Together We Rise Logo

Together We Rise!

Black Justice

Despite human rights being protected by federal, provincial and territorial laws, racist and discriminatory stereotypes about people of African Descent permeate contemporary society and disproportionally impact the social, economic, educational, and health outcomes of Black men, women and children. Whether they are descendants of those who were enslaved or recent immigrants, people of African Descent are united by a shared, lived experience with anti-Black racism. It is within this tension that the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic launched Together We Rise!
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  • Co-chair of the Human Rights and Equity advisory committee with the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board.
  • Hamilton Education Law program in partnership with the charitable organisation Empowerment Squared for youth and parents to learn about their rights and responsibilities regarding suspensions, expulsions, special education, right to attend school, bullying & harassment.
  • Recently TWR – SEE started the Black Lunch Network program. Sessions are open to agencies, associations and community members who provide services to the Black community in Hamilton to network and foster relationship.

Objectives of Together We Rise!

  • To work to combat individual and systemic Anti-Black racism by providing a range of clinic law services;
  • To collaborate with community organizations and agencies that serve people of African descent (PAD) to build relationships and trust;
  • To provide culturally competent clinic law services to Black/African-Canadian/PAD clients;
  • To foster and improve co-ordination and integration with the other legal aid services in Hamilton and across all elements of the justice sector.
  • To facilitate access to justice for people who identify as being of African descent in the Hamilton community and increase use of Clinic services by members of the community.

Bilingual Black Justice Coordinator: Mouna Bile. Contact Mouna at the clinic to learn more.

Advisory Committee (AC): A community Advisory Committee with representatives of the diversity within the African diaspora guides the work of TWR.

Andy Ganza

Andy Ganza

Andy was born in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo and moved to Canada 23 years ago with his family. He is part of the Rwandan-Canadian Community of Hamilton Association, where he previously held the role of Coordinator in charge of Youth & Sports for 7 years. He is happy to be a member of the (newly) formed “Together We Rise” Advisory Committee, an initiative of the Black community of Hamilton.

Celeste Licorish

Celeste Licorish

Celeste holds a BA in Philosophy from McMaster University. She is a passionate advocator and community organizer. Her passion for helping those in need shift attitudes in others while discovering themselves through stories has made her a sought after speaker and presenter in Ontario and the US. Her most recent presentation was a TedX talk in Hamilton Celeste believes the words of John Quincy Adams who says; “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more or become more, you are a leader”

Erika Alexander

Erika Alexander

Erika Alexander is a 4th generational born-Hamiltonian, with a background in political science, religious studies, and traditional holistic medicine; and is an advocate for her familial legacy & the Canadian Black Indigenous community.

sandy Bell

Sandi Bell

Sandi Bell is a former Canadian Human Rights Commissioner. She is a mediator and Restorative Justice practitioner. She has dedicated her life to advocating for anti-racism, anti-oppression and anti-discrimination for people from marginalized communities. Sandi has proven her dedication to the community over the past 20 plus years having served as Chair of ARCH, Chair of Hamilton Community Legal Clinic, and Co-Chair of the Provincial Learning Advisory Committee. She is currently Immediate Past Chair of HCLC and a board member of ISAC and ARCH.

Eugene Nshimiyimana

Eugène Nshimiyimana

Is an Associate Professor of French at McMaster University where he chairs the department of French. He previously taught French language and Francophone literatures and cinema at Queen’s University (2005-2009). His research focuses on discourse analysis, memory, genocide and trauma while his teaching interests embrace French language, Fran-cophone literatures/cinema (African and Caribbean), and literary theory. He is the author of Mémocriture: les enjeux oppositionnels de l’écriture chez Sony Labou Tansi (2010) and has published numerous articles and book chapters.

Kojo Damptey

Kojo Damptey

Is a musician/scholar-practitioner born and raised in Ghana, and moved to Canada for school in 2001. He went to McMaster University and completed a degree in Chemical Engineering. For the past ten years he has been advocating for equity in the arts in Hamilton. He is currently the Program Manager at the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion.

Lily Tekle

Lily Tekle

Is a staff lawyer at the Hamilton Refugee Law Office with Legal Aid Ontario. Lily represents refugee claimants and permanent residents before the Immigration Division, Refugee Protection Division, Immigration Appeal Division, Refugee Appeal Division and Federal Court of Canada. She was born in Asmara, Eritrea and immigrated to Hamilton, Canada with her family in July 1989. She was called to the Ontario bar in June 2010 and her legal practice has primarily focused on access to justice issues for the most marginalized members of our community.

Mbuso Dandato

Has worked in the social service sector for over 15 years.
Currently, he works for Goodwill Career Centres as a Site Coordinator / Career Development Specialist. He has been involved in the Hamilton immigrant community for over 8 years as a member of the Immigration Partnership Council Employment and Language Committee.

Novelette Gordon

Is an alumna of the University of Windsor, Bachelor of Arts, 2006 and Bachelor of Education 2012. Over the past few years, she taught English and Drama in England and China, educating the next generation on an international level. She enjoys volunteering, coaching youth sports and hopes to make the next step in her filmmaking journey by producing her first feature. She is also working towards completing her Master of Education. Novelette is excited to be volunteering with the HCLC.

Suad Badri

Suad Badri was born in Sudan, moved to Hamilton in 2014 as a refugee; and worked as an ESL instructor. Suad is an academic researcher on Environmental Studies, with a focus on Sustainable Energy. Her heart is in social justice/community development; and finds her peace in exploring African Folk Art.

anne patenaude

Anne Patenaude

Born and raised in Hamilton, Anne Patenaude-Dlugosz is very proud to be part of the Board of directors for the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic.

After high school, Anne left Hamilton to pursue her studies in French at the University of Ottawa. After teacher’s college, she had the pleasure of teaching in french for many years in various colleges, high schools and elementary schools in various cities in Ontario.

During her teaching career, she was an active member of the executive committee for AEFO,(Association des Enseignants et des Enseignantes Franco Ontariens de l’Ontario.),  the teachers union.  She was also president of the advisory committee for women in Leadership (CCLF) at the provincial level. She continued this passionate work by representing the French association at a national level for the Canadian Teacher’s Federation.

Now, she’s very happy to be back home, retired, with her family and fellow Hamiltonians.

Terry Allan

Terry Allen

Terry was born in London, England, of Jamaican heritage. He moved to Hamilton, Ontario in his teens, and continues to reside in the city. He is a retired Hamilton Police officer, who worked in a variety of roles within the Service, but the most rewarding he feels, was working with Youth. He was a School Liaison Officer at both the elementary and high school levels, working with students, their parents and the Administration of Public, Catholic and Private school Boards. He was a Youth Worker at the Arrell Youth Centre in Hamilton. He is a past Mentor with the Liberty For Youth Program. Terry currently works as a Facilitator with the John Howard Society, in the Restorative Justice Program, providing restorative justice services and training for educators and private corporations. Terry is excited to be a part of this committee