May 15 - 19, 2019
the 2019 liberation health convergence took place on may 15 - 19 in toronto (Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee territory). we have so much gratitude to everyone who contributed to the space and helped to shape the transformative, challenging, and healing five days.
if you'd like to connect or contribute to any reportback activities, get in touch!
What: Five days of skillshare/curriculum to build a practice of health workers as political workers in Canada.
Why: The focus will be on developing clinical skills that not only enhance health outcomes for people seeking care, but achieve political liberation as well. Our aim is also to grow a community/network of liberationist care-workers.
When: May 15 – 19, 2019
Where: We are meeting on the shores of Lake Ontario on territory covered by the Dish With One Spoon wampum treaty between the Anishinaabe and the Haudenosaunee confederacy, most recently home to the Mississaugas of the Credit River. In settler colonial Canada this place is known as Toronto, ON.
Who: The organizing committee invited applications from healthcare practitioners and community organizers who are engaged in movement struggle and who want to deepen their practice as it relates to working within the healthcare system.
How: Each day will consist of a half-day dedicated to examining the broad structures in society that shape experiences of health, illness, and care (for example, sexism, racism, capitalism, colonialism etc.) and a half-day exploring specific issues currently of political and health importance in Canada that people are organizing around (for example, police brutality, reproductive justice, workers health, health of people who use drugs, undocumented migrants health etc.). The goal is for health practitioners to learn how to support contemporary social movements in achieving their goals for liberation. Half-days will be co-facilitated by a community organizer and a health worker, while recognizing that these roles are not mutually exclusive. We will also have time to meet each other, build community, and reflect on how we carry the relationships and ideas from the convergence forward in our individual and collective work.
We hope that this initial convergence will help build a community/network of consult that we will be in touch with over the months that follow to see how we can support each other with all that we have and will be learning.
Support this project
Fundraising for the 2019 liberation health convergence is now complete but we would welcome donations to put forward to the next convergence! Donations go toward:
Achieving representation of community organizers and practitioners from both rural and urban areas around the country
Compensate speakers for their time, travel, and accommodations
Include individuals in training so that we can start to build a new generation of health workers committed to liberation and justice in their practices
Make admission, food, and related expenses free or low cost
Cover our overhead including space rental fees, supplies, tech
requirements, ASL services and written materials
Any contributions you can make toward these goals would be immensely
appreciated. Monthly donations would be deeply appreciated!
To support this gathering, please send an Interac e-Transfer to:
we're so excited that you're interested in this project!
the 2019 liberation health convergence has taken place but we hope to stay connected and support each other in organizing and liberatory care work. email us if you'd like to connect.
Baijayanta is a late 20th century settler in Tio’tia:ke of Bengali descent. Working as a rural family physician mainly in Eeyou Istchee, Baj also writes and organises on a variety of issues such as extractivism, migrant liberation, and health politics. Building a community of clinicians dedicated to politicising health work and training is a major driver for participating in this initiative.
Bilal is trying to uphold his responsibilities as a perpetual guest on unceded Indigenous lands. He loves being part of the weaving together of strong & resilient communities, with emphasis on autonomy, food sovereignty and environmental justice. He is excited to share in these essential conversations, experiences and practices, and continue to work to decolonize and liberate our healing.
Yotakahron is a Mohawk, Bear Clan born and raised on Six Nations reserve. She is a medical student at McMaster University’s Niagara Regional Campus. She is currently the Student Director for the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada, McMaster’s Senior Local Officer of Indigenous Health for the Canadian Federation of Medical Students, and an Indigenous Mentor through the Indigenous Students Health Science office at McMaster. She was co-founder of the Indigenous Health Curriculum Action Group at McMaster which has been successful in pushing for more Indigenous Health into the medical school curriculum. She is a traditional doula trained at Tsi Non:we Ionnakeratstha and wants to continue providing support for birthing mothers and families in the future through her family practice.
Nanky Rai is a migrant settler from India-occupied Kashmir and currently living in Toronto, on the traditional Indigenous territory of the Wendat, the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, and the Mississaugas of the New Credit. She is formally trained in public health and family medicine.
Claire is a cisgender queer femme, white settler, and medical student living on the territory of the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee nations covered by the Dish With One Spoon wampum treaty. Currently she is involved in projects to foster health advocacy skills among healthcare profession students, incorporate social justice frameworks into medical school curriculum, and improve the health of people who experience detention while working towards prison abolition. She is excited to be part of the convergence and see it as an opportunity to share skills, strengthen community, and explore some of the practical ways to work on the ground in support of health liberation.
Nancy Laliberte Tansi, I am Cree/Métis from the Beaver River area of the prairies and I now live on the traditional, ancestral territory of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation and work on the traditional, unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-waututh Peoples. I completed a Master of Public Health in 2012 from the School of Population and Public Health at UBC. Currently, I am working with youth on the The’ye’lh Smun’eem Indigenous Youth Wellness project in my fifth year of study in the PhD program at SPPH. I am passionate about land/health justice for Indigenous Peoples and believe decolonizing anti-racism is an important first step. I am honoured to be working with a team of people who share a vision for a more just world!
CJ Blennerhassett is a Registered Midwife working in downtown Toronto, Ontario. She/they were born in Nova Scotia and raised in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. She now splits her time between Ontario and Nova Scotia. She is Chair of the Canadian Association of Midwives National Advisory Board on Gender Equity and Diversity, co-founder of a national Queer Caucus of Canadian Midwives, and part of a collective working to establish a queer and fertility-focused Midwifery practice in the Greater Toronto Area. In addition to midwifery work she is a solo parent and activist and volunteers as an editor at Shameless, a feminist magazine for youth. She believes that the philosophy of midwifery care strongly supports self-determination in healthcare in families and communities; it is in this way that we are able to navigate and combat systems of oppression during a time of intense transformation. She became involved in the Liberation Health Convergence as a way to create connections between political work and clinical practice, build a network of strong advocates, and actively engage in allyship by offering logistics and planning support.
Jane: I’m medical student, former RN, and settler of Irish/Scottish/French Canadian heritage in Hamilton, ON – Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory. I was inspired to enter healthcare by progressive health workers caring for their communities, my grandmothers who did care work and aspired to be nurses, and the way injustice manifests in the body as illness. In my work and organizing, I want to be part of a healthcare system that seeks justice, community, dignity, and the sharing of health knowledge. Excited to learn from everyone at this convergence!
Vic is a Family Medicine resident currently living in Toronto. In their previous life, they worked with community organizations focused on queer and trans health, youth empowerment, and HIV/AIDS. As a resident, they enjoy intentionally disrupting oppressive hierarchies in medicine by building inclusive and affirming relationships that centre anti-oppression at their core. They’re here to build these relationships.