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Board of Directors

The Urban Alliance on Race Relations benefits from an active volunteer Board of Directors

2017-2019 Board of Directors

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NIGEL BARRIFFE, PRESIDENT
A community organizer and an elementary teacher with the Toronto District School Board in Rexdale, Nigel is a Board member of the Rexdale Community Legal Clinic, Board Chair of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations, and a member of the Good Jobs For All Coalition. He was the interim-treasurer of the Ontario Alliance of Black School Education (ONABSE) and a former Co-Chair of the African Heritage Educator’s Network (AHEN). Nigel’s activist work focuses on quality public education, good green jobs, and a more just society for all inside and outside the classroom. His efforts have been recognized through a number of community service awards including the 2011 Urban Heroes Award, the 2012 JS Woordsworth Award and the 2014 Jack White Service Award from the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists. He holds a Masters’ degree from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

 GARY A. PIETERS , IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT

Gary Pieters is a principal with the Toronto District School Board. He has over 19 years of work experience in the education sector as a teacher and school administrator. Gary has provided service to the community through his previous involvement on several boards and advisory committees including the Urban Alliance on Race Relations and the Toronto Star Community Editorial Board. He has studied, researched and written on public attitudes towards youth justice, youth violence prevention, employment and training, educational attainment, urban liveability issues, youth engagement and participation, cultural proficiency, diversity, human rights, and poverty reduction. Gary attended the University of Toronto and earned his graduate and undergraduate degrees in African Studies, Political Science, Teacher Education and Computer Applications in Education. He is an active community organizer in issues facing newcomers, culturally relevant education, social inclusion and engaged communities.

MALIKA  MENDEZ, VICE-PRESIDENT
As a higly dedicated volunteer Malika has served in a variety of volunteer organizations in several capacities. Most recent commitments are as a Board member of BNPHC; Chair, DMV Fundraising Committee at the Royal Ontairo Museum, and the DMV Board of Directors.

Career Credits include serving as Co-Vice Chair of the Province of Ontario’s EERC Committee; Chair of South Asian Canadians in the Ontario Public Service; Organizational Change Consultant, Public & Private sector; Provincial Coordinator, Wife Assault Services; Anti-Racism Consultant (OARS); Public Relations Coordinator & Multicultural Liaison –  broader public sector; Actra’s Diversity Committee; Freelance announcer, narrator & writer, CBC-TV and Radio,  T.V. Ontario,  CTV,  Global,  Montreal Gazette, etc.

ILANEET GOREN, SECRETARY

Ilaneet is a registered social worker with experience in mental health, community development, and human rights advocacy. As a Diversity Specialist at Community Living Toronto, an organization that supports people with intellectual disabilities, she leads research, education, outreach, and partnership development projects focused on equitable and inclusive service delivery and organizational practices. Living in the Soviet Ukraine and in Israel before moving to Canada has given her a unique perspective on intercultural dialogue. She has a Bachelor of Social Work from Ryerson University, and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Toronto. An experienced group leader and life skills coach, Ilaneet uses creative methods and Mindfulness to help un-learn prejudice and translate social justice theory into practice. She volunteers as a mentor with Supporting Our Youth (SOY) program for LGBTQ+ youth and with CultureLink settlement services, and is a member of InterChange For Peace.

TAM  GOOSSEN, TREASURER

Tam Goossen, an elected public school trustee from 1988-1997, was vice-chair of the Toronto Board of Education in 1991. In 1995, Tam was a member of the Ontario Secondary Education Reform Advisory Group to the Minister of Education and Training.  Over the years, Tam has worked closely with many community organizations, including the Chinese Canadian National Council, Metro Toronto Chinese and South East Asian Legal Clinic, CultureLink and St. Stephen’s Community House on issues of equity and social justice.  She is currently the vice- president of the Community Social Planning Council of Toronto as well as a public member of the Ontario Press Council. Tam joined the Urban Alliance Board of Directors in 1995 because she believes strongly in building coalitions to fight racism. Tam has a master’s degree in Japanese and Chinese Studies from the University of Toronto.

RESHMA DHRODIA, MEMBER-AT-LARGE

Reshma Dhrodia is a social worker, counsellor and social justice advocate who does mental health work within high priority neighbourhoods in Toronto. Her professional interests are in geriatric outreach, gender-based violence, trauma-informed practice, and anti-oppression. She has worked for several community organizations and hospitals within the GTA including the Scarborough Women’s Centre, the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health, West Park Healthcare Centre, and the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape. She recently completed two years as Project Manager of Build.Act. Change. Preventing Violence Together, a multi-partner community-university project to engage post-secondary students in Scarborough to prevent gender-based violence. She also recently gave a TEDx talk on age discrimination called, “The Trouble with Aging.”

ZENIA CASTANOS, MEMBER-AT-LARGE

(Bio pending)

AUDI  DHARMALINGAM, MEMBER-AT-LARGE
Audi Dharmalingam is a lawyer and social worker, who was born in India and has studied in India and the United States.  He is one of the founding members of the Urban Alliance and has served on its executive committee for a number of years. Presently, he is the Chairperson of the Bazaar Non-Profit Housing Corporation. He was the executive director of the University Settlement House in Toronto.  He is active in the South Asian Canadian Community.  He has received numerous citizenship awards, including the 1992 William P. Hubbard Race Relations Award from the City of Toronto.  He was presented with the J.S. Woodsworth Award and the Order of Ontario.

EMILY MOONEY, MEMBER-AT-LARGE

Emily is a trained researcher, writer, teacher, and social worker with over a decade of experience leading diverse groups. Her work teaching adult ESL, particularly at Newcomer Women’s Services, and her more recent study of Black and Indigenous history and culture in Canada, inform her interest in how — and for whom — this country has been constructed. She is also deeply interested in social constructions of gender and disability, and in how different aspects of identity intersect and relate to power. During the 1990s she was a founding director of iComm, a nonprofit that provided Internet services to community organizations and charities at no cost. In 2016 she facilitated a series of workshops through Community Living Toronto and CultureLink, training immigrants about intellectual disability so that they can share information and reduce stigma within their own communities. Her most recent work has been to conduct a qualitative research study on behalf of COSTI Immigrant Services and CAMH into how immigrants seek help for problem gambling. She holds an honours B.A. in English literature from Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and received her master of social work, with a specialization in social justice and diversity, from the University of Toronto in November of 2016.

ANTHONY N.  MORGAN
Anthony is a lawyer with the African Canadian Legal Clinic in Toronto, Canada. He is passionately committed to social justice and serving the principles of equity, civic engagement, and multiculturalism, interests he often explores as blogger for the Huffington Post Canada. Anthony has worked as a research assistant for both a sitting judge of the Court of Quebec, Judge Juanita Westmoreland-Traore, and McGill Law professor, Adelle Blackett. He has also worked as a civil-rights advocate at the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations in Montreal, and an associate editor of the *McGill International Journal of Sustainable Development Law & Policy*. In 2009-2010, he served as President of the Black Law Students’ Association of Canada.

Anthony maintains an active interest in matters concerning Black Canadian social and political affairs, and Caribbean diaspora politics. In February 2012, he was one of 12 people to be officially recognized as a Black History Month Laureate by Quebec’s Roundtable on Black History Month. In addition to holding both a LL.B (Common Law) and B.C.L. (Civil Law) from McGill University, Faculty of Law, he holds an Hons. Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto in Ethics, Society & Law.

WINNIE  FALKENSTEIN
Winnie Falkenstein works as a Diversity Management & Community Engagement Consultant with the City of Toronto. Prior to this, she worked in Diversity, Access & Equity with Toronto Public Health. She has also worked as a Policy Advisor for the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services and as a Parole Officer with Correctional Services Canada. Winnie completed her BA and MA in Criminology at the University of Toronto. She has been a volunteer with the UARR since 2002 and recently participated in Maytree’s DiverseCity School4Civics program. Winnie is deeply committed to diversity, equity and social justice. She is particularly interested in the social construction and (mis)representation of race, crime and gender in the media; racism in the criminal justice system; violence against women, and the social determinants of health.

KIRK  MARK, M.Ed.
Kirk Mark is Coordinator of Race and Ethnic Relations Multiculturalism and Visiting Educational Delegations within the Curriculum and Accountability Department for the Toronto Catholic District School Board. No stranger to issues of community, race, ethnic relations, and antiracist education within the provinces of Quebec and Ontario, he continues to expand his knowledge base as a doctoral candidate in Sociology and Equity Studies in Education in the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. Kirk has also acquired expertise in the area of banking, life and health insurance, sports administration, and human resources management through his involvement in corporate initiatives. In addition to serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the Urban Alliance in Race Relations, Mr. Mark has also been instrumental as a founding director and President of the Willowdale Community Legal Services Clinic and the Toronto Basketball Association, while working on boards such as the Ontario Basketball Association, the West Indian Volunteer Association and the Caribbean Cultural Committee. As part of his commitment to community development, he maintains a leadership role as President of the Canadian Alliance of Black Educators, Treasurer of the Antiracist Multicultural Education Network of Ontario and former member of the Board of Directors of the National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE), the only Canadian on this U.S.-based organization.

NORA HINDY

Nora Hindy, OCT, is a public school teacher with the Peel District School Board. She holds a Masters degree in Public Policy. As a Board of Director of Urban Alliance on Race Relations, Nora has worked with unions and advocacy groups to help bring the voices of racialized communities to the forefront. Nora has spent many years working and advocating for Special Education students. She is involved with the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, where she sits on the Anti-Racism and Equity Committee at the local level. Nora has also volunteered with DawaNet, where she led and organized a nationwide federal election debate for racialized youth aimed at improving the strength of democracy in Canada.

AINSWORTH SPENCE

Ainsworth is a dynamic trade unionist, currently serving a 3 -year term as Co-Vice President at the Canadian Labour Congress representing Workers of Colour. He has a passion for defending workers’ rights and the promotion of fairness, and a strong advocate on equity issues in making the labour movement more inclusive and diverse. His vision is to see more workers of colour and those from the marginalized and disenfranchised community attain more leadership roles.
As a leader and an activist on many fronts, such as the Toronto and York Region Labour Council Equity Committee, and executive board member of SEIU Healthcare – one of Canada’s largest Healthcare Union’s. Ainsworth continues to educate and raise awareness on issues of human rights and equity for the betterment of our work places, labour movement, and society as a whole. He see’s himself as an emerging political activist after working along-side other team-members on the 2014 NDP provincial campaign in the Ajax-Pickering riding. His growing interest in politics has led him into his current role as President of King-Vaughan riding association for the Provincial NDP party.
On most days, you can find Ainsworth at Sunnybrook Health Science Centre in Toronto, working in the administration department. During his spare time, he is an entrepreneur in the financial industry.

SARAH GRZINCIC

Sarah Grzincic identifies as a mixed race person of colour who acknowledges she has light skin privilege. She is one of the cofounders of MIXED; a biennial multidisciplinary art conference that provides a space for racialized mixed-race identities through art, discussion and community building.
Sarah graduated with a postgraduate diploma in Child and Youth work and has obtained her masters from OISE in Adult Education and Community Development.

She currently works as a Project Coordinator in Peel Region on a youth engagement initiative where she is committed to amplifying youth voice. Her previous experience spans to the fields of mental health, equity and diversity education, and LGBTQ human rights advocacy.

SUZE MORRISON

Suze Morrison is a communications professional and community activist with roots in Toronto and London, Ontario. She has held a number of roles with highly-political organizations in nonprofit, healthcare, and Indigenous spaces. She has an Honours Bachelor of Applied Arts in Media Studies from the University of Guelph and a Diploma in Public Relations from Humber College.

Suze is known for her passion for politics and her advocacy work in the areas of equity and anti-oppression. In 2013 she joined forces with several London women to found Women and Politics, a grassroots initiative to connect women with politics. She has also served on several boards and advisory groups including: the Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Oppression Advisory Committee at the City of London, the Middlesex-London Community Drug and Alcohol Strategy, and the Western Ontario Sports Car Association.

KALPANA MAKAN

As a first generation, Canadian born in South Africa, Kalpana’s work in education for the past 24 years was informed by her early childhood memories of segregation and discrimination. She has worked as a teacher, special education and guidance specialist and elementary school Vice-Principal for the TDSB. She worked with parents and teachers from diverse communities to ensure student success and achievement.
Since 2006 Kalpana has worked as a senior staff at the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) in the Equity & Women’s Services department. Through her position Kalpana has brought support to teachers from designated groups in their personal and professional development as leaders in their professional and personal communities. Kalpana has also developed comprehensive curriculum and teaching resources to bring awareness and currency to issues of equity and social justice to classrooms across the country.
Kalpana’s career has maintained a focus on lifting the voices of educators and students from marginalized communities, helping them to develop as individuals of potential and elevating their voices in a diverse future.

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