Conversation Series: Webinar 1


In our first 2020 webinar, moderator Rhiannon Bennett led a conversation with elected leaders and educators from across BC on what inclusive, equitable, and sustainable communities could look like both during and after COVID-19. Please join us.


Tuesday, July 28, 2020, 10 to 11am PST

Free (thanks to our sponsors!)

Aidan Shirley at

We’ll have closed captioning available during the webinar. 

Rhiannon Bennett, Co-Founder, Hummingbirds Rising (moderator) Rhiannon (she/her) is Musqueam and a much-sought-after speaker who is well known for asking tough questions in a manner that encourages engagement and dialogue. She is actively working to create a more equitable world for all and has been working with children, youth, and families for over 20 years in a variety of roles. Professionally, she has worked with Indigenous youth and families, with overarching themes of her work being Decolonization and Reconciliation. In 2014, she was the first Indigenous person elected to the Delta Board of Education. While not successfully re-elected, she was inspired to launch a consulting firm with her running-mate, Andrea Hilder, to continue to do the important work. 

Teresa Downs, Superintendent of Schools for the Gold Trail School District Teresa joined us at High Ground 2018, when she shared the story of the “White Privilege Campaign” in School District 7, which covers many communities in BC’s interior. She returned in 2019 to give us an update. Teresa completed her practicum in Gold Trail and has stayed in the district since then. She has been a classroom teacher, Learner Support Teacher, Principal, Director of Instruction and now Superintendent. She is dedicated to improving the quality of the educational experience for each student with a focus on Indigenous learners. 

Sharmarke Dubow, Councillor, City of Victoria Sharmarke cast his first vote in an election on October 20, 2018. In that same election he ran for office and was elected a City Councillor in Victoria, BC — the first Somali-Canadian elected to City Council in Canada and the first Black City Councillor to be elected in Victoria in 152 years. Sharmarke fled his country when he was 8 years old. He was a refugee for more than two decades before he resettled in Canada and worked with migrants in North Africa as a dedicated human rights defender. 

These are just some of the experiences that convinced Sharmarke to dedicate his life to racial, social and environmental justice. He is tireless in his efforts to build relationships, collaborate, and bring people together to improve the wellbeing of communities. In less than two years on City Council, Sharmarke, has taken great steps to make life more equitable, inclusive, and affordable for people in Victoria. He’s passed motions to make public transit free, started a renters advisory committee to give tenants a voice, worked to bring an equity lens to decision-making at the City, fought for the addition of affordable housing in Victoria, police accountability, and more.

Nadine Nakagawa, Councillor, City of New Westminster Nadine is a community organizer and local activist, and was elected to New Westminster City council in 2018. Here, she serves on the mayor’s task forces on affordable housing and childcare, climate change and the environment, and reconciliation, inclusion, and public engagement. Nadine chairs the Environment Advisory Committee and is the council rep on the Youth Advisory Committee. She co-owns a consulting business called Ablaze Services and has a Masters Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.

Jennifer Reddy, Trustee, Board of Education, School District 39, Vancouver Jennifer is working towards an inclusive community where people are engaged as valuable and deserving individuals, who can use their agency to lead the changes they wish to see. Jennifer holds a Masters in Social Policy and Development, a Bachelors in Development Studies, and a Certificate in Curriculum Development and Instructional Design. From SFU, EdMeCo, and the VSB to Kuru Kuru Training Centre in Guyana, Jennifer has been inspired by global leadership in education and social change.

With an introduction from Sussanne Skidmore, who chairs our Board of Directors and is the Secretary Treasurer of the BC Federation of Labour. 

Thanks to our sponsors for helping make this event possible.