Local Tools for Local Needs
I am always looking to engage with projects that encourage local actions and the development of local resources to meet the needs of our communities. If this is you, please get in touch!
Representations of Under-Served Populations in Media
I believe diverse media is important because it allows us to represent the vast variety of human experience not only to outsiders, but to ourselves. The more versions of ourselves we see as possible, the more likely we are to see others as whole people with complex stories, needs, and gifts to offer. Diverse creators, characters, and stories help make that possible.
It may seem superfluous to say that science fiction needs more strong female characters wearing realistic battle gear until you consider the number of children whose experience of science fiction has led them to innovate new technology because they could begin at the foundation of having a fundamentally relatable hero in a story. The same goes for stories that include characters of color taking active roles in mixed-race casts, and stories of LGBTQ youth who get to experience more than the choice between coming out amid hostility or living life with a significant portion of their identity made invisible.
By creating more diverse media with a wide variety of representations of all kinds of people, we provide everyone with more options for themselves and a better understanding of the people around them.
Connecting Communities of Identity While Creating Spaces for Celebration of Difference
I believe very strongly that we simultaneously need places for people to celebrate who they are while also creating spaces that enable interaction between groups. One of my specific areas of focus on this front relates to age dynamics: we spend most of our lives, from a very young age, separated into age-based peer groups. While there are times when it's important to let children be children and teenagers be teenagers and seniors be seniors, it's also vitally important that people of different ages have spaces where they can share their unique gifts and challenges with people from other stages of life. I am also invested in helping bridge the gap between childless adults and adults with children, as I have seen firsthand how difficult a bridge that can be to cross in a culture where a remarkable number of people are rarely around children until they have their own.
Access and Accessibility
Many socioeconomic barriers to participation in communities and society exist for marginalized populations, including newcomers, gender and sexual minorities, racial and cultural minorities, and those living in poverty. Many of our community members also face barriers to physical access, whether due to limited transit and walkability options or because of a lack of accessibility features. I am dedicated to doing whatever possible to ensure that resources for culture, learning, and recreation are accessible to people of all abilities.
Poverty Alleviation, Especially in rural and isolated communities
Although poverty alleviation generally is important to me and I participate enthusiastically in initiatives to alleviate urban poverty, my background in small rural communities means I strive to highlight the needs of those who live in isolated areas, where not only poverty but an inability to access the social support resources (including information) available in urban centres is a critical challenge. Although rural populations are a relatively small percentage, as of 2011 there were more than 6.3 million Canadians living in rural areas, and they are generally underrepresented when we consider allocation of vital support resources.
Inclusive, shame-free sexual and reproductive health & Education
Over the years, I've held several roles where providing sexual and reproductive health information were in the forefront of my responsibilities, and over time I've come to see a great many areas where we can improve the way we care for people in these often vulnerable moments. In particular, I am interested in racial and socioeconomic inequality in sexual and reproductive healthcare and an inclusive, respectful, and community-focused approach to education on topics of sexual health, pregnancy and childbirth, and early parenting.
Maintaining a Careful Balance Between Innovation and the Needs of Our Most Vulnerable Citizens
I enjoy engaging with new technology and old crafting techniques, and am excited about opportunities to use them in our public spaces both as creators ourselves and as a means of building connections between those spaces and their communities. I am cautious, however, of expanding into these realms at the expense of more traditional services that may be more vital in some communities. I believe the balance should be struck carefully and with consideration of the needs of individual neighbourhoods and cities.
The Unique Needs of New Families, Especially Where Those Needs Intersect with Other Concerns, Such as Poverty, Immigration Status, and Identity
My work as a doula has exposed me to the fact that the process of transitioning from the life of a childless adult to that of a parent can be a struggle even in the best of circumstances, and for many families on that road, circumstances are less than ideal. Newcomers, among others, often face new parenthood without a support system; families in poverty as well as those with limited proficiency in English face significant barriers to accessing the information necessary to make informed choices; issues for those coping with pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period while still in the midst of the immigration process can be a tremendous challenge; families whose identities don't fit the standard narrative may find it difficult to access safe support spaces throughout the process of pregnancy, birth, and new parenthood. These challenges have real consequences for prenatal, neonatal, and postpartum health, as well as for child development and the well-being of our communities as a whole. I work hard to be a resource to help mitigate some of these challenges, but believe very strongly that our communities and institutions could be doing more.