Belen Samuel

Acknowledge the call to relationship and reconciliation that is present with the land you stand upon.

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Age: 26

Hometown: Born in Zimbabwe, originally from Eritrea

Lives In: Treaty 6 (Amiskwaskahegan/Edmonton)

Affiliations:
Supports with Dreaming Rainbow

What influenced you to become a changemaker?

I am a Zimbabwean-born Eritrean settler with migration experiences as a refugee. I currently exist on Treaty 6 territory, where over the past five years, I worked at the Africa Centre and at Youth Empowerment and Support Services (YESS). This work addressed issues of migration amongst Black and people of colour and shared realities of homelessness amongst Indigenous and refugee populations. I currently work at Supports Through Dreaming Rainbow, a non-profit organization in Stony Plain that works to support individuals with disabilities. I am able to promote anti-racism and work towards equity through creating inclusive policies and coordinating health and safety procedures. While completing my Master of Education in educational policy studies at the University of Alberta, I continue to contribute towards anti-racism education across various organizations. 

How does your work promote gender equality in Canada and around the world?

As a Black woman committed to anti-racism education and community work, I am vigilant about going beyond equality and instead work towards gender equity. I created and coordinated the Africa Centre’s African and Caribbean youth collective, YEGTheComeUp for five years. This initiative continues to encourage individual and collective empowerment from within the involved individuals of African and Caribbean backgrounds. This project creates leadership opportunities for Black women to address gender disparity and inequities within our communities, and it builds understanding of the experiences and challenges of Black marginalized gender identities and expressions.

What change would you like to see in the world by 2030?

I would like to see less conversation and consultation, and more action around issues of inequity. I would like to see people learn how to improve their practices and environments through anti-racism and anti-oppression work. I would like to see a prioritization of Indigenous experiences and knowledges centred within every solution or strategy. 

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YEGTheComeUp 2018 Black History Month event, Melanin Narratives III: Community Black Panther Screening.