Debbie Owusu-Akyeeah (she/her) is a 25 year-old Ghanaian-Canadian Black feminist and womanist. She has a B.A in Women’s and Gender Studies with double minors in African Studies and Political Science. She is in the final year of her master’s degree at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA) majoring in International Development Policy. Her research focuses on remittances and return migration of Ghanaians in Canada approaching retirement age. Debbie recently completed an eight-month long tenure as Oxfam Canada’s Youth and Community Outreach Officer (YACOO) where she oversaw the advocacy engagement of thousands of Oxfam advocates across the country. She came to Oxfam with over 7 years’ experience in coordinating volunteers and public engagement. Currently, Debbie is the Vice President Operations and former President/CEO of the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) at Carleton University.
On top of being a graduate student and Oxfam advocate, Debbie works as a sex-educator at Venus Envy Ottawa. Her approach to sex-education is centred on queer women’s diverse reproductive health. She has presented numerous workshops on sexual health and hopes to create new ones that focus on decolonizing sex-education for Black people and newcomers. Debbie centres intersectionality in her leadership and community work including her work on the Ottawa Dyke March organizing committee. She has worked as the programming coordinator for the CUSA Womyn’s Centre where her passion for Black feminism and peer support enabled her to connect with numerous communities in the Carleton and Ottawa community. During her time here, she created nuanced programming including the implementation of free pregnancy tests, Femme Talks, and Black HERstory Month to name a few. In 2017, Debbie was a recipient of a Femmy Award – an award to honour local feminist change-makers in the Ottawa-Gatineau region.
She is most passionate about social change and using various education techniques to inform the public on political issues. As someone with a passion for anti-oppression and international development, Debbie has a strong devotion to grassroots development and working with diaspora groups to inform change in their home communities.
Chris Ramsaroop is an organizer with Justicia for Migrant Workers and co-chair of the Asian Canadian Labour Alliance. At the University of Toronto, Chris obtained a triple major in Peace and Conflict Studies, Political Science, Caribbean Studies and a minor in South Asian Studies. He also has a masters in Sociology and Equity Studies and is currently working on his doctorate in the department of social justice. While at U of T, Chris was active in the Arts and Science Students Union and OPIRG an went on to be president of both the Students Administrative Council and the Association of Part time Undergraduate Students as well as being a member of the University Governing Council. While in university Chris founded the activist organization Justicia for Migrant Workers and as part of this work undertaken a series of initiatives to raise awareness of issues facing migrant workers in Canada. Chris has written several opinion pieces for the Toronto Star and other newspapers across Ontario. The Globe and Mail described him as one of the top 53 influential people in Canadian food.