Community Advisory Panel
Meet the Panel
Rayon is a seasoned community development business professional, deeply driven by the holistic approach grounded in principles of empowerment, human rights, inclusion, social justice, self- determination and collective action. Currently, Rayon Brown is the Community Economic Development Director of Helping Neighbourhoods Implement Change - a non-profit organization deeply rooted in under serviced communities; to equip individuals with tools and resources; and build their capacity through training and mentorship.
Paula brings educational, research and media experience to the Community Advisory Panel. She is an educator who supports students through a critical and anti-oppressive lens. Paula is a doctoral student at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education/ University of Toronto. As well, she is pursuing a collaborative specialization in Ethnic and Pluralism Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.
Paula's research examines the academic aspirations of Black boys, and racialized students with special education needs, outcomes in Ontario K-12 schools.
Her research interests include leadership, equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Paula has experience as both an Associate Producer and Video Journalist with CNN and brings various volunteer and board experiences to the panel. She is the 2019 recipient of the Elementary Teachers of Toronto, Excellence in Teaching Equity Award. Paula operates on the premise that organic change flourishes from a strong community of risk-takers.
Dr. Ardavan Eizadirad
Ardavan is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University, an instructor in the School of Early Childhood Studies at Ryerson University, and in the Faculty of Social Work, Master of Teaching, and Bachelor of Education program at University of Toronto. He is an educator with the Toronto District School and author of Decolonizing Educational Assessment: Ontario Elementary Students and the EQAO.
Dr. Eizadirad is also the founder and Director of EDIcation Consulting offering equity, diversity, and inclusion training to organizations. Lastly, he is a basketball official with the Toronto Association of Basketball Officials and a community activist with non-profit organizations Youth Association for Academics, Athletics, and Character Education (YAAACE) in the Jane and Finch community, and a Board of Directors member for Amadeusz which provides educational programs and services for incarcerated youth and young adults.
She:kon; I am a Six Nations band member, living in Tkaronto for the past 7 years.
I have worked in the social services field for the past 15 years, with much of my work being done directly with the indigenous community. I have volunteered with both indigenous and non-indigenous agencies.
I bring experience from my work and my community, and I am passionate about the Race Based Data Collection project and the potential that it holds for future healing.
Dr. Sean Hillier
Sean is a queer Mi’kmaw scholar from the Qalipu First Nation. He is an assistant professor at the School of Health Policy & Management & Special Advisor to the Dean on Indigenous Resurgence in the Faculty of Health at York University. He is Co-Chair of the Working Group on Anti-Black and Anti-Indigenous Racism in the Faculty of Health and the Chair of the Indigenous Council at York University.
Dr. Hillier’s collaborative community based research program spans the topics of aging, living with HIV and other infectious diseases, and antimicrobial resistance, all with a concerted focus on policy affecting health care access for Indigenous Peoples in Canada. He continues to work in the area of HIV research and is an Investigator with the CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network. Sean is also a Principal Investigator, Investigator and Executive Team member on various projects related to equity and diversity, funded by CIHR and SSHRC.
Robb works in program development and public health policy consultation with Fred Victor in Toronto, co-chairs the St. James Town Service Providers’ Network, sits on the advisory council for the Arthur Sommer Rotenberg Suicide & Depression Studies Program at St. Michael’s Hospital, and is an Adjunct Lecturer at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto. He was Executive Director of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU), the organization responsible for opening InSite, North America’s first supervised injection facility. Robb coordinated Justice Studies at the Native Education Centre (NEC) and taught in the School of Criminology and Department of Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University.
Haris leads the application of evidence-based methodologies to address complex program and policy challenges at the Government of Canada's Treasury Board Secretariat. In his time in both the private and public sectors, Haris been both a user and designer of identity-based data systems. As a user, he has leveraged race-based data in order to inform policy advice on key files, including in the areas of social benefit uptake and criminal justice. Haris has also helped lead the modernization of the federal government's employment equity data system to be more accurate, efficient and equitable. Haris holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a Master of Public Policy, both from the University of Toronto.
Apondi J. Odhiambo
Apondi is a Senior Epidemiologist with the Public Health Agency of Canada. She is also a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Toronto, Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Apondi holds a Master of Law (LLM) specializing in Health Law from Osgoode Hall Law School, a Master of Science in Psychology. Her research program area is grounded on over 15 years of research and development. Apondi is an innovator in using intersectional, anti-colonial, critical race theoretical insights and materialist research strategies to develop and implement research to understand health systems, social justice, health equity, access and the social determinants of health. Apondi has been passionate about engaging in projects that advocate for social justice, health equity, human rights and anti-Black racism.
Reyhana is the Head of Communications and Government Relations at the international NGO Islamic Relief Canada. Reyhana has a background in policy development and analysis, communications, and journalism. She is a former BBC News Journalist and specializes in advocating for change in civil society and minority communities on issues around gender-based violence, racism, and women's rights.
Gerald Mak is currently a Strategy Manager within the Ontario Public Service (Crown Agency). Prior to joining the OPS, Gerald has worked in various financial and professional institutions with roles in risk, communications and technology. With over 15 years in community service, Gerald currently serves as a board member on the Children Aid’s Society of Toronto and as a committee member with Hospice Toronto, Catherine Donnelly Foundation, and the University Health Network. He has received several awards for his community work, including the Prime Minister’s Canada Volunteer Awards, Governor General’s Sovereign Medal for Volunteers, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and Ontario’s June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award for Voluntarism. Gerald holds a Commerce degree from the Ted Rogers School of Management - Ryerson University, an Executive Master’s degree in Communications from McMaster University and various education modules at the Queen's School of Business and the University of Toronto.
Patrick, BMath, CHRP, is an Analytics Lead at the Ministry of Labour in the Government of Ontario. He has been in data and research roles since 2016 in justice, public safety and enforcement sectors, including with the Ministry of the Attorney General and their bail action plan. Patrick is engaged with a constellation of community organizations for queer advocacy and labour relations. He serves on the Community Advisory Board for the University of Toronto's Geography of Sex Research Study and as the Chair of the LGBTQ+ Caucus at AMAPCEO. He is also involved with the AIDS Committee of Toronto, the University of Toronto's CRUISElab, and the Ontario Science Centre's International Day of LGBT in STEM.
Patrick holds a mathematics degree from the University of Waterloo and the Certified Human Resources Professional designation from the Human Resources Professional Association. As an interdisciplinary mathematician in the public sector, Patrick knows that meaningful data is instrumental in understanding our populations and systems and as a vehicle of change for equity, diversity and inclusion.
Nate has been a resident of Scarborough for all of his life and is actively involved in the community. Through his lived experiences, he hopes to bring a different perspective to the Community Advisory Panel that will help shape future interactions and relationships with Toronto’s Black Community. He is currently employed by the Federal Public Service and is a member of many different panels and working groups designed to dismantle racism and aid in the recruitment, retention and advancement of racially visible persons within the Federal Public Service. Nate holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Political Science and Sociology from the University of Western Ontario and also graduated from the Toronto Police Community Police Academy in 2019 where he was selected as class valedictorian.
Michael is a community development worker and equity and human rights advocate now serving as a Coordinator with Colour of Poverty - Colour of Change – the racial justice education and advocacy network in Ontario.
Michael has worked in a number of capacities with several newcomer settlement and refugee advocacy groups and organizations over many years, as well as being active in a broad spectrum of equity, human rights and racial justice advocacy efforts and community-based campaigns. He was the Coordinator (for its first five years) of the National Anti-Racism Council of Canada - NARCC (2001-2006).
Dr. Sara K. Thompson
Dr. Sara K. Thompson is a Professor in the Department of Criminology, Ryerson University, and Associate Director of the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society (TSAS). Her recent and ongoing research focuses on urban violence; push, pull and protective factors associated with violent offending; and the implementation and evaluation of violence prevention policy and programming. Thompson has presented on her research at a range of domestic and international academic and practitioner conferences and has briefed high level government and police officials on issues related to urban violence, terrorism/violent extremism, and program evaluation.