Cicely Belle Blain is a diversity and inclusion consultant, activist and writer; they are one of Vancouver’s fifty most influential people of 2018, as awarded by Vancouver Magazine for their work as a co-founder of Black Lives Matter - Vancouver, Canada’s second Black Lives Matter chapter. They were also a winner of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Youth Leadership Award in Social Movement Building for their commitment to Black liberation and LGBTQ+ activism.
In 2017, Cicely Belle was listed as one of CBC’s 150 Black Womxn Making Change in Canada and in 2019 they became one of BC Business’s 30 under 30 business leaders as well as a finalist for the Canadian LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Cicely Belle’s first book debuts in 2020 with Arsenal Pulp Press and VS Books.
Senior Consultant & Creative Lead, she/they
Becca Schwenk is an equity and inclusion consultant and creative chameleon. She is all about deep and meaningful analyses of injustice and innovative solutions. Becca completed her bachelor’s degree at McGill University, where she majored in both Sociology and Gender, Sexuality, Feminism, and Social Justice studies. She has led within anti-oppressive support centres and fast-paced feminist startups, and she doesn’t intend to stop shaking up the status quo any time soon. Her background in both business and nonprofit sectors has given her a unique lens and well-versed air of compassion. You can frequently find Becca slipping social justice tidbits into everyday conversations; ready to engage free of judgement and full of empathy.
Equity & Inclusion Educator, she/her
Alia Ali is an instructor, consultant, activist and international speaker. She specializes in workplace culture and conflict transformation. She has always lived a life of service to her community – creating and running programs for youth, working in the corporate world of waterworks, high ticket sales, and serving as an executive at a start-up tech in Vancouver.Alia is also an outspoken advocate for empathy and anti-racism. She does a lot of work with Rotary and is the current President of the Surrey Rotaract Club as well as a Director of the Big West Rotaract Organization where she serves and empowers young professionals as well as trying to help Rotary in the DEI department making the organization more equitable and accessible for all. Alia is also a Female Empowerment and Leadership Instructor for the non-profit Voices of Muslim Women and is delighted to be a part of this organization.
Administrative Assistant, she/her
Mariana Trujillo-Lezama (pronounced mah•re•anah) is a multidisciplinary artist born and raised in Cali, Colombia, now based and creating work on the ancestral and occupied traditional lands of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Watuth, Sechelt and Squamish Nations of the Coast Salish peoples, now known as Vancouver, British Columbia.
With a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emily Carr University of Art & Design, the artist’s practice is greatly based on introspection, exploring personal and collective identity politics through performance, printmaking, painting and collage both analogue and digital. Simultaneously, the artist has developed a rich written practice, informed by her training in social sciences, gender studies, and the observation and interrogation of the cultural legacy of colonialism and imperialism in America, specifically in Colombia and Canada.
“Who am I and how did I come to be? What am I and to who? What places and which circumstances forged the multiple identities I embrace and/or reject everyday? Are these identities expressions that come from within, inherent to my being, the country I was born in, the one I was raised at or the one I immigrated to? Which of these are an expression of the consequences and effect of the past and current systems that rule and move the different societies I’ve been or I’m a part of? Is my gender my identity? Is my language my identity? Is my body, my face, my hair, my artwork, my identity? Is my legal status my identity? Where do I belong? Are the multiple communities I consider myself a part of, my identity?”
These are some of the questions the artist’s practice explores and seeks to answer.
Having lived and studied in Los Angeles, CA as well, the artist has navigated society as a femme queer immigrant in major cities across America, an experience deeply reflected in her work.
Highly committed to the multiple communities she is a part of, the artist is also an advocate for equality and social change through the exercise of Anti-oppression values, working alongside nonprofit organizations such as Feminicides Colombia, Soñadores Siloé and New Works Dance, in addition to her work for Cicely Blain Consulting, causing her art practice to evolve into community work and activism and vice versa.
Disrupting the status quo
Cookie Dough anything
Policy Developer, she/her
Koshiki was born in Japan and spent part of her childhood there until moving to Ireland at the age of 11. She relocated to Vancouver in 2014 where she has been living and working with gratitude on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam Nations. She has her Bachelor's Degree in Human Rights and LL.M in Peace Operations, Humanitarian Law and Conflict from the National University of Ireland, Galway. With a deep passion for peacebuilding, Koshiki is currently getting her certificates in Mediation and Negotiation from the Justice Institute of British Columbia.
She spent a year abroad in Spain (BEST YEAR OF HER LIFE) during University interning at the European and Criminal Law Institute conducting research on the Abolition of the Death Penalty. Don’t get her started about Spain - she’ll never stop talking about it!
Being a mixed race woman who’s lived in Japan, Ireland, Spain and Canada, Koshiki brings a vast number of lived experiences and unique perspectives to her work. She has volunteered with Amnesty International, The David Suzuki Foundation, and currently volunteers with the Vancouver Association of Restorative Justice.
When not talking about human rights, you can find her exploring different creative ventures - painting, writing, and braining storming documentary and podcast ideas… just to name a few!
Her dog Gus
Jalapeños or anything spicy!
Connecting with change makers
Strolling along the beaches on the West Coast of Ireland
Equity & Inclusion Educator, he/him
Will Shelling (he/him) is an Equity and Inclusion Facilitator, academic, and avid home cook. He loves applying data-driven policy analysis to situations to intersectionally understand policy changes, usually coming to robust solutions. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia, where he studied political science and international relations, holding part-time work in human rights advocacy and at the UBC Equity and Inclusion office. He currently studies at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at UBC, where he’s focusing on sustainable development and civil rights academically. You can often find him working on a new recipe in his kitchen, or at his workstation supporting institutional and community change.