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Sandy Hudson

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Political Activist & Founder of the Black Lives Matter Movement Canada

In 2014, Black Lives Matter burst onto the Canadian political landscape with a mission to change the way people, politicians and institutions engaged with racism and anti-Black racism. Sandy’s fearless activism has shifted government, institutions, and inspired new approaches to social justice in Canada. Resolutely committed to principles of public service and community organizing, Sandy shows audiences how to creatively build mass audiences and support for social change.

Presentations

We Will Win: A Campaign Framework For Creating Social Change
Oftentimes, those who are best suited to design solutions for social issues are not in positions of power to do so. Organizations today need a sophisticated strategy in order to effectively influence decision-makers. In this presentation, Sandy uses her experiences as a student, labour and anti-racist organizer to show participants how they can meet their goals. Whether strategizing to change organizations, public policy or legislation, Sandy helps organizations to understand that change is possible and helps them to design a roadmap to achieve it.

Key Takeaways:
• How to engage via a vision 
• Collective and coalition change making 
• A strategic framework for planning campaigns.

Activating Anti-Racism
Racism is far more complex and pervasive a phenomenon than how it is commonly understood. This workshop is a comprehensive introduction to what racism is, how to recognize it, how it operates and how to actively address it in organizations and as individuals. Engaging in anti-racist work for over a 15 years, Sandy has developed a participatory teaching style using interactive activities, case studies, and audience participation to create the ideal atmosphere to learn about the difficult topic of racism. As an anti-racist scholar and activist, Sandy will also use first-person storytelling to engage participants to consider how they can shift into active anti-racist action throughout their lives.

Key Takeaways:
• An understanding of social location, power and privilege
• An understand what society constructs as “normal” and “other”
• How to critically reflect on media and cultural narratives about race

Breaking The Mold: Organizing From The Individual To The Infinite
If there’s one constant truth in the world of digital organizing, it’s that organizations struggle to meaningfully connect with their supporters. In engaging with new media as an approach to organizing, we cannot forget the fundamental peer-to-peer organizing skills we need to engage people in real life. We need to blow open our imaginations and find new ways to build real community as part of our work. In this keynote, Sandy explores what it means to break through to isolated communities.

Key Takeaways:
• One-on-one campaign organizing strategies
• Public speaking skills
• Crafting a compelling message for individual consumption

Designing Inclusive, Effective Meetings
The first step to almost any organizational initiative typically includes a meeting. In order to have an effective meeting, your participants need to feel prepared and included. Almost everyone has had the experience of attending a meeting that meanders or of being overwhelmed by rules of order. As an experienced facilitator, Sandy knows how to make meetings run smoothly, and to encourage every participant to feel prepared and supported. The goal of this workshop is to provide participants with effective strategies to ensure that meetings help the decision-making process and contribute to an effective organizational structure.

Key Takeaways:
• Engaging all participants
• Meeting preparation
• Rules of order

Platform Plus

Workshop | Understanding Anti Black Racism
This workshop will use interactive activities, case studies, a casual lecturing style and audience participation to create the ideal atmosphere to learn about the difficult topic of anti-Black racism. This workshop will be beneficial for participants with varying levels of understanding of anti-Black racism, and will be tailored to the experiences and expertise of the workshop participants. Key Takeaways: • How standpoints can affect what you know and how you observe. • How to tackle anti-Black racism at work & in your personal life.

Awards

2018
York University | Lincoln Alexander Award
2017
Post City Magazine | Toronto’s Most Inspiring Women
2016
n Toronto Life | 50 Most Influential Torontonias

  • Sandy Hudson is by far one of the most powerful speakers I have ever come across. She is able to unpack complex themes and ideas, is adaptive in her approach, and creates a narrative that leaves her audience spellbound. Drawing from both expertise and experience, she connects diaspora, feminism, racial justice and transformation in ways that connect across social locations.

    - Campaign Director, Color of Change
  • When Sandy Hudson speaks, people listen – she is genuine and powerful in relaying to others her extensive experience organizing and mobilizing. Hearing and learning from her is a great way to support and prepare folks to fight for justice in their communities.

    - President, CUPE Ontario
  • Sandy is an inspiring educator whom I've witnessed for years brilliantly move audiences to deepen their understanding of social justice and fuel their passion into taking action. She inspires courage in everyone that she meets. She's a strong, passionate and dynamic speaker who has consistently found ways to encourage and support diverse audiences to believe they can achieve the change they wish to see in the world.

    - National Women’s and Human Rights Representative, Canadian Labour Congress
  • Excellent speaker, workshop facilitator, and critical thinker. Sandra is a doer, action-oriented in her approach and has a way of bringing people back on the issues. A theory-practice fit advocate with a futuristic agenda.

    - Professor and Director of the Centre for Integrative Anti-Racism Studies, University of Toronto
  • Sandra is a natural leader and teacher, a passionate and articulate voice on some of the most important issues we face. She is a superb communicator, with a great gift for finding the common ground we need to make a better society. Hers is a voice for today, and for the future.

    - Producer, CBC Radio One

Summary Profile

When Sandy Hudson speaks, people listen. A dynamic and matter-of-fact communicator, Sandy has a unique ability to distill complex ideas into manageable, concepts for large audiences. Tackling a range of social justice issues from racism to feminism, Sandy is a natural thought-leader and has a gift for finding the common ground we need to make a better society.

A woman of boundless energy, Sandy is the founder of Black Lives Matter in Canada. She also sits on the Black Lives Matter Global Network Strategy Table, is Vice-Chair of the Black Legal Action Centre, is co-host of the Sandy and Nora Talk Politics podcast, is the Editor-in-Residence of Kalamazoo College’s Praxis Center for Social Justice, and regularly contributes to several major newspapers.

Sandy’s community organizing experience began as an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto. Unable to afford the expensive computer science program she was initially admitted to, Sandy turned to her students’ union, and joined the movement for accessible education. A charismatic leader, she quickly became the first Black woman to be elected president of the University of Toronto Students’ Union and subsequently the first Black woman to be elected Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students.

Sandy used these university experiences in building Black Lives Matter in Canada, one of the most impactful anti-racism organizations of our time. From its inception, Black Lives Matter in Canada has expressly challenged Canada’s perception of itself as free of anti-Black racism, shifted the ways in which anti-Blackness is considered and discussed culturally, and forced significant policy change.

Throughout her years of community organizing experience, Sandy has developed an approach for campaign-based organizing built on the belief that the most important step in a campaign is the belief that the goal can be achieved, and ordinary people can become the champions that achieve it. Even the most complex social issues facing our world today are surmountable. An audacious belief that what may seem impossible is achievable is the key to Sandy’s approach to social change. Leaving a trail of victories behind the organizations she works with, she works from a framework of possibility and hope.

Sandy is a refreshingly honest and engaging media communicator and passionate speaker. She has appeared in two documentaries, the New York Times, Toronto Star, CP24, Global News, the Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, and TVO.org among other newsmedia. Sandy’s published media work appears in FLARE magazine, the Washington Post, the Toronto Star, and Now Magazine, among others.

Sandy holds a Masters of Arts in Social Justice Education and uses the experience and knowledge she has gained through her community organizing to help organizations reach their goals all over North America.