2018 Speakers

This is the updated list of exciting speakers for The 8th annual Toronto Disability Pride March coming up on September 22, 2018.

Sakoieta Wakathahionni

Presenting the Ohén:ton Karihwatéhkwen – Kanien’kéha/Mohawk Thanksgiving Address (The Opening Address; Address before all things).

Photo of Sakoieta Wakathahionni

Sakoieta’ Widrick comes originally from the Adirondack Mountains of Upper State, New York. He is of Mohawk ancestry. His clan is Okwaho (Wolf). He resides at Six Nations of the Grand River Iroquois Territory in Ontario with his partner D. “Tewentahawitha” Antone, Oneida Nation of the Thames, Turtle Clan.

He is a singer, dancer, educator, craftsperson, a teacher of Onkwehonwe culture, language, protocols and customs and a member of the Kanienkehá:ka Kanónh:ses Mohawk Longhouse at Six Nations Reserve, but follows Onkwehonweronon original tsi niionkwarihoten instructions.

Sakoieta’ is now semi-retired but worked as:

• Instructor – Wahta Kanienke’ha Language Program – Wahta Mohawk Territory, Bala, Ontario
• Teacher and Instructor of Iroquoian Studies and Mohawk Language at Brock University, Saint Catharines, Ontario
• Mohawk Traditional Spiritual Counselor and Healer using traditional Kanienkehá:ka (Mohawk) counseling methods, also sweats, fasting.
• Cultural Educator, Speaker, Counselor and Workshop Facilitator
• Traditionally trained Counselor on Grief, Death and Mourning, Relationships Traditional Medicine, Traditional Parenting, Traditional Pregnancies and Traditional Lifestyle, Traditional Learning Styles and Traditional Song and Dance
• Correctional Institution Elder at Milner Ridge Correctional, Portage la Prairie probationary Services, Portage la Prairie Correctional
• Chief Facilitator and Founder – Iroquois Peacemakers – Conflict Resolution Program utilizing traditional Iroquois methods And has worked as:
• Saho’ nikonri:io ne Men’s Traditional Counselor for Ganohkwasra Family Assault Support Services
• Regional Aboriginal Spiritual and Cultural Care Coordinator for Winnipeg Regional Health Authority – Aboriginal Health Services.

Sakoieta’s work has taken him across the United States and Canada and is focused on living and teaching a lifestyle, that is drug, alcohol, substance, and gambling free. He is devoted to family life, the pursuit of peace and recognizing the strength of prayer.

Sakoieta’ follows the traditional Kanienkehaka (Mohawk) lifestyle. He is an artist, craft worker, ritualist, singer, dancer, flutist, educator, healer, counselor, active gardener, and recognized writer.

He is an active participant at the Six Nations of the Grand River Mohawk Longhouse. His work is focused on keeping alive the rich cultural heritage of the Aboriginal people of Native North America (Turtle Island) and especially the culture and heritage of the (Iroquois) Rotinonsionni Longhouse People.

Sakoieta’ performs and teaches with the Native Wood Cedar Flute and has released the first of his works in a CD/cassette entitled, “By Sacred Waters”, which was nominated in 1995 Native American Music Awards. His second CD entitled, “Return to the Waters”, has been nominated in the: 2006-07 Indian Summer Music Awards 2006-07 Aboriginal People’s Choice Awards 2006-07 Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards 2007 Native American Music Awards. His third CD “Sacred Songs – Sacred Words”, has been nominated in the: 2007 Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Awards 2007 Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards.

Phone: 905.768.1146 Cell: 519/755-2312 Email: sakoieta@mohawkwolf.com

David Lepofsky

Picture of David Lepofsky

David Lepofsky is a visiting professor (part-time) at the Osgoode Hall Law School and an adjunct member of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. He holds volunteer leadership roles in the disability community. He is chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance. He is a member and past chair of the Toronto District School Board’s Special Education Advisory Committee.

Diem Lafortune 

Photo of Diem Lafortune  Diem Marchand-Lafortune's baby picture

Diem Marchand-Lafortune is a powerful Plains Cree Horizon-Dancer and Jewish Renaissance woman who describes herself as “Crewish”. Thirty three years of work on the legal issues related to forced relinquishments of newborns and their disappearance into the system via an inhumane adoption industry came to fruition with the release of Senator Eggleton’s report: This Shame is Ours Canada. Strong and accomplished in many areas – (award winning singer-songwriter, published poet and writer, Canada Council awarded photographer, and recognized activist and respected and feared advocate with a brilliant intersectionality analysis) – with her newly released vitality there is nothing that can stop her now. Check out Diem’s music at her soon to be updated website: www.horizondancer.com .

D!ONNE Renée

Picture of D!ONNE Renée

Advocate and Mayoral Candidate for Toronto’s 2018 election,

Working with Community to ensure that we feel like we all have the ability to live & thrive!

Accessibility is a right- not an option!

YouTube channel:  https://m.youtube.com/channel/UC9XNbVnMjlMgwaPgk3Z0zGw/videos

Twitter:  Vote D!ONNE Renée on Election Day! @OnElectionDay

Email:  mycity@torontomail.com

Other links & hashtags for more info:


#accessibilityNOW #ElectionTO

google: D!ONNE Renée
google: Vote D!ONNE Renée on Election Day
google: D!ONNE Renée + accessibility
google: D!ONNE Renée + Toronto Disability Pride March
google: Together we succeed!
google: #accessibilityNOW
google: #ElectionTO
Together we succeed!

White banner with Together we Succeed! written in green


Kaarina Wilson

Picture of Kaarina Wilson

Kaarina Wilson is a leader in chronic illness and chronic pain self management. She is a peer facilitator for both, as well as a master trainer in chronic pain self management, for Choose Health Toronto Central, hosted by South Riverdale Community Health Centre. She is also passionate about poverty and how it overlaps with chronic illness. She has been part of the City’s Poverty Reduction Strategy’s Lived Experience Advisory Group for the last two years.

Kevin Jackson

A picture of 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).

Martin Levine

Martin Levine is a survivor who endured over 20 years incarcerated in an institution for what was referred to as the “feeble-minded”. In 1952, at the tender age of 9 he was placed in the “Ontario Asylum for Idiots”, which was later to be called the Huronia Regional Centre. He was also part of the recent class-action law suit between institution survivors of Huronia and the provincial government. He has been a self-advocate and a leader in People First for over 35 years. People First is the only autonomous self-advocacy group for people labelled with an intellectual disability. Martin is currently the president of the People First Toronto chapter. He is also co-author of a academic paper that has just been published called “Self-Advocacy from the Ashes of the Institution” published in the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies.

Melissa Graham

Picture of Melissa Graham

Melissa 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 justice 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 elected as Vice President of Citizens with Disabilities Ontario in June 2017. She’s also been known to enjoy the occasional wheelchair bungee jump.

Odelia Bay 

Picture of Odelia Bay

Odelia is a lawyer, activist, academic, and mother with an episodic disability.
As a PhD student at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School (and a member of CUPE 3903), Odelia’s research focuses on how workers with episodic disabilities juggle the competing needs of self-care and employment and the role law plays in being able to find, or not find, that balance. Through her work, she hopes to highlight the value of experiential knowledge and create more space for conversations about fostering more inclusive and humane work environments.
Odelia also volunteers as a Head Marshal for the Toronto Disability Pride March.

Russell Rozinskis

Picture of Russell Rozinskis

A passionate mental heath advocate, Russell is currently working towards suicide prevention and self-harm reduction. He is working on his PhD in Critical Disability Studies at York University. This resulted in becoming more and more involved with the programs student association and larger York wide groups and politics. As is the case with many mad folk/people with mental health issues, everything comes second to mental health in yourself. Thus, he lives and breathes mental health in all aspects of his life.
While there is obvious drawbacks to living with mental health issues, there is a valuable insight that Russell is convinced has everything to do with his experience with mental health. His goal in life is to leave the world a better place than he found it. There is good in the world, but we can and should be doing better. He firmly believes every deserves a chance to the see the beauty of life and strives to find the good in people.

Sarah Jama

Picture of Sarah Jama Disability Justice Network of Ontario

Sarah Jama is a community organizer from Hamilton, Ontario. She is co-founder of the Disability Justice Network of Ontario (DJNO) and holds a Social Sciences degree from McMaster University. Her lived experiences have fostered interests and a passion for: community engagement, disability justice, and activism.

Sarah currently works at the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion as an Outreach Coordinator and is also a Community Engagement Liaison to Councillor Matthew Green at the City of Hamilton. In her spare time, she acts as a consultant, and is currently working with the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board to create anti-racism training and peer support based curriculum for students at the school board.


Please check in for updates as we get closer to march day, September 22nd.