2016 Speakers

This is the updated list of exciting speakers for 2016.

TDPM would like to welcome speaker David Lepofsky, Chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance and a member of the steering committee for Barrier-Free Canada.

We would also like to welcome Ing Wong-Ward. One of Ing’s many roles in the community includes her work with Project Value.

TDPM is also proud to have 2013 Canadian Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year nominee, Diem Lafortune as a speaker. In addition to being an accomplished artist, Diem is also a social justice activist.

Diem does not take life lying down. She’s a fighter, a champion, an activist & a believer in guardian angels. She’s also a singer/songwriter whose varied life experience – from cab driver, to actor, photographer, near politician & constitutional appellate lawyer – has provided a rich source for her powerful music.

Dorothy Ellen Palmer is a disabled senior and writer, active in the literary community on questions of diversity, inclusion, and accessibility. She’s the author of two novels with disabled protagonists: WHEN FENELON FALLS (Coach House, 2010) which was longlisted for the Relit Award, and KERFUFFLE, just completed. She’s a member of the Editorial Board of ROOM MAGAZINE, and will be editing a dedicated “Women and Disabilities” issue in 2018. She has also done Accessibility Consultancy work for her school board and teachers’union, and is currently liaising with writers events and organizations such as WOTS and TWUC. Dorothy is also proud to be Writer Partner with FOLD, the Festival of Literary Diversity and this May she appeared in what she believes to be the first literary panel at on “Disability and Inclusion.”

Kevin Jackson
Kevin is one of the key organizers of the Toronto Disability Pride March (TDPM). Formerly, Kevin has been the Vice-chair of the Ethno-Racial People with Disabilities Coalition of Ontario (ERDCO), board member of the Canadian Disability Studies Association (CDSA-ACEI), Chair of the Psychiatric Survivor Archives of Toronto (PSAT), member of the Lakeshore Asylum Cemetery Project (LACP), and a Mad Pride 2011 organizer. Kevin’s primary focus is on researching Mad people’s histories concealed within Ontario psychiatric institutions. He is a graduate of the Master’s degree program in Critical Disability Studies at York University (2016).

Melissa Graham
Melissa Graham is the founder and one of the key organizers for the Toronto Disability Pride March. Graham is an activist involved in disability issues throughout Ontario and other social justices concerns. She has written about disability issues in various publications as well as on her blog, “Sit Down, Fight Back”. Melissa served on the Disability, Access and Inclusion Advisory Committee for the City of Toronto from May 2012 to December 2015, and she was Secretary of Citizens with Disabilities Ontario from June 2007 to June 2012. She recently started a petition for more effective transparent procedures for transporting wheelchairs on Canadian flights and a presentation in Toronto in April 2016 on Disability Rights and Assisted Suicide. She’s also been known to enjoy the occasional wheelchair bungee jump.

Young Fairy: I’m a proud differently abled, mentally ill, low income Two Spirited Girl Youth Pagan and Buddhist of Ojibway, Irish and Scottish heritage. It’s important to me to rebel against ableism, mentalism, transphobia, homophobia, classism, colonialism and oppression against people who practice a tradition that’s different from society’s Christian British supremacist norms.

Please check in for updates as we get closer to march day, September 24th.