“There is absolutely no reason why any society should normalize compromises between ‘dollars’ and dignity. Always choose dignity – a successful society should not be measured by the gains of capitalists.”
2022 Top 30 Under 30
Which SDGs are you most passionate about and Why?
I am most passionate about Goal 10: Reduced inequalities and Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. Regardless of my connection with these goals, I feel most SDGs could have gone further in addressing the intersections across communities of people who continue to experience daily and systemic discrimination, such as the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, people living with disabilities, and people experiencing racism.
Those who identify as male, such as myself, must do better to support our communities in achieving gender equality and welcoming whole identities—we must be accomplices in dismantling the systems of oppression that affect our communities. We must speak up and address harmful behaviours from other men. Men must sit in discomfort and listen to amplify the work being done by QTBIWOC on intersections and barriers experienced by misogyny-affected persons. We must strive to dismantle colonial and capitalist systems that reinforce discrimination.
Our society must redefine what Goal 16 actually means; we need to reimagine what community safety looks like while decentering reactionary, temporary solutions to community issues. We need to transition from ‘social service’ to ‘social change’ models of addressing community safety that also work to center reconciliation and decolonization. To address the root causes of high levels of crime, we must put an end to systems focused on punishment and deterrence and build systems that prioritize an individual’s stability and dignity through housing, mental health supports, and education. We must do better.
What issues are you most passionate about and what inspires you to take action?
We all have a moral responsibility to take action, to leave the world better than the one we inherited. I am passionate about making space for communities to grow and to flourish – on their terms. I believe in facilitating participation and accessibility for all through better developed public policy and ensuring an institutional analysis that centers justice, anti-oppression, and sustainability. Building a better world is not unattainable fiction—it is actionable now.
I was fortunate to have had teachers that inspired me to serve my community – particularly my social studies teachers: Lynn Page-Scott (Grade 6), Barb Turcotte (Grade 7), Ken Kosak (Grades 8 & 9), Dan Gillmor (Grades 10 & 11), and Greg MacCollum (Grade 12). Social Studies inspired me to change the issues I saw in the world around me and gave me an impassioned desire to help make a difference. I am also grateful and continually inspired by the love, support, and guidance provided to me by the Edmonton Muslim Community over the past years.
How have your communities and those around you helped you to take action and make a difference?
Taking action has not always been easy—undiagnosed ADHD made primary and post-secondary school very challenging for me. Yet, I have been fortunate to have had access to mentorship that helped support my growth and my passion for making change. My uncle supported me while I did an unpaid internship in the Superior Court of North Carolina in 2016, where I developed my understanding of English Common Law. I participated in another internship funded through the Canada Summer Jobs program with the Bredin Centre For Career Advancement under the manager for Community Engagement, Tarek Fath Elbab. I have also served my community through various volunteer roles and on boards that helped me develop skills and uplift others.
My family has been a huge influence and support. My Italian grandmother would tell me stories about encountering prejudice during her childhood, motivating me to take action. Most of all, my kids give me hope, and my wife inspires me. Her love and support fuel my volunteerism and passion for advocacy, She challenges my self-doubt by standing with me, always. Al-Ḥamdu lillāh
What do partnership and collaboration mean to you in your life and your work?
To me, partnership and collaboration mean centering empathy and dignity for all and building bridges between communities. It means amplifying voices, building community capacity, AND sustainability. It means envisioning a better future. It also means mentoring youth to surpass the goals we set towards building that future while making space for the young leaders to flourish and grow without barriers from the past.
Trent protesting Sinophobia and anti-Asian sentiment in Sherwood Park at the Book Signing for “Chinavirus” in July 2020
Trent protesting changes to the Alberta curriculum and the lack of consultation with students and teachers in April 2021