Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Years ago, one of my social media profiles read: “I lift heavy, run fast, write well and love hard”. That’s still an accurate summary of my sport and general interests. I grew up on team sports but as an adult have been drawn to power sports, competition and athletic training. I’m proud of the shiny collection of bodybuilding, powerlifting and indoor and outdoor masters track & field awards that I’ve earned, as well as being a top-ranked Canadian 100m and 200m sprint athlete, and 200m Finalist at the 2019 World Masters Athletics NACAC Championships in the women’s 40-44 age division. And in our one and only competition of 2020, my JamCan Athletics women’s relay team set a new Canadian 4 x 200m record in the W35 age category!
I also satisfy my love for competition through game shows and have attended and won one or two 😊. But more meaningful to me, are the rewards I get from serving the communities I belong to. What’s driving me more than ever is the desire to utilize the skills, confidence and network I’ve gained through sport participation to support the development and well-being of young Black and racialized girls specifically via education and sport.
What is something you have done outside of a sport you’re passionate about?
I’m passionate about the work I’ve done to investigate and shed light on the anti-Black racism students, staff and parents face in public education, and to advocate for racial equity in public education. As a founding member of the Queen Victoria Public School Black Student Success Committee (QVBSCC), I’ve seen parents organize to provide incredible community-led, culturally-relevant activities for families that’ve had a positive impact in many lives. I’ve also seen the powerful impact we’ve had in confronting oppressive policies and practices within the Toronto District School Board.
What skills did sport teach you to overcome challenges?
I’ve been reflecting on this quite a bit. Sport has taught me not to be afraid to fall, and to get back up when I do. It’s taught me how teams work together to overcome challenges but also the importance of self-determination. I’d learned how to lead, how to be coachable through challenges, how to perform under pressure, how to be both strategic and tactical. Also, how to use my voice and unapologetically take up space. These are skills I’ve applied to both personal and professional challenges.
What advice do you have for parents, coaches or sport administrators to improve inclusion in sport?
This is top of mind for me in my new role as Chair of Fast & Female’s Anti-Racism and Respect Committee – a Canadian charitable organization committed to keeping self-identified girls active in sport. Parents, coaches and sport administrators all have a role to play in creating safe spaces that prioritize well-being and value athletes as human beings, first and foremost.
I feel a great starting place is engaging and listening to the conversations that experts and athletes are having around homophobia, anti-Black racism, Islamophobia, Truth & Reconciliation, women’s health, etc. within and outside of the context of sport. We all have learning and unlearning to do in these regards. And when it comes to sport participation among young girls, research tells us that “having fun” is the number one motivating factor that attracts and keeps girls in sport. Parents, coaches and sport bodies must communicate and work collaboratively to create opportunities and improve conditions that allow athletes to show up authentically in all their intersecting identities, and to benefit wholly from the skill development, social connections and healthy competition that sport offers.
5 words that best describe me are:
CURIOUS | MULTI-PASSIONATE | AMBITIOUS | COMPASSIONATE | HOPEFUL
Photo Credit: Travis Rigby Photography