Rise Vancouver

Meet our Spring 2020 Ambassadors

Alistair Virgo 

I’m your local queer non-binary Virgo/Virgo/Aquarius entity where my Aquarius Rising ruins my perfect virgo balance with absolute chaotic-good mage energy. Professional artist, connoisseur of vintage aspic foods, and avid fan of jazz and disco. 

Plainly said, I was bored and angry about the misinformation, isolation and apathy that seemed to seep into everyday life. RISE was introduced to me at a time when I had lost my way and I had no outlet for all this pent up passion and drive to do something impactful.

Reach out to me on Insta:

Alyana Lalani

Bookworm, vegetarian, mental health advocate, hockey lover (Go Canucks Go!).  What keeps me busy is reading all the books I can get my hands on (especially mystery), sleeping, and taking care of adorable floofy dogs (best job ever). 

I love the concept of RISE because it combines education, conversation, mentorship, and action. I am excited to take a more proactive approach in creating the changes that I want to happen in my community.

Informing and engaging other youth is a huge goal for me. Change can’t and won’t happen unless everyone is involved and making an effort.

Reach out to me on Insta:

Angie Tang 

I am a little fishie finding my way in this vast ocean. Exploring what this body means to me and the cultures I belong to, learning how to honour people and spaces, art-making with friends, and building relationships fill my being. What keeps me busy? Sketching people and dogs, asking my plants some good ol’ existential questions, paddling, coaching teams and youngins how to paddle, work and art school.

I was seeking out a community, especially one with driven youth who wanted to create social, even systemic, change. I want to co-create a space where people can feel held and supported (also I’d like to find ways to use art and our beings as resistance).

Reach out to me on Insta:

Anna Zhu

I am excited to meet passionate people around my age that I can connect with over shared values, perspectives, and interests. I am also looking forward to creating something that will leave a positive impact on the community. 

Dinushi Wickrama 

I’m super excited to meet like minded people to create/learn.

Dorine Akwiri

An issue I care about is gender equality particularly the active recognition of gender in all its intersectionality. 

I want to meet other young passionate people and get more involved in my community.

Hanna Araza 

Coffee, community organizing, digital design, writing, travelling, scooping ice cream, deep conversations, a perpetual tourist in my own city. Right now, what keeps me busy are equal parts of university and seeking out new ways to mobilize the potential of people around important issues. 

I joined RISE because someone once told me, “Don’t go to modes of resistance and fight it. Go to sites of change and support it.” I admire that RISE encourages people to care, make waves in their community, and that it intentionally centers youth at the site of change.


Phoebe Chih 

I’m a gender, race, sexuality and social justice student at UBC which pretty much takes up most of my time, but I also sell glasses part-time and I love spending time with my dog cheeto, my friends, making art (recently rediscovered the art of collaging, I really recommend it), and honestly my hour-long commute to and from school.

I chose RISE because I was very drawn to the topic of gender equality since my own gender is something that I am constantly aware of, and it’s something that impacts my life both personally and systemically. I wanted the opportunity to work with a group of like-minded people that are all passionate in making a change, and to hear their stories as well as share my own, and collectively create more accessible and safe spaces. 

Reach out to me on Insta:

Sara Eftekhar

I am a perinatal nurse at UBC working on the first study for women who are survivors of domestic violence. I work as a Youth Leader with the City of West Vancouver & host workshops with the Students Commission of Canada helping create Canada’s first ever youth policies. I have represented Canada at the United Nations. 

I was drawn to the RISE program becauseI am passionate about achieving gender equity and learning more about what gender equality means to different individuals. As a nurse working in women’s health and as a young woman of color, I believe I understand many of the barriers women face in our society. 

Reach out to me on Twitter:

Sushmitha Karunakaran

Optimist, morning person, STEM professional. My days are filled with my work in potable water services, thinking about human-centred design, writing, making art, seeking stronger connections in my community, cooking vegetarian food, yoga, meaningful conversations, solo travelling, and reading books on the beach. 

I wanted to join RISE to connect with other youth in my community, so that we could work together to better understand the needs, gaps, and opportunities for change.  I’m interested in seeing how gender intersects with other factors such as class, race/ethnicity, background, etc, especially within the local context of Vancouver.


“Bloom” is a community-based zine created for QTBIPOC youth around race and gender expression and creativity in however many ways this may be defined by each individual.

Follow their journey on Insta: @aisbrise_vbc

Project Coordinator: Miley Leong (She/Her)

"What I love about RISE is that the program uses a critical lens in doing youth engagement work. I love that RISE acknowledges the structural and systemic barriers that prevent different youth from accessing engagement processes. I’m inspired by how RISE centers community and those at the margins. I’m looking forward to witnessing the relationships that are built and projects that come out of the program!"

Meet the Vancouver Mentors


Emmanuela Droko

Emmanuela Droko, of the Ma’di and Acholi, came as a refugee to the unceded territories of the Coast Salish people. This fact informs everything she does and fuels the work she partakes in - namely through community-oriented facilitation and LGBT2QIA+ and BIWOC centered organizing. Her community work addresses the need for intersectional advocacy and focuses on the ways marginalized bodies are oppressed and how we can protect ourselves.

This is something she’s been able to navigate during the program, as VanRISE has centered the lived experiences of Indigenous and racialized communities and she hopes to continue to add to the ever-growing community AisB has created. She hopes to bring dialogue and an abundant thirst for knowledge to RISE, and to continue to learn from the amazing ambassadors.

Reach out to her on Insta:


Stevie Thompson

Stevie is both Cree-Métis from the Michel First Nation and of mixed settler ancestry. They currently live, learn, and work on the traditional, stolen territory of the   Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), and kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem) Nations in ‘Burnaby’. Stevie aims to create space for marginalized voices in their work and daily life. They are excited to have the opportunity to support youth in their learning and community engagement through Vancouver RISE. They hope to provide insight and support within RISE, drawing on their experience working with LGBTQ2SIA+ and BIPOC youth. They look forward to learning and growing in this role. 

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