Board Member – Priti Shah
As an Educator, Transformative Facilitator, Social Justice Activist, Feminist , Priti Gami Shah brings years of experience and insights to her advocacy work for equity, justice and peace. Her activism has been shaped and influenced by her upbringing in India and as a racialized immigrant in Canada. Much of her work focused on challenging systemic racism and approaches that negate immigrant. refugee and non status women's potential and experiences. This inspired her to be independent consultant and establish Drishti Consulting.
Over the last 30 years, she has been working with diverse non-profit organizations, public sector unions, governments, interfaith organizations, community advocacy groups and grass roots collectives.
She has created over 350 workshops/programs which challenge gender and racial inequality. She encourages organizations to practice intersectionality (understanding of how overlapping identities including race, class, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation impact the way oppression is experienced). She has designed local/international conferences focused on issues of social justice and racial inequality with unions and Interfaith Institutes.
In the early 1990s,Priti brought an anti-racist approach to her role as a leading member of the provincial Women’s Employment and Training Coalition (WETC)and as a member on the British Columbia Labour Force Development Board. For 6 years she coordinated a coalition of Internationally Educated Professionals called Capacity BC which advocated for changes in licensing and registration processes. In her work with the Interfaith Institute on Justice, Peace and Social Movements, she co-lead innovative projects with diverse interfaith groups One of the most significant partnership was with indigenous communities. This relationship led to the creation of the film "Hidden Legacies" directed by Anishinaabe filmmaker Lisa Jackson , which focused on the intergenerational impact of residential schools. Priti worked with indigenous teachers to design a school guide to support teachers in using the film in their classrooms. And has received very positive feedback. Another milestone of her interfaith work was to organize "Redistribution of Wealth" a International conference (Economic and Environmental justice from Indigenous and faith perspectives) She also recently worked as a facilitator and wrote a school guide for 'Jabber', a play which invites students to understand their own power when confronting stereotypes, racism and Islamophobia.
When 8,000 HEU health workers, mainly housekeepers lost their jobs due to privatization, her work was integral to the union’s multi-year Living Wage for Families campaign. . She supported housekeepers to tell their stories and speak publicly about the impact of the wage cuts on their families and communities and to join a very public living wage campaign designed to influence health authority decision makers.
She established a friendship centre in Coquitlam in 2009 called “Miracle Connection”; it is operated by volunteers, without public funding, to assist in the integration of Bhutanese and Syrian refugees. Miracle Connection is a student placement site for UBC, SFU and high schools. They engage with youths in various aspects of learning; academics, EAL, sports, public speaking civic engagement etc. She is also the cofounder of Pratham, a BC Foundation that supports a literacy program for street children in India and is spearheading a project with a NGO in India that rescues girls from sex trafficking towards liberation.
Her past 25 years experience came together with the creation of the Pathways to Leadership for Immigrant Women(PTL),a strength-based and holistic program model /curriculum grounded in an intersectionality approach which includes a self-directed civic engagement project. An evaluation by an academic team found PTL to be a transformational program. PTL is now being used by many non-profit agencies in Vancouver.
Recently she reclaimed her passion for Indian classical dance which she is inspired to create and engage communities in social justice movements.
She was the finalist for Provincial Nesika award (2016), BC Multiculturalism, Capacity Canada Excellence Award, CUPE recognition award for Human Rights conference, Pratham BC Appreciation award, Performing arts award. Her pursuit of justice and peace is her way of life.