Whitby-based Regional anti-racism task force adds five new faces


Published February 10, 2023 at 2:20 pm

Durham Region’s Anti-Racism Taskforce has added a few new faces to the team to kick off their next year of work.

According to the Region, the Taskforce is set to work on “developing and implementing strategies to address racism—structural, systemic and interpersonal—within communities across the region.”

To accomplish this goal, the Taskforce advises the Region’s council and staff on anti-racism practices. According to Durham the task force, founded in 2021, works to “identify systemic issues related to anti-racism and equity, review the impact of equity-related policies, programs, and decisions, and collaborate with local service providers and institutions.”

The returning members of the Taskforce are;

  • Shauna Bookal, Executive Director of Field Hockey Ontario
  • Trynée Hancock, an Intercultural Relations student with a background in non-profit work
  • Jeany Munawa, a Certified Disability Management Professional, who worked on reform measures with Toronto Police
  • Channon Oyeniran, Vice-President of Ontario Black History Society, who is pursuing her Ph.D. at Queen’s University
  • Kevin Vieneer, a Cadet Instructor Cadre Officer with the Canadian Forces and member of Diversity and Inclusion Council at a large telecom company.
  • Jacqueline Williamson, of The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, a registered nurse and Durham College nursing faculty, and
  • Gail Wilson-Beier, an educator currently pursuing a doctorate in cultural diversity

They are joined by three new citizen members including;

  • Ruvette Coelho, a medical radiation therapist at the Durham Regional Cancer Centre described as “passionate about social justice, health care and education”, who has “dedicated most of her adult life learning about how to further these causes.”
  • Akuah Frempong, A health-care administrator who works toward a healthcare system that “acknowledges and incorporates an individual’s intersectionality for more holistic, accessible and client-centered care,” and
  • Robert Orlando Pule, A clergyman and Indigenous New Zealander of Samoan and Tongan descent who is “deeply interested in serving the community.”

Additionally, the Region appointed two people to represent local industry and associations namely;

  • Susan Byrne, Vice-President of Bawaajigewin Aboriginal Community Circle and community social service worker, and
  • Brianna Nelson, Founder and Executive Director of Womxn of Colour Durham Collective a grassroots youth-led community organization

They joined the current industry representatives;

  • Pita-Garth Case , Executive Director of DurhamOne, a local non-profit, and
  • Nikhila Samuel, Director Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at Durham College

“Regional Council is proud to support the important work being accomplished by the Durham Region Anti-Racism Taskforce, ” said Durham Regional Chair John Henry, “As part of our larger Anti-Racism Framework, this Taskforce contributes to address racism in all its forms. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the community and fostering a more inclusive and equitable region for everyone.”

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