About BLAC

Our Staff

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Moya Teklu

Executive Director and General Counsel

Moya Teklu is the Executive Director and General Counsel of the Black Legal Action Centre (BLAC).
Moya has a long history of working to combat anti-Black racism in the justice system. At Legal Aid Ontario (LAO), Moya developed a plan that resulted in the delivery of clinic law services to hundreds of Black Ontarians; helped bring together and provided staff support to the inaugural board of BLAC; and authored LAO’s Racialized Communities Strategy.

Moya has delivered anti-racism training to hundreds of judges, justices of the peace, lawyers, regulators, adjudicators, and educators across the country. In 2019 and 2020, she was an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.

Moya has participated in proceedings before the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court, and the United Nations.

She graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 2009 and was called to the Bar in 2010.

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Nana Yanful

Legal Director (On Leave)

Nana Yanful is BLAC’s Legal Director, deeply committed to community and legal work related to anti-Black racism, human rights, and anti-discrimination. As a graduate of the University of Toronto and the University of Windsor, Faculty of Law, Nana received various awards including the Honourable Julius Alexander Isaac Scholarship, the Stitt Feld Handy Social Justice Fellowship, and the Lerners Cup Finalist & Top Oralist award.

Nana completed her articles at the Superior Court of Justice as a Judicial Law Clerk and was called to the Bar in 2014. Nana practiced criminal defence law at Simcoe Chambers in Toronto, appearing before all levels of court in Ontario. 

Her writing on equity, policing and the trust-deficit has appeared in the anthology, Subdivided: City-Building in an Age of Hyper-Diversity, For The Defence, Spacing Magazine and elsewhere. Nana is also a board member of Women’s Health in Women’s Hands Community Health Centre.

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Lesa Francis

Office Manager

Lesa Francis is the Office Manager at BLAC responsible for day-to-day administration and human resources. She is committed to working with dynamic staff, students and volunteers to carry out BLAC’s mandate to combat anti-Black racism in Ontario. 

Over the past 20 years, Lesa has worked as a Law Clerk for personal injury, family law and estate law firms in Toronto and as a Provincial Program Coordinator and Administrator for multiple specialty legal clinics in Ontario. As an Entrepreneur, Lesa also operates a Grant Writing Consulting company specializing in acquiring diverse funding for local and international artists, as well as grassroots, medium sized and national non-profit organizations. As an author, Lesa has also published literature on topics related to the Black Feminist Theory, Critical Race Theory, Black motherhood and families, and Anti-Black Racism.

Lesa holds a Law Clerk Diploma from Centennial College and a Diploma (Hons.) in Business Administration from the Toronto School of Business.

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Fareeda Adam

Staff Lawyer

Fareeda Adam is a Staff Lawyer at the Black Legal Action Centre (BLAC). She is a graduate of McMaster University and the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law.

After graduating law school, Fareeda articled at a criminal defence law firm. Fareeda continued to work in this field after being called to the bar of Ontario in 2015. She has worked for Legal Aid Ontario in various capacities, dealing with low-income Ontarians in both the family and criminal law context. Fareeda has developed a particular interest in the intersections of youth criminal justice and child protection law, human rights and police accountability.

Since beginning her legal career, Fareeda has learned of the importance of naming anti-Black racism and using a critical race framework to meaningfully understand the interactions Black people have with legal institutions.

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Piera Savage

Staff Lawyer

Piera Savage is a staff lawyer at BLAC. She is committed to working towards racial equity by advocating for our clients and breaking down systemic barriers to equality. She began working in the clinic system prior to her call to the bar in 2016, starting at Parkdale Community Legal Services in the Social Assistance Violence and Health division, and then expanding her practice to housing, immigration and employment law as an articling student. Piera then worked at West Scarborough Community Legal Services for four years with a focus on Housing, Social Assistance, and Immigration law. 

At BLAC, Piera continues her work by representing individuals at the Landlord and Tenant Board, Human Rights Tribunal, and Social Benefits Tribunal. She approaches her work from an anti-racist, anti-oppressive, and trauma-informed lens. 

Piera is a graduate of Concordia University and Osgoode Hall Law School. Outside of work, Piera loves to sing, cook, and write. 

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Melissa Azore

Intake Coordinator

Melissa is proud to work for BLAC, where her lens on social justice can be put to good use. She is deeply passionate about all facets of promoting equity and challenging the intricate web of oppression faced by many around her, particularly as they relate to misogynoir. 

Melissa has worked for nearly two decades providing administrative support to high-functioning teams in organizations and multiple sectors in Toronto. For the past several years, she has worked in disability justice and is excited to bring this experience to BLAC. She has also explored her many other interests over the years, including working in Brazil for a period of time teaching English. In addition to her work with BLAC, she devotes some of her time to using her training as a doula to support Black birthers and performing as a talented vocalist. 

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Khaldah Salih

Community Legal Worker

Khaldah Salih is a Community Legal Worker, she works to ensure members of the Black community across Ontario have access to BLAC’s services and to legal information related to anti-Black racism. Khaldah facilitates BLAC’s community outreach and partnerships, conducts Public Legal Education sessions and coordinates BLAC’s communications. Khaldah is motivated to combat anti-Black racism within Ontario and across borders, while centering the experiences and needs of Black communities.

As an independent researcher, Khaldah has explored issues of surveillance and state violence as related to activism. She has worked in several humanitarian and development organizations in Khartoum, Sudan, including as a Protection Assistant at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) where she was a caseworker with refugees and asylum seekers. Most recently, Khaldah was a Project Coordinator at the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA), working on housing rights policy and coordinating youth programming.

Khaldah Salih holds a Bachelor’s degree from McGill University in Political Science and International Development, and a Master’s degree from the University of British Columbia in Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice.

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Sade Makinde

Community Legal Worker

Sade is committed to furthering her goal of curtailing systemic discrimination for marginalized populations— specifically anti-Black individual and systemic racism, through awareness and advocacy. Sade has worked as organizer and workshop director for several conferences and keynote speaker functions across North America, including Power Networking Conference, and the Toronto Women’s Expo.

Most recently, Sade worked as an Administrative Assistant for an advocacy-based non-profit law firm in Toronto, where she provided research, litigation, and administrative support. Sade has taken part in a number of advocacy efforts, including an array of research focus groups and events such as the HIV Legal Network’s “Chill and Chat”, a yearly Caribbean fundraiser.

Sade holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law and Legal Studies, and studied Communications at Carleton University. Following university, throughout her career as well as in her spare time, she loves to participate and educate herself on matters pertaining to social justice and human rights.

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Jody Yaa Dunn

Provincial Anti-Black Racism & Justice Programs Manager

As the School-to-Prison Pipeline Project Manager, Jody is responsible for leading a team focused on combating anti-Black racism within the education and justice systems. Jody is motivated to address these disparities due to the visible inequities that Black youth continue to face. She believes that policy reform and culturally responsive engagement can shift educational outcomes for students across Ontario and beyond.

With a wealth of experience in team management and developing culturally relevant program models, Jody has held positions within youth justice, and educational environments. Prior to her current position at BLAC, Jody was the Justice Program Manager at Peacebuilders Canada.

Jody obtained a diploma in Early Childhood Education and then went on to pursue a BA degree in Psychology at Trent University with a Minor in Women’s Studies. Jody has specialized training in Afrocentric program design and Restorative Justice practices, facilitates international training sessions and mentors others in the field of youth justice.

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Tiffany Taylor

Provincial Anti-Black Racism Community Engagement Coordinator

Tiffany Taylor is a passionate advocate for social justice and advancing the rights of vulnerable people in communities. She is committed to advocating for change in our justice and education systems for Black youth and families. Tiffany is thrilled to work with BLAC as the Provincial Anti-Black Racism Community Engagement Coordinator for the school-to-prison pipeline initiative. From her frontline experience in the field, she recognizes the importance of engaging with, and supporting Black families, educators, and justice stakeholders in making systems better for individuals to navigate.

Tiffany has a double BA (Hons.) in Law and Society and Human Rights and Equity Studies from York University, along with a graduate certificate in Youth Justice and Interventions from Durham College. She has worked with Children and Family Support Services, Associated Youth Services of Peel, Youth at Risk Development Program with John Howard Society of Hamilton, and more recently, Peacebuilders Canada.

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Arllene Williams

MSW Placement Student

Arllene Williams is Black Legal Action Centre’s (BLAC) MSW Placement Student. Arllene is passionate about advocating for the rights and needs of the most vulnerable in Toronto’s urban communities. She is excited to work at an organization that vigorously combats anti-Black racism in Ontario.

Arllene graduated from the University of Western Ontario with Honours in a Bachelor of Arts, specializing in Social Justice and Peace and majoring in Political Science. Arllene is currently studying for her Masters of Social Work at the University of Windsor. Arllene has worked at The Scott Mission as a Community Engagement Coordinator, supporting families and children by encouraging community growth and promoting community well-being.

In her spare time, Arllene enjoys baking, travelling and spending time with family and friends.

 

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Ashley Ash

Community Development & Policy Advisor, Collective of Child Welfare Survivors

Ashley is one of the co creators of CCWS. Ashley Ash is Indian and spent the first 12 years of her life with the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto before being made a Crown Ward. Shortly after she went through a racial displacement through adoption into a white family. Ashley’s advocacy focuses on troubling adoption as a finish line for the child welfare experience.  Ashley spoke at numerous speaking engagements to young people involved in adoption, adoptive parents, adoption workers, social workers and lawyers and judges involved in child welfare.

She currently holds a Bachelor of Social Work from X University and is a Juris Doctor Candidate at the University of Windsor, Faculty of Law. The summer prior to entering the law program Ashley worked as a Social Worker with Justice for Children and Youth.  Ashley also worked at various organizations such as the Office of the Ontario Child Advocate and she is also a national-award winning writer who uses her prose to communicate the messages important to her and her community.

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Josh lamers

Executive Lead, Collective of Child Welfare Survivors

Josh is one of the co-creators of CCWS. Josh is a Black queer organizer, activist, law student, and child welfare survivor/abolitionist. Josh spent the first 3.5 years of his life in and out of foster care in rural Ontario until experiencing further racial displacement in adoption to a white home in another predominantly white rural town.

Josh’s community and academic work centres the intersections of Blackness, Disability and madness, child welfare survivorship, queerness and transness. Josh is the co-creator of various Black radical spaces that organize against antiBlack racism in institutions like post-secondary education. Josh’s award-winning research centres the abolition of child welfare through the experiences of Black child welfare survivors and families. Josh has his Bachelor and Master of Social Work from X University, and is currently a Juris Doctor Candidate at University of Windsor in his final year.

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Rachelle Metatawabin

Case & Community Development Manager, Collective of Child Welfare Survivors

Rachelle Metatawabin is a Cree mother from Treaty 9 and lives with her daughter on the unceded, unsurrendered Territory of the Anishinaabe Algonquin Nations/Ottawa. Rachelle is a social justice advocate and child welfare survivor who aged out of Ottawa’s Children’s Aid Society in 2009. Rachelle firmly believes in developing a society and institutions that ensure  people and communities can access resources to thrive with dignity.

Rachelle currently sits on the Indigenous Inclusion and Symposium Planning committee with the Adoption Council of Canada and is a member of the National Advisory Council on Poverty and National Housing Council. Rachelle also works part-time as an Associate with YellowTree Grant Writing Services. Rachelle worked across several organizations addressing child welfare and other social issues, such as YouthREX, Parkdale Food Centre, and the Office of the Ontario Child Advocate to develop Katelynn’s Principles Act.