Skip to main content
Menu
Defenders for Human Rights

Other Human Rights Defenders

The purpose of Speak Truth to Power Canada is to share the personal journeys of some of the many Canadian human rights defenders working today. As lesson plans are thematic and many Canadians assume the responsibility to advance human rights, every lesson plan also includes community-based defenders. It is hoped that your students may be inspired to identify themselves as human rights defenders and take positive action to support human rights in their own life and community. Perhaps your students will become community defenders themselves.

Min Sook Lee

With an interest in the effect of state structure and power dynamics on human rights, Min Sook Lee’s documentary filmmaking largely focuses on marginalized groups. Lee has made three films about migrant workers in a particular: El Contrato and Borderless – about male migrant workers – and Migrant Dreams – about female migrant workers coming to Canada to support their families, a film for which Lee raised $15,000 on IndieGoGo. El Contrato is a winner of the Cesar E. Chavez Black Eagle Award for its role in the improvement of migrant worker rights. A Ryerson documentary instructor and Toronto International Film Festival judge, Lee is mindful of ethics and the protection of her vulnerable subjects, which have, as well as migrant workers, included North Korean defectors and gay police officers.

  • Human Dignity
  • Labour Rights

Lily Shinde

Often the victim of race-based bullying as a child, Japanese-Canadian Lily Shinde grew into strong beliefs in the rights of women of colour. With activism and speaking engagements spreading back to the 1980s, including the foundation of Third World Women’s and Women of Colour groups in Vancouver, Shinde is now a frequently sought guide for Japanese-Canadian issues. She has been involved with Japanese-Canadian politics and taught an original Feminist English course in Japan. Her focus is now more specifically on discrimination-based living issues, tracking ongoing displacement in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and finding solidarity with the Coast Salish peoples.

  • Truth and Reconciliation
  • Equality and Redress
  • Human Dignity

El Jones

Halifax’s poet laureate since 2013, El Jones, is an Afro-Métis spoken word activist who found solidarity with “the political, prophetic tradition of Afrikan (sic) Nova Scotia.” Jones’s activism came to her through her craft – she got involved to bring sincerity to her words. Finding her focus in prison outreach and youth engagement, Jones has developed a brand of slam poetry that aims to empower African Nova Scotians and match low reading comprehension levels. In 2014, she released her first book of poems, Live From the Afrikan Resistance! which seeks to both empower and educate.

  • Human Dignity
  • Equitable Education for All