Meeting on Tuesday January 17, 2017 at Ryerson University.

We would like to thank all the candidates who participated in the Board nomination and election process. We are pleased to announce that the following members have been voted in as the Board of Directors for the 2016–2019 term:

  1. Cooper, Sarah
  2. Desoyners, Nicole
  3. Maroon, Akio
  4. Monroe, Elijah
  5. Rambally, Kevin

We thank all the outgoing Board of Directors for their hard work over the last 3 years and look forward to executing another successful 2017 festival.

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