Summit 2021 is just around the corner (Oct. 27-29), and CBRC is excited to have such a stellar group of keynote speakers for this year’s conference on the theme of Disrupt and Reconstruct. Joining us over the three days will be Jack Saddleback, jaye simpson, Florence Ashley, Francisco Ibáñez-Carrasco, Kai Cheng Thom, and Rinaldo Walcott. Learn more about their talks, below.
Growing up queer, trans, and Indigenous in Saskatoon, Jack Saddleback was a target of the taunts and bullying that so many queer and trans teens experience every day. His Indigenous roots were a source of strength as he worked to overcome severe depression after years of social pressure to conform. A proud, Indigenous man, his voice gives hope and inspiration to people experiencing LGBT-based bullying, mental health struggles related to gender identity, and other forms of prejudice. If anyone knows about resilience, about coming back stronger, Jack does. His presentation, Mamiskow: Finding a Way for Two-Spirit Resiliency, takes place on Wednesday, Oct. 27 at 10 a.m. PDT.
jaye simpson is an Oji-Cree Saulteaux poet, writer, and storyteller from the Sapotaweyak Cree Nation. An Indigenous trans woman, their first collection of poetry, it was never going to be okay, was published in 2020. Reminiscent of the Beat poets, their work is autobiographical and explores themes of growing up in foster care, queerness, sexuality, trauma, and healing. jaye spent 16 years in care and wants to see queer and trans youth in care – and from care – connect with the support and resources they need to safely heal and self-actualize. Their presentation, Let Me Speak: Providing Safe LGBTQ2+ Resources for Youth in and from Care, will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 27 at 11:45 a.m. PDT.
Florence Ashley was the first openly transfeminine clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada. They are currently completing a joint doctoral program in law and bioethics at the University of Toronto. Florence writes about a wide range of issues facing trans people, with a focus on trans conversion practices and approaches to trans care for youth. They are concerned that “conversion therapy” and anti-trans rhetoric are making an insidious comeback under the guise of protecting youth. Florence exposes the myths that anti-trans movements use, and the harm that “conversion therapy” is doing to trans youth. Their presentation, The Resurgence of Trans Conversion Practices, will take place on Thursday, Oct. 28 at 9 a.m. PDT.
Having witnessed the news of a “rare cancer” affecting gay men in New York and California in 1981 and then, decades later, reports of a deadly virus in Wuhan, China in 2019, Francisco Ibáñez-Carrasco has seen the ways history repeats itself. He was diagnosed with HIV in 1985, shortly after emigrating to Canada from Chile. His is a unique voice that staunchly rejects mainstream society’s attempts to stereotype, shame, and stigmatize queer and poz people. He is a professor at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health and a member of The Canada-International HIV and Rehabilitation Research Collaborative. His presentation, The Normal that Never Was, will take place on Thursday, Oct. 28 at 1 p.m. PDT.
Kai Cheng Thom
Writer, social worker, healer, and somatic coach Kai Cheng Thom’s work explores the roots of conflict. Referencing the Loving Justice framework that she developed, she examines the topics of transformative justice, prison abolition, trauma-informed activism, and building queer and trans futures. In the current climate of social unrest, punitive justice, and cancel culture, she has been focusing on the ways that trauma prevents people from building loving relationships, which in turn stops activist movements from creating sustainable change. Kai Cheng draws from trauma theory, queer history, transformative justice, and Buddhist spirituality to provide us with frameworks and strategies to understand and respond to conflict. Her presentation, Choosing Love at the End of the World: Social Collapse, Conflict Resolution, and Queer Resilience, will take place on Friday, Oct. 29 at 9 a.m. PDT.
Perhaps most well known as a Black studies professor, author, and speaker, Rinaldo Walcott’s areas of study also include queer theory and gender theory, transnational culture, and the ACB diaspora. His body of work has helped redefine common understandings of anti-Black racism. He is the author of several books, including two published earlier this year: On Property: Policing, Prisons, and the Call for Abolition and The Long Emancipation: Moving Toward Black Freedom. He asks us to consider what kinds of values will be required for us to transform the present world into the future we know we need. His presentation, Present. Future. Values, will take place on Friday, Oct 29 at 1 p.m. PDT.
Click here to learn more about Summit 2021: Disrupt and Reconstruct (Oct. 27-29, 2021).