It is my absolute pleasure and honour to be joining your ranks as the new Communications and Media lead! I had my first day on Monday, and I’m incredibly excited to get down to work.
I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself, and please don’t be a stranger! Reach out and say hi to me at email@example.com.
I have been an admirer and supporter of IJV since its inception, so it’s truly humbling for me to be at your service.
A little bit about myself:
I was born in Montreal’s vibrant Mile End, famous for its hipsters, Hasidim, and bagels (the first word I ever learned to say in my life was “bagel” – no joke! My mother can fact check this). I moved to Toronto early in my life, and got involved in social justice activism at a young age. I cut my teeth organizing as a teenager with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) and putting on anti-racist fundraising concerts at my high school.
I moved back to Montreal in 2002, where I have been located ever since. My activism against the US invasion of Iraq eventually led me to a broader awareness of Middle-East politics and Palestine solidarity organizing. Back around that time, I got involved in the Jewish Alliance Against the Occupation, and began attending their weekly pickets outside the Israeli consulate at the height of the Second Intifada. Some of my early mentors in the movement were powerful Jewish feminists like Lillian Robinson and Abby Lippman (I miss them both dearly. May their memory be for a blessing).
I have travelled to Israel and Palestine on two separate occasions. In 2005 I was in the West Bank as a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), and participated in non-violent direct actions against the occupation in Hebron, Bil’in and Tulkarm. Then, in 2008, I returned in my capacity as an independent journalist to cover the events around the 60th anniversary of the Nakba. During that visit, I did an internship with the International Middle East Media Centre in Beit Sahour, where I helped produced their weekly radio program and copy-edited articles on their website.
Back at home, I got involved with Israeli Apartheid Week, helping to organize some of the first IAW’s in Montreal. This helped us to lay the foundation for academic boycott campaigns at Concordia and Mcgill, and also helped us to mobilize the support of large portions of Quebec’s student movement, including ASSÉ (the first student union in Canada to endorse BDS).
My work in media has been mostly rooted in radio (my first true love) and podcasting, although I also love to write and produce video. I have an extensive history in community radio, having worked as the news director at CKUT radio in Montreal (90.3 FM), and having organized and attended several national community radio conferences. Earlier this year, I worked at CJAD AM 800 radio in Montreal (part of the Bell Media network), where I was an on-air news anchor, and also produced a national politics and culture show called Viewpoints. My freelance radio work has also been aired on CBC and NPR. If any IJV members would like my assistance in creating your own text, audio, or video blogs, I would love to assist you!
In recent years, I have worked closely with members of IJV-Montreal, in particular on mobilizations against the far-right in Quebec. While we are in a difficult period, particularly in Quebec with the passage of Bill 21 (banning religious symbols for public sector workers) and the aftermath of the Quebec City mosque shooting, I see hope everywhere. My hope is grounded in our capacity for solidarity-building among Jewish communities, Palestinians, Indigenous people, Muslims, Trans folks, Black communities, and anyone else targeted by the growing far-right and abusive state policies. Together, we are strong, and my goal in doing communications with IJV is to bring us all to the table in unity.
A few fun facts about me: I am a massive hockey fan (yes, a Habs fan through and through. Corey Balsam and I will likely bicker about the Senators, but rest assured it won’t lead to any splits in IJV). I play for fun in a rec league, and I also produce a podcast called Changing On The Fly, which looks at hockey through a feminist and anti-racist lens. Check it out!
I am also a music lover to the extreme, and that love extends to many genres: punk rock, reggae, hip-hop, jazz, soul, and of course, klezmer. I also produce a podcast called The Rebel Beat, which takes a deep dive into revolutionary music from around the world.
Other things I love: bagels (Montreal bagels are the best, NYC is a close second), sci-fi novels, learning about the histories of working-class anarchist and communist Jews, winter, and people who uncompromisingly fight the good fight.
Some of my goals in my position at IJV include improving our media presence on a national scale, broadening our reach on social media, and hopefully to build intersectional alliances between IJV and other groups fighting Islamophobia, climate change, and the fascist far-right. I’m looking forward to working with IJV volunteers from across the country, and especially the Communications Committee.
Please do get in touch with me! In particular I would love to know what you’ve been working on, and important events and happenings in your city. firstname.lastname@example.org