Meet the Board Members and staff that makes up Pride Toronto. 

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Pride Toronto Staff

Sherwin Modeste (He/Him)

Executive Director
[email protected]

Bobby MacPherson (They/Them)

Director of Operations
[email protected]

Katherina Symes (She/Her)

Director of Development & Government Relations
[email protected]

Lee Hamilton (She/Her)

Programming & Events Manager
[email protected]

Laura Colonna (She/Her)

Production Manager
[email protected]

Nipuni Dhanawardan (She/Her)

Executive Assistant
[email protected]

Ajay Patel (He/Them)

Social Media & Graphic Design Coordinator
[email protected]

Jamie Nicholson (He/Them)

Arts & Culture Coordinator
[email protected]

Freya Selander (They/They)

Volunteer Coordinator
[email protected]

Mykel Hall (He/Him)

Programming Curator
[email protected]

Shayana Gayle (She/Her)

General Inquiries

Media Inquiries

Pride Toronto Board of Directors

To contact the Board of Directors, please email [email protected] 

Grant Gonzales

Grant is a government and stakeholder relations professional, with over 7 years of experience. He is a government relations manager at a non-profit association, and previously worked in stakeholder relations at an Ontario Government agency and as a government relations consultant.
 
As Co-Chair of Pride Toronto, Grant’s priorities include strategic planning, policy development and reviews, board management and coordination, engaging in meaningful advocacy, supporting year-round programming, and providing strategic advice to the Executive Director.
 
An active community member, Grant also serves as President of the Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood and Community Health Centre and Co-Founder of the Filipino Canadian Political Association, and is a 2021 CivicAction DiverseCity Fellow.
 
Grant participates in several 2SLGBTQ+ athletic leagues, including Downtown Dodgeball, Gay Ball Society, and the Toronto Gay Football League. He is dad to Miko, a Samoyed troublemaker.

Yuri Hernandez
Yuri got their introduction to Pride Toronto in 2018, when they were offered a Volunteer Team Lead Position for the Pride Parade. They began their life in Cuba and immigrated to Canada in their teens. Yuri identifies as Non Binary and is incredibly committed to advocating for any/all marginalized communities. With a background in Community & Corporate Engagement and a diploma in Family and Community Services; What stands out about Yuri, is their process driven nature and ability to lead and engage corporate and community groups.Their spare time is mostly spent outdoors, lots of dog time and anything that involves smashing the patriarchy. Yuri’s goal during their time on the board is to increase the diversity within Pride Toronto by bringing communities together through their lived experience as well as their professional background.

Sheldon Dixon

Sheldon Dixon p.k.a D!XON is a Queer multi-racial gender non-conforming recording artist. D!XON has many years of experience in arts, and entertainment as a singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, video producer, and show producer. D!XON was also born and raised in Toronto and has been invested in the Church and Wellesley community for 10+ years.

D!XON has over 10 years of experience in community recreation programming and community development. In 2019 D!XON created the first Drag Masterclass in North America through his position with the City of Toronto which provided free professional training to the LGBTQ2S+ youth with mentors such as Sofonda, Priyanka, and Hollywood Jade. This masterclass provided job opportunities to marginalized professionals from our very own Church and Wellesley area and it also created job opportunities for the participants in the Masterclass. D!XON also sits on the Confronting Anti-Black Racism (CABR) Committee with the City of Toronto and has provided countless training centred around CABR and LGBTQ2S+ rights.

D!XON’s mission with pride is to amplify the voices of our local queer recording artists, implement equitable programming with artists in all artistic disciplines, and also be a voice for the Black and Afro/Indo Caribbean community. D!XON hopes to bring positive changes to Pride Toronto through his experience in the arts, entertainment, community recreation programming, and community development.

Samantha Fraser
Samantha Fraser is a proud Bi+ femme community builder and Realtor, living in Toronto’s Junction Triangle. With 20 years experience working in interactive digital media, membership organizations, and non-profit event planning, her goal at Pride is to work hard to hopefully leave the organization better than she found it. Samantha is the founder and executive producer of Playground, an intersectional sexuality, gender, and wellness focused Toronto conference, founded in 2011 and attracting attendees from across the globe.

Born in England, she loves traveling, antiquing, watching horror movies and Star Trek, and deals with invisible disabilities daily. She lives with her two partners and multiple rescue cats.

When not helping clients fight against crooked landlords, decorating a house for sale, or working on her second book, you can find her dreaming of future projects on the Internet at 2 am when she probably should be sleeping.

Jad Jaber is a Queer Arab Immigrant: Jad has implemented a series of workshops through the 519, ASAAP, and Glad Day Toronto for marginalized immigrants focused on “Sensationalizing Queerness” and “Queer Immigrant Re-Generation”. Jad is the Founder of “Marginalized Majority”, a Non-Profit LGBTQIA2S+ community-led organization that focuses on social research for Marginalized queer people, and creating culturally-nuanced workshops and trainings on equity, diversity and inclusion. Jad is a Post doctorate researcher on Feminist Economics and has Ph. D. in Gender dynamics and queer behavior. Jad’s goals for Pride is to ensure the staffing, selection and equal treatment of BIPOC, Indigenous and Marginalized LGBTQIA2S+ folks on Pride’s Staff, Board, Member and volunteer collectives, and any other relevant stakeholders Pride works with.

LeZlie LEE KAM

I am a world majority, Brown, Trini, Carib, Indo, Chinese, callaloo, differently-abled, queer, DYKE elder/SENIOR, celebrating 45 years of community activism. I live and work from an anti-oppression, anti-racism, anti-colonialism, intergenerational and intersectional perspective. I sit on numerous community and government committees, representing the voices of 2SLGBTQI + SENIORS. I am a workshop facilitator, event organizer and network /community connector. I believe it is essential that queer youth and queer seniors work together to support each other, especially now,  during these very challenging times of the Covid pandemic. through collaboration, we can IMPROVE and SAVE our LIVES. my lived experience has shown me the importance of building grassroots community foundations. I enjoy doubles, dancing, dim sum, a cold beverage and a hot lime anytime, as my self-care. my EXISTENCE is my RESISTANCE!

Maher Sinno
Maher (ماهر) immigrated to Tkaronto in 2014 and has acquired a double major in Peace, Conflict & Justice studies & Theatre with a minor in Psychology. Through the research, Maher has centered decolonization & anti-oppression. Maher has since focused on their artistic journey, collaborating with organizations such as Buddies in Bad Times & Theatre Passe Muraille as an Outreach Coordinator. Maher currently works with ASAAP (Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention) and volunteers for ACT (AIDS Committee of Toronto) particularly in sexual health and harm reduction. Maher has served on the Collegium board for St Michael’s College as one of the first out queer & Arab members.  In 2016, Maher also served as a Peace Educator in a Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon. Currently, Maher is developing the Voices of Diversity poetry collective.
Maher’s priorities are to ensure sustainable equity and inclusion within Pride Toronto through more inclusive outreach, policies, language, & accountability procedures. Maher believes Pride Toronto as an organization needs to revisit its roots of being an advocate for those marginalized among us and provide safer and more intimate spaces for networking and healing.

Moka Dawkins

Moka is a Black & Indigenous racialized trans/2s freedom fighter, who experienced racial identity profiling, and transphobia by the Toronto police and Ontario’s provincial and federal judicial systems back in 2015. After nearly 5 years of incarcerated activism, Moka in her regained freedom continues to confront injustices and lack of civil protective legislations and it’s homogeneous effects for racialized gender and sexual differing identities. With current lgbtq2s+ societal & political issues of violence and murders on the rise, Moka’s target focus of educational awareness is furthering knowledge on positive integrated communications with the removal of exisiting predjudice relations towards black & lgbtq2s+ communities. Moka’s accomplishments include her 2018 advocacy for reformative policies within Ontario’s provincial correctional system towards equity policy on identity rights and access for trans peoples. Along with a 2020 “Person Of The Year” nomination with Inspired Awards. Currently Moka is in full time studies with Centennial College in the Community and Justice Services program. Moka is employed with Black Women In Motion as a Program Coodinator. Moka is also contracted part-time with Ryerson University as a Research and Development Specialist. Moka’s work resume excels with a Board of Director seat with Pride Toronto alongside starting her own not-for-profit & podcast T-Time Tips Productions which offers transitional health wellness and lifestyle advice to peoples undergoing hormonal therapy. T-Time Tips podcast is available exclusivly at www.t-timetips.ca. You can also catch more of Moka and some of her life experiences in her reality life and death documentary “Surviving The Block” which depicts the 2015 life and death stab attack and attempted murder violence Moka survived from while being accused of murder from the Toronto’s police services. Surviving the Block is now available on OUT T.V. Moka is available for panel bookings/ guest lecture presentations and protest speech bookings by emailing : [email protected]

Deidre “D-lishus” Walton
Deidre “d-lishus” Walton is a poet, playwright, and activist who stands proudly on the shoulders of her ancestors and other black feminist forces-to-be-reckoned-with. D-lishus works as an EDI and governance consultant with non-profit organizations in the arts, education, and health sectors.  d-lishus challenges white supremacist hetero-patriarchal notions with every breath and every poem, creates room for African indigenous knowledge and endarkened spiritualities with her plays, and opens room for queer/GNC/trans BIPOC folks with her activism. D-lishus uses her art practice to tell stories that centre on the lives of queer black women and reassert that we a run tings, fi real.

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