Marwo Abdi, Support Coordinator
Marwo Abdi is an Eastern African woman. She was born in Somalia and grew up in a refugee camp in Kenya. She has been an uninvited visitor living on the territory of the Lekwungen and WSÁNEĆ peoples for almost ten years. After living in a refugee camp for many years she was able to receive a scholarship to the University of Victoria where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology. While living in the refugee camp Marwo did extensive advocacy work around gender-based violence and girl’s access to education. Marwo is passionate about social justice issues facing us in today’s world. She is extremely excited about being the Support Coordinator at the Anti-Violence Project and doing work around gender based violence and supporting survivors and people who have caused harm, while creating communities of care and consent.
Kemi Craig, Outreach Coordinator
Kemi is a cisgender woman of African descent raised in the Cherokee and Catawba territories (aka North and South Carolina). She has been an uninvited guest in Lekwungen and W̱ŚANÉC territories since 2002 working with artist-run centres and advocacy groups such as CineVic, the Students of Colour Collective, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, and CFUV Radio. Kemi has an extensive background in using media art and movement as tools for promoting social justice, with a lens on gender and racialization. Kemi is excited to be working with AVP and is dedicated to building relationships through community events!
Paloma Ponti, Education Coordinator
Born and raised on the territory of the Lekwungen and WSÁNEĆ peoples, Paloma is a cisgender settler woman. As a white presenting person of “mixed-race”, Paloma often struggles to locate herself while both acknowledging her Colombian roots and her own white privilege, and is consistently deepening her learning about this. Paloma began working on sexualized violence prevention at age 15 as a member of Project Respect’s Youth Social Action Team and Hollaback! Victoria, BC. She continues to expand her understanding of systems of oppression as a UVic Gender Studies and Social Justice Studies student and now in her work at AVP. She is constantly inspired by the strong feminists in her life including her rad grandmother who taught the first Women’s Studies course at UVic in the 1970s. When not swamped by work and school, Paloma loves weaving, knitting and attempting to play the ukulele.
Serena Bhandar, Community Relations Coordinator
Serena currently lives, works and writes on unceded Lekwungen, W̱SÁNEĆ and Esquimalt territories. As a mixed-race Punjabi Sikh/Welsh/Irish woman, and genderfluid and panromantic femme, she draws much of her creative power and fortitude from the unwavering ambiguity of her intersections. Her arts degree at UVic specialized in fiction and professional communication, among other subjects, and she can often be found musing at the worlds captured in a puddle’s reflection, with words in her heart and a wish on her lips. In addition to working with a number of social justice organizations in town, she previously moonlighted as a technical writer and website designer for government. On that note, please let her know if you have any questions about navigating bureaucracies and the corporate world, either on campus or beyond it. She can most easily be reached by messenger owl, or failing that, by email.
Alexia Manchon, Volunteer Organizer
Alexia (she/her) is a white cisgender settler woman of Catalan, Spanish, Scottish and Eastern European descent. Born in France, she was raised in Toronto on lands under the Dish With One Spoon Treaty – a Treaty between the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas and Haudenosaunee. After spending five years on Kanien’kehá:ka territory known as Montreal and one year living in the Inuit community of Ivujivik in Nunavik (located in northern Quebec), she arrived to Lekwungen and W̱ŚANÉC territories in August 2019 to attend the University of Victoria. Alexia is studying Canadian common law and Indigenous Legal Orders in the joint JD/JID program. She is grateful to be a part of AVP to continue working on facilitation and support skills she learned while running anti-oppression workshops for students in residence at McGill University. When not in school or working, she is organizing to support Indigenous sovereignty actions in Victoria.
Quin Djurickovic, Facilitator & Writer
Quin is a violence prevention worker at Peers Victoria and has been doing community organizing for seven years. They have a Bachelor of Physical Health & Education from Queen’s University and have been volunteering with AVP since the fall of 2016. Quin is into sunny days, jean vests, herbal tea, and heart to heart conversations.
Yasmine has lived as an uninvited settler on Kanien’kehá:ka and Siksika territories, before moving to territory of the Lekwungen and WSÁNEĆ peoples to study Political Science at the University of Victoria. Yasmine is a program assistant at the Centre for Asia Pacific Initiatives. She has worked abroad in a refugee support centre in Malaysia. She has an honours degree in in Political Science and wrote a thesis on asylum-seekers, state-violence, human “illegality” and resistance. She is a cisgender able-bodied woman. As a “mixed race,” first-generation North American from Arab and European heritage, she continues to learn to acknowledge her white privilege, self-locate, and balance her identity within and without these various cultural contexts. Yasmine began volunteering with the AVP in the fall of 2016 in the hopes of learning about and contributing to communities and relationships of care and support.
Brydon is a graduate student in political science with a focus on cultural, social, political thought. Brydon was the Director at Large on the University of Victoria Student Society’s Board of Directors. While involved with student leadership he was a co-chair with the Let’s Get Consensual Consensual campaign and Brydon has been attending and participating on the Men’s Circle for three years. Brydon is a cisgender straight white settler man with able-bodied privilege. Born and raised on Nakoda territory, Brydon moved to Lkwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ territory to attend university at UVic in 2011.
Esther has been an uninvited settler on the lands of the Lekwungen and WSÁNEĆ peoples for 13 years. She has an honours degree in philosophy from the University of Victoria. She began volunteering with AVP in the fall of 2017. Since she started facilitating workshops with AVP, Esther has learned so much about consent, support, and oppressive systems, and hopes to continue to have the opportunity to chat with various folks about these topics.