#OCChangemakers 2022-2023 End-Of-Year Updates: Raghad, Jose-Luis & Karenveer

Updates from Raghad, Jose-Luis & Karenveer at the end of their one year of implementing their projects as an #OCChangemaker.

Envisioning an Anti-Racist London

Raghad El Niwairi, London

Project Description & Goals 

Envisioning an Anti-Racist London aims to engage and support community building within London, Ontario, especially offering support to the folks who already play a supportive role within their community. Through hosting events and collaborating with other community leaders, the project team hopes to strengthen the support and connection Londoners feel to their communities.

Without the funding OCC offered, this event would not have been able to occur in the capacity that it did, and we would not have had the ability to compensate anywhere near as many local talents and organizers or to the capacity that we did. 

Read Raghad’s one-year report here.

About Raghad

Raghad El Niwairi is a Black Muslim living in London, Ontario. She is the Co-founder and the Director of Community Care and Consultation for the London School of Racialized Leaders. Raghad received the Ontario Community Changemakers grant on behalf of the Racialized Leaders team in 2022. Like many others, she grew up watching news broadcasting as a child and was moved by the social issues she witnessed on TV. Since then, she has committed most of her childhood and adolescence to hands-on community and advocacy work. This has led to her receiving various volunteer-based awards and working on projects like the InterAction Collective. 

#SocialInclusion #CivicEngagement

Jose-Luis Kuri
, Toronto

About the Project 

Cheech1Teach1 plays on the phrase “Each one teach one,” a basic principle Luis seeks to target throughout his community! The Cheech1Teach1 project seeks to teach, educate, and spread knowledge by organizing local events throughout the street dance community and for others who may be interested in learning or becoming part of the community.

Beyond the tangible outcomes, the Ontario Community Changemakers grant enabled us to pave the way for a cultural renaissance in Toronto’s dance scene. Through “Cheech1Teach1” events and the “Open Jam Collective,” diverse backgrounds, experiences, and dance styles converged, creating a rich tapestry of creativity that enriched the city’s cultural landscape.

Read Jose-Luis’s one-year report here.

About Jose Luis

Jose-Luis Kuri (a.k.a. Cheech) is a professional street dancer, teacher, choreographer, and competitive battle dancer with over ten years of experience in the field. Luis strives to preserve street dance culture through education, community building, and event organizing with a passionate goal to pass down the knowledge he has acquired to future generations. Through his strong ambition in the dancing arts, Luis believes his educative role will help craft the realm of street dancing and generate a space where his culture may grow and enrich the lives of others in the same way that it has enriched his.

To learn more about Cheech1Teach1 events and achievements, visit their Instagram accounts: @openjamcolective and @cheech1teach1

#SocialInclusion #CivicEngagement #PublicSpace

Co-Creating the Future of Community Food Spaces  
Karenveer Pannu, Toronto

About the Project

The Co-Creating the Future of Community Food Spaces project invited community members to reimagine a vital community service – the community food bank. Many community food banks, due to COVID-19, have had to move programming into public spaces. Reflecting on these experiences and leading community members through an engaging participatory design journey, this project asked community members to reimagine food banks as public spaces, and brainstorm new possibilities for how the service and space are designed. These contributions were used to develop key service principles that promote accessibility, dignity, empowerment, and social connectedness.

 This engagement effort was vital as it allowed us to pause and reflect intentionally. The Albion Library Food Space is still relatively new to the community; this effort allows us to connect meaningfully with community members. Fostering a sense of community is critical to an empowering food space, and engagement efforts like this are essential in creating a safe and inviting environment. From this process, we gained many learnings. 

Read Karenveer’s one-year report here.

About Karenveer

Karenveer is a longtime resident of the GTA and brings with her a deep understanding of community. Karenveer received her BA from the University of Toronto, where she double majored in political science and diaspora studies and minored in English. She is in the process of completing her M.Ed at OISE (University of Toronto), where she is studying curriculum and pedagogy. Karenveer is passionate about liberatory education and knowledge-building processes grounded within the community.

#SocialInclusion #CivicEngagement #PublicSpace