DIRECTOR OF ANCESTRAL SERVICES

CHANÈLE COUTURE

"Bonjour, je m'appelle Chanèle! I am a Canadian, bilingual, biracial woman of Ghanaian and Québécois descent born in Toronto, Ontario. I most often lead and contribute to contracts and services that center anti-racism, intersectional feminism, Blackness, and the law."

QUICK INFORMATION

HERE'S A QUICK OVERVIEW OF THEIR PROFILE.

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PRONOUNS

She / Her

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IDENTITIES

Biracial, Woman, Francophone, Canadian, Québécoise, Ghanaian, Youth

LOCATION

Outaouais (Ottawa, Ontario)

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LANGUAGE

French, English

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EXPERTISE

Anti-Racism, Law, Policy, Governance, Research, Anti-Black Racism, Systemic Racism, Disability Justice, Anti-Indigenous Racism, Afro-Futurism, Decolonized Engagement, Restorative Practice, Social Movement

PAST WORK

Law Student (J.D. Candidate), Teaching Assistant, Research Assistant, Legal Bilingual Communications Assistant, Co-President of the Black Law Students' Association at the University of Ottawa (All Current)

A SHORT BIOGRAPHY

SOME REASONS WHY THEY'RE ON OUR TEAM.

Chanèle is a Canadian, francophone, biracial woman of Ghanaian and Québécois descent. In 2018, she graduated from McGill University with a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Politics, Law & Society.

She is currently a second-year law student in the French Common Law Program at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law and the Co-President of the Black Law Students' Association at the University of Ottawa. She is also a research assistant whose work focuses on exploring the intersection between criminal law, immigration law, and racial profiling.

Furthermore, Chanèle has worked for McGill’s Social Equity and Diversity Education Office where she helped plan McGill’s second ever, month-long, university wide, official celebration of Black History Month. In this role she also engaged in various initiatives to help support marginalized communities. She also has an extensive background working with kids from all kinds of backgrounds through coaching soccer and running soccer pre-season training camps. Chanèle also has a lot of experience in leadership roles. She was the Vice President Communications of the Arts Undergraduate Society of McGill University where she had the chance to be the voice and represent the interests of the largest and most diverse faculty on campus. Chanèle is no stranger to public speaking. She has been a panelist for various events and has moderated events she has organized through her role with the Black Law Students’ Association.

Through her role as Co-President of the Black Law Student Association, she has been actively advocating for Black students at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law at the faculty level and has, with her team, organized and hosted various educational events such as Black Bodies and Anti-Black Racism with Dr. Charmaine Nelson, Dr. Hadiya Roderique,and Dr. Rachel Zellars and The Intersections of Blackness, Queerness and Activism with Desmond Cole and Reakash Walters.

INTERVIEW

BEYOND THE BIOGRAPHY Q+A.

Why do you do what you do?

In all of the work that I do, my priority is education through lived experiences. In my opinion humanity is key as it can encourage empathy, understanding and open mindedness. I ensure to center intersectionality and the liberation of Black and Indigenous community - which will inevitably lead to liberation for all POC. When approaching topics which touch on experiences or cultures which I have not experienced personally, it is important for me to give the (safe) space, compensation, and a platform to a BIPOC person that has lived experience and is well versed in the topic in question. Allowing people to tell their story is very important to me; the stories and histories of BIPOC people have been colonized, white washed, and retold in inaccurate and harmful ways for too long.

Creating opportunities specifically for BIPOC people is also important to me, for example through my role with BLSA we are hoping to create a scholarship for a Black and/or Indigenous, queer student in financial need. I've also created new positions on the BLSA executive team to give the chance for more students to get involved - more specifically Black Muslim and Black Indigenous students who aren't as visible in our communities. Lastly, advocacy is very important to me, whether it be through traditional activism or through attempting to work with and challenge people in positions in power to change the systems currently in place and to create space for equity and justice.

How does your lived experience and identity contribute to your qualification as a service deliverer?

As a biracial and francophone woman who grew up in predominantly white spaces - from my neighbourhood to my schools - I have faced discrimination for my race, my gender, and the language I chose to speak in various settings. I have often been in situations where I've needed to educate someone who has made an ignorant remark. I have both felt and witnessed the consequences of colonialism and systemic racism. Whether it be through job interviews, navigating a predominantly white and elitist University founded by a slave owner, or an interaction with an opinionated stranger, these experiences have pushed me to challenge racist and capitalist systems of oppression and white supremacy at every turn.

What does it mean to you to act as a future ancestor? 

Preserving the stories and traditions of our ancestors to pass them on to present and future generations. It also means preserving the planet, that is, preserving unceded lands and territories all over the world. It means ensuring we make the world better place for future generations to come while inspiring them to continue the work we are currently doing. It means leaving a (positive) mark while we can.

CONNECTING

THEIR WORK STATUS WILL GIVE YOU A GENERAL IDEA OF THEIR AVAILABILITY AND CAPACITY.

WORK STATUS

Accepting Contracts Part-Time

TIME ZONE

EST

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Photo by / par Larissa Crawford