Tune In to the Livestream of Black Imaginaries: Worldbuilding Towards a New Public Health

April 11, 2024

Join Black Public Health Collective today at 6 pm as they host Black Imaginaries: Worldbuilding Towards a New Public Health at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue. 

Event Description

Public health remains an institution that requires the active resistance of narratives, practices and policies that materially harm and constrain the lives of Black people on Turtle Island. As a discipline, public health makes Black lives invisible and has failed to promote the health and well-being of Black people. The realities of the moment—divestment from public services, legislative changes that undermine Canada’s public health care system, expansion and use of surveillance systems and discriminatory technologies in society—require collective action. We must imagine public health and the world anew.

This event draws upon the provocations presented in Dr. Ruha Benjamin’s book Imagination: A Manifesto (2024) to collectively consider what is possible in public health and beyond when we stop policing the limits of our imaginations. Through conversation, speakers will share examples of collective responses that oppose anti-Black racism and other systems of oppression and advance the health of Black people. Speakers will comment on the connections between “life-affirming imagination,” abolition, education, technology and solidarity movements. Finally, with event participants, speakers will deliberate how communities can strengthen collective organizing processes and world-building towards a new public health.

Please note that sign language interpreters (ASL) will be signing during the event.

Speaker Bios


Jo-Ann Osei-Twum is the co-founder of the Black Public Health Collective whose mission is to create a higher quality of life for Black people through resistance in public health. Her interests include population health interventions, social epidemiology, emerging technologies, and the implications for the health, wellbeing, and livability of Black people. She holds a Masters of Science (Pharmaceutical Sciences) from the University of British Columbia and a Masters of Public Health from the University of Toronto.


Ilhan Abdullahi is a dedicated community organizer, storyteller, a PhD student, and co-founder of the Black Public Health Collective, who resides on the unceded traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Committed to addressing health and social inequities, her work and research centers on the experiences and health of Black youth and migrants. She works as the Health Promotion Lab Manager at RADIUS SFU. Ilhan holds a Masters of Public Health from the University of Toronto and is a sessional instructor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University.

Jillian Christmas is an artist, creative facilitator, curator, consultant, and advocate in the arts community. She is the long-time spoken word curator of the Vancouver Writers Fest, and former artistic director of Verses Festival of Words. Utilizing an anti-oppressive lens, Jillian has performed and facilitated workshops across North America and beyond. She is the author of The Gospel of Breaking (Arsenal Pulp Press 2020), and the children’s book, The Magic Shell (Flamingo Rampant Press 2022). In Fall of 2023, Christmas was appointed as the inaugural Poet-in-residence at the Vancouver Art Gallery, where she can currently be found daydreaming. She lives on the unceded territories of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam people (Vancouver, BC.)

Adrianna Spyker holds a Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs from the University of British Columbia. Actively involved in community well-being, she serves on the boards of three local non-profits in Metro-Vancouver. As a university lecturer in Sustainable Development and Global Affairs, Adrianna collaborates with local non-profits on policy and development initiatives. Currently, Adrianna works as a Community Health Specialist for a local health authority, fostering collaborations with various stakeholders to promote healthy public policy. With a focus on health equity and social determinants of health, she leads efforts in housing, food security, climate emergency, and more, aiming for meaningful systems change. Adrianna chairs the Black, African, and Caribbean (BAC) Advisory in Surrey, advocating for equity and anti-racism in community food systems and amplifying voices for inclusive policy-making.

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