Sign up for our biweekly newsletter to stay up to date on all our events and initiatives!

Equity in Practice:

Community Capacity Building

The power to make social change lives within community leaders.
SFU’s Community Capacity Building Certificate supports learners as they engage community by sharing lived experiences and adopting new tools for building projects and movements. Learners have been deepening their relationships with themselves, their communities and the land to create a project and move forward a change they’d like to see in the world.
Join us to hear inspiring stories from the most recent cohort of learners and their growth as emerging leaders working towards equity in their communities.



Tuesday, June 22, 2021

6:00 PM (PT)

Online event

A link and password to join the event will be sent to registrants via Eventbrite.


Closed captioning will be available at this event.

If you have any questions about accessibility, please contact



Jónína Kirton

Jónína Kirton is a celebrated Métis and Icelandic poet, mentor, BIPOC Auntie at the SFU Writer's Studio, and champion of peer support as a component of community healing and artistic work. Her presentation will include a poem from her most recent collection, An Honest Woman, which was a finalist in the 2018 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. A late-blooming poet, Jónína was 61 when she received the 2016 City of Vancouver’s Mayor’s Arts Award for an Emerging Artist in the Literary Arts category. Her life story is one of learning to care for self and community during times of transition and complexity.


Read more

Jshandeep Jassal

Jshandeep Jassal is co-director at Solid State Community Industries and a community builder with expertise in creating workers' cooperatives, mentoring racialized youth, and promoting intergenerational knowledge sharing between youth, families and organizations. At Solid State and in community, Jshandeep's work fosters connections across generations and within communities using an asset-based approach. Jshandeep’s project will focus on opportunities to reconnect with culture, heritage and community after experiences of racism and intolerance, particularly for South Asian youth and those impacted by intergenerational trauma in the Punjabi/Sikh community.


Read more

Andrea Wheeler

Andrea Wheeler is a seventh-generation settler, farmer and community organizer who is exploring and facilitating a collaborative practice of decolonial land stewardship and community engagement as a form of landback. As the first woman in her family to inherit land acquired through colonial violence and dispossession, she is navigating her own positionality through research and relationship building in territories of the Kanyen'keh:ka (Mohawk), Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples (where she currently lives). Andrea's project presentation will consider different forms of decolonized reparations, as they unfold through relationships made between land and people, trusting in the guidance of nature and friendship in support of intergenerational community and healing.


Read more

Mateo Tobar

Mateo Tobar is an Ecuador-based social innovator with a focus on reducing the gap of opportunities in developing countries. With experience in civil society, academia and the private sector, Mateo is a true believer that to achieve sustainable and equitable development there must be a multisector collaborative approach. His project will focus on creating a more participatory and proactive society through the promotion of youth leadership. The project will be run by the Youth Education Lab, an initiative that he co-created with his community in Ecuador and expects to become one of the few social enterprises focused on youth in Ecuador.


Read more

Emerald Asuncion and Desmond Williams

Emerald Asuncion is an activist, decolonizing artist and advocate for collective healing whose work seeks to uplift her diasporic communities from the island archipelago colonially known as The Philippines, as well as her wider community in the DTES/Chinatown neighbourhood. Emerald's work in communications has spanned sectors including retail, television, environmental conservation, urban planning and community health, with a focus on promoting healing and justice for BIPOC communities.


Desmond Williams is a community healer and TRE practitioner, stand-up comedian and writer whose work is grounded in the culture, music, dancing, laughter and storytelling of his upbringing as a member of the Nlaka’Pamux First Nations and Afro-Vincentian communities. Desmond’s work explores healing practices for communities affected by white supremacy and colonialism, and how to foster the care and support needed to explore these depths safely and effectively with others.


Emerald and Desmond have collaborated to create an artistic and healing space which serves their communities. Their emerging social enterprise, Sari-Sari Mi Nah Sari, invites all to support healing racial divides through a retail and community space—a platform where local BIPOC artists, creators, chefs, other BIPOC-owned businesses and their offerings are showcased, and where healing for BIPOC community by BIPOC healers and practitioners is celebrated and elevated in every exchange.


Read more


Vanessa Richards

Instructor, Community Capacity Building Certificate


Vanessa Richards is an interdisciplinary artist and engagement facilitator combining a passion for communities and culture into unique socially-engaged projects. She applies what she’s learning about collaboration through music and performance, to developing work that uplifts the art of city building and people power.

As an advisor, one of her pleasures is to advance imaginative thinking across disciplines with organizations like RADIUS at SFU, Ethọ́s Lab (S.T.E.A.M. for Black youth) and Solid State youth cooperative. She holds an MPhil from Cardiff University, Wales, and is an Associate of the SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue and a producer/facilitator for the Social Venture Institute with Hollyhock Leadership Institute.

Welcome: the people and the land

Yvonne Rigsby Jones

Class Elder, Community Capacity Building Certificate


Yvonne is Snuneymuxw First Nation, Coast Salish. She leads the Community Capacity Building program as Elder.

Yvonne dedicated 29 years to leading Tsow-Tun Le Lum Treatment Centre, retiring in June 2015. Over her career she developed treatment practices such as Residential School Trauma Healing, while participating in regional and national committees. She is an ambassador for Reconciliation Canada and a member of the Governing Council for the MSW Indigenous Trauma and Resiliency Program at the University of Toronto.

Yvonne understands traditional practices and ceremony are the way home for many of our wounded people. She has listened, encouraged, challenged and led. She believes in compassion because compassion works.


Accessibility, Technology & Privacy


Closed captioning will be available at this event.

If you have any questions about accessibility for this event, please contact

Registration and password

A password to access this event will be sent to all registrants via email in the days and hours preceeding the event.

Technology requirements

This workshop will be presented in a participatory webinar format. To engage fully you will need:

  • A laptop, computer, or smartphone
  • A webcam
  • A microphone
  • Speakers or headphones

Protecting your privacy

To ensure that we are using online meeting technology in a privacy-conscious way, we are following best practices for this online event series:

  • We will only circulate the meeting link to those who are registered for the event
  • We will password protect the meeting
  • We will enable end-to-end encryption
  • We will not use attention tracking

To protect your own privacy we suggest that:

  • You use a unique email address to log into the webinar. This is so that the webinar platform can’t cross-reference your profile with the rest of your digital profiles under your email address.
  • We suggest you do not use your Facebook profile to log into the webinar. This is so that the webinar platform can’t cross-reference you with your Facebook account.
  • We remind you that whatever you say in the webinar is public and recorded, so please do not share sensitive information about yourself or others, and do not say anything you do not wish to enter the public domain.

To protect the privacy of others we ask that:

  • You do not record or photograph yourself, other participants, or the hosts during the webinar, unless permission is requested and given.