Tell us about yourself.
I’m from Scarborough, Ontario. I did my Bachelors degree in Criminology and Justice, followed by a Masters in Criminology. Ontario Tech, where I graduated from, definitely integrated experiential learning into their curriculum. I took part in a practicum placement at a criminal defence firm in Oshawa where I had a chance to shadow associate lawyers at the firm. I got to view cases and accompany them to courts, but it was kind of bittersweet. I began to realize that the people who would come in and out of the office tended to fall under a certain demographic either racially or socio-economically. I realized how systemic racism played a role in letting certain people down, not protecting certain communities and giving them the resources needed in order to achieve social mobility. Because of this, a lot of these people end up cycling through the criminal justice system and committing recidivism. It was these realizations from my experiences that sparked my interest to advocate for disenfranchised communities.
During my Masters, my cohort participated in the peer to peer Facebook digital challenge which required university students to work together on an international level to create a campaign that combated hate speech. We founded the Embrace Immigrants campaign which was designed to tackle anti-immigration hate speech. We set up information booths on campus, encouraging those who were first or second generation Canadians or immigrants themselves to tell their stories. The campaign was meant to bolster their voices and replace historically unfounded stereotypes with the actual truth of the community.
What area of law would you like to practice?
I have a strong interest in business law. Specifically, I’d like to help historically disenfranchised groups achieve social mobility. There is a huge disparity between the disenfranchised and the privileged. A huge component of this is a lack of resources. There hasn't been a generational trickle down of knowledge on how to found or govern a strong business. My goal is to practice in an area where I can provide legal advice to these specific communities and provide them with the legal advice they need to ensure their businesses are successful.
Why did you choose Ryerson Law?
Ryerson Law appreciates the fact that there are people in society that have not been given the same resources as others. They want to equip their students with the knowledge to address very nuanced legal issues within these communities. Their curriculum is equipping students with cultural and emotional intelligence that will assist in the legal expertise needed to cater to disadvantaged communities.
What do you hope to accomplish with your J.D.?
I want to even the playing field. I want to provide resources for people to achieve social mobility and provide legal advice to those who don't have the financial means to obtain good counsel and, as a result, have faced the brunt of their disenfranchised status.
As a part of the inaugural cohort of Ryerson Law, what are you most looking forward to?
I'm definitely looking forward to helping structure a program that disrupts what traditional legal education looks like. I want to contribute to dealing with racial issues that have been completely skated around through my involvement with the Black Law Students’ Association (BLSA). Within the BLSA, we hope that the issues of the Black community and racialized communities are at the forefront because of the systemic racism they have faced for so long. As a new law school, I believe that Ryerson will definitely take heed to a new perspective in law and design a curriculum that addresses and brings these issues to the forefront. The program is founded on a pillar of diversity and inclusion which shows me that they are willing to make a difference and consider a broader range of voices than those that have been traditionally heard.