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Equity in Practice

More Stories of 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 deepen 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.

In June, we heard powerful, transformative stories from some of the learners in the most recent cohort of the certificate. Now, as the spring cohorts have come to a close, several more of these learners will share what they’ve been working on.

Join them as they reflect on their growth throughout the program as emerging leaders working towards equity in their communities.


Thursday, September 09, 2021

12:00 p.m. (PT)

Online event

A link and password to access this online event will be emailed to all registrants via Eventbrite shortly before the event.


Closed captioning in English will be available at this event.

The event will be recorded, and a link to the recording will be emailed to all registrants after the event.

If you have any questions about accessibility, please contact



Sarah Common

Sarah Common is a community support worker, beekeeper, and executive director and co-founder of Hives for Humanity. She is passionate about fostering vibrant, healthy community through empowerment of living experience, in connection to the land and with reciprocity in relationship. Sarah’s presentation will highlight the Garden of Care initiative, a proposed Community Land Trust at Hastings Folk Garden in the Downtown Eastside. This vision includes resisting development and the holding of land as a community-governed green space, through work of inclusion, love and dignity, honouring all ways of knowing and being.

Maria dela Cruz

Maria dela Cruz (siya/she/they) is a Systems Change Community Developer with Collingwood Neighbourhood House; a trauma informed decolonizing anti-oppression certified executive coach and facilitator; a peacemaking circle practitioner; and a founding member of the Fierce Filipinx Femmes Ancestral Circle (FFFAC), on the unceded sacred ancestral territories of the Səlí̓lwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and xwməθkwəyə̓ m (Musqueam) First Nations. Maria is the Vice President of the board of directors of WAVAW as well as her co-operative housing board. She also provides sliding scale or pro bono coaching and leadership empowerment to women, femmes and youth in transition.

Romila Barryman

Romila Barryman

Romila Barryman is a death doula, facilitator and cybermystic of kejawen and Zoroastrian ancestry who works with liminality: the breath between sentences, the space between words, souls in transition—whether between this life and the next, relationships or identities. Romila's presentation will introduce jiwa, a grief collective exploring the interconnectedness of loss by connecting future ancestors back into the wisdom and care of their hyperlocal communities and each other. As the world looks to “return to normal,” jiwa looks instead to return to complex, non-linear, cosmically expansive realities by creating a space to process positionality through grief.

Lystra Sam

Lystra Sam is an entrepreneur, actor, writer, traveller, longtime Blacktivist and disruptor of harmful systems, whose work facilitates connection, healing and joy. As a dreamweaver, wanderer, storyteller, mentor and mentee, Lystra is the founder of QmooniTi, a travel community that embraces culture and travel from a decolonized lens; The World When Black workshop series; a Patreon in support of folks who want to learn how to practice being an ally; alongside justice and healing work with organizations who recognize that anti-racism is a lifelong journey. Lystra’s presentation will introduce her most recent project, Sisters Leading Sisters, which invites BIPOC women to rest, dream and rise in transformative gatherings which facilitate healing, connection and reimagining.

Fawziah Bhatia & Vicki Wang

Fawziah Bhatia is a community builder, motivational speaker and lifelong learner. She is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) with the International Coach Federation and a Certified Organizational Coach (COC). Fawziah’s ethic of service is deeply rooted in her faith as an Ismaili Muslim, and grounded in relationships built on mutual respect. Fawziah hopes to bring about connection, growth, possibility and agency in her role as a coach in the community.


Vicki Wang is a dynamic community leader who loves food, learning and friendship. Vicki’s work supports peers at Kudoz, a platform for people to find meaningful connections with fellow humans. Vicki creates opportunities for those in her community and currently leads a team of moderators and supports them in facilitating group experiences. Vicki is an inspiration and a valuable co-producer in the launch of Curiko.


Fawziah and Vicki are collaborating on the launch of Curiko—a community of people with and without disabilities. Here, you can connect with your fellow humans. Add what you love. Discover new things about yourself, others, and the world around you. Help build a world where we all matter and belong. Curiko builds on the strong foundation created by the Kudoz community over the last seven years, which celebrates reflection, growth and transformative learning.


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.

In the news


Accessibility, technology and privacy


Closed captioning in English will be available at this event.

The event will be recorded, and a link to the captioned video recording will be emailed to all registrants after the event.

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

Registration and password

A link and password to access this online event will be emailed to all registrants via Eventbrite shortly before the event.

Technology requirements

To engage in this online event, you will need a computer (laptop or desktop), tablet or smartphone, with speakers or headphones. A microphone and/or a webcam are recommended if you would like to fully participate in the interactive portions of this event.

We recommend that you use a computer for the best experience of this event. Some interactivity and accessibility features are not available when using a smartphone or tablet.

Protecting your privacy

This event will be recorded, but only the speakers will be visible in the published recording. The recording will be shared with all registrants and published on SFU Public Square’s website, YouTube and social media channels.

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

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

To protect your own privacy:

  • We remind you that whatever you say during the event is public, 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:

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

If you have any questions about this event’s accessibility, technology requirements or privacy, please connect with us at

Community guidelines

Our community guidelines are intended to ensure the safety of all guest speakers and event participants, and to foster honest, socially accountable dialogue at our events. Thank you for respecting these guidelines!

  • Above all, there will be zero tolerance for those who promote violence or discrimination against others on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, or disability. Anyone who incites harm towards other participants (whether through chat, video, audio or otherwise) will be removed at the discretion of our technical team and moderator.
  • Don’t assume pronouns/gender/knowledge based on someone’s name or appearance. Please refer to people using the usernames and/or pronouns they provide.
  • Take space, make space: share your perspective, and make space for other voices to be heard too. Recognize that we are all here to learn.
  • Practice self-care in whatever way you need to. If you need to get up or take a break, please do so.