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Nneka is an advocate who works with government and other organizations to eradicate violence against women. She is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Centre for Social Justice, also known as the WomenatthecentrE, our unique non-profit organization that was created for women survivors of gender-based violence, by women survivors. Nneka develops and delivers training to various agencies and organizations that promotes better understanding of the issues, and focuses on personal and political advocacy for women survivors, as well as on ways to engage men and boys in the initiatives to eradicate violence against women.
"It’s critical that those with the lived experience be the ones at the centre of social policy and reform. We must leave the shame behind and focus on ways to empower ourselves, our children … our society as a whole, to understand that violence against women, in any shape or form, is not acceptable. So we use our personal tragedies as a way to change the world – for the better."
Shelleena is a graduate of the University of Guelph where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree, focusing on Sociology; she then attended Ryerson University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work and continued on to receive her Masters of Social Work. Shelleena has completed research in feminist parenting and transracial foster placements, as well as aided in research on the intersection of Indigenous communities and IPV. She is currently completing research around sexual violence and justice.
Shelleena has over 10 years’ experience working in Mental Health and she continues to expand her knowledge. She identifies as a transfeminist, pansexual woman and is an avid advocate for notably queer and trans communities and the environment.
When she is not working with incredibly empowering comrades and advocates, she enjoys backpacking and travelling to other countries while learning about different places and enjoying new experiences and food.
Nicole has completed her Master of Social Work (MSW) at Ryerson University, completing her practicum with WomenatthecentrE. Her work includes community development, policy analysis, and advocacy work in the areas of gender-based violence, mental health and addictions, and homelessness. Nicole was recently introduced to art as a tool for resistance and social change, which has inspired her to incorporate photography into her current major researcher paper (MRP) on embodied representations of women’s resistance and strength within the context of gendered violence.
“It is imperative to not only recognize and understand the multiple, intersecting systems that oppress women, but it is equally, if not more important to highlight the ways in which women resist oppression. We need to centre strategies of resistance to create opportunities for survivors to confidently exercise power in ways that shift how people, including themselves, think about violence against women.”
Karia completed her Masters of Social Work (MSW) at Ryerson University. She is conducting research on the impacts of violence and trauma on the mental health of Black Canadians. She works with women, children, youth, those experiencing homelessness, and various marginalized populations.
"We are all swimming in shit, smell yourself before you smell someone else."
Shirley is a Registered Nurse. She has a Masters in Education, in Psychology and Community Development from the University of Toronto. For over fourteen years, she contributed to the care of survivors of interpersonal violence in her position as Manager of the Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Care Centre in Scarborough. She was presented with the Community Service Award by the Ontario Medical Association in 2010.
Prior to this she worked with the perpetrators of sexual violence in partnership with the forensic treatment community, assessing and monitoring offenders reintegration into the community.
Janet is a social worker, a survivor of gender based violence, and an advocate for social justice. She holds a diploma in Child and Youth Work with Honours from Humber College. Janet also holds a Bachelor of Social Work from York University and is currently a candidate for Master of Social Work from York University, ready to defend her dissertation on Anti-black Racism and Canadian Child Welfare.
“Once you know a thing, you can't unknow it.”
Amanda is currently completing her Bachelor of Social Work at Ryerson University. Within her studies, she is particularly interested in examining the intersections of fatness and gender; the impacts of familial and intimate-partner violence; and the ways in which dominant power structures such as Whiteness, sexism, and heteronormativity are enacted through our current legal system.
“The word ‘survivor’ is more than an individual identity. It is a political term. Although at times we may feel like victims, what should be highlighted is our continued, collective survival. This isn’t about one woman, it is about all of us, as survivors, taking up an identity of empowerment.”
Stephanie Wong is a Social Work student and practitioner, currently completing her final placement for her BSW at WomenatthecentrE. She is passionate & committed to working with underserved populations, particularly with young women, through various channels such as in counselling, advocacy, workshops, research, and more. She is invested in issues of health equity for young women, especially in addressing the ways identity markers, power structures, and generational histories impact varying levels of access to and conditions of health and well-being. She is also interested in looking at and doing work on the many complex ways trauma and violence manifests in the body, mind, and spirit that go beyond any one model of health and well-being.
“In the wake of oppression, the powerful will ask the oppressed to choose “peace.” What they really mean is order. Peace requires justice."- Brittany Packnett (@MsPackyetti)
Emily is currently completing her final semester at the University of Ottawa, completing a Bachelors of Social Sciences in Conflict Studies & Human Rights with a Minor in Criminology. She is a volunteer at WomenattheCentrE, hoping to deepen her understanding of intimate partner violence and to advocate on behalf of the many survivors. Always having a keen interest in the pursuit of justice, Emily has worked with and for various marginalized, silenced, or vulnerable populations. Emily hopes to contribute to and learn about policy changes that can harness the potential for systemic and long-term changes to uplift women everywhere.
“It is critical that those of us whose circumstances have afforded us the privilege of being unknowledgeable or silent about oppression to commit to actively listening, learning, and uplifting the voices that have been oppressed. Given the platform, imagine how loud the voices can be and how impactful they will be for generations to come."