Meet the TFAC Co-Chair candidates!

The TFAC logo, a graphic image of a black cat

The TFAC logo, a graphic image of a black cat

Items in this post: 

  • Next TFAC meeting
  • Meeting agenda
  • TFAC Co-Chair candidates’ statements

Next TFAC meeting

The next meeting of the Trans Feminist Action Caucus (TFAC) will take place on Monday, February 23 from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. in 311B Student Centre. We will be electing our next TFAC Co-Chairs at this meeting. All trans, woman identified, gender queer and gender variant members of CUPE 3903 are eligible to vote. Political members are also eligible to vote. Voting will continue in 311B Student Centre until 5:00 p.m.

Meeting agenda

  1. Introductions
  2. Reading of Equality Statement & Mississauga Land Acknowledgement
  3. Approval of agenda
  4. Candidates’ statements
  5. Voting begins
  6. Sexual Assault Policy & TFAC Support Squad
  7. Free to Pee campaign
  8. TFAC’s role in strike support
  9. TFAC budget request for 2015-16

TFAC Co-Chair candidates’ statements

From the TFAC Election Officer, Sara Shamdani:

As promised, here are your candidates (in alphabetical order) for the two positions of TFAC Co-Chairs and their statements, if sent:

Cakmak, Gizem (Unit 1, Sociology)

  • My name is Gizem, I’m a third year Ph.D. in Sociology. The reasons I am running for TFAC co-chair are multiple. My research revolves around the feminist political economy of work. For 4 years, I’ve been involved in organizing feminist action groups in labour politics and social movement unionism. I’ve been attending TFAC meetings regularly for the past year and helped organize events – such as Free to Pee, Trans Day of Remembrance, and Montreal Massacre Vigil – and also have been internally serving as pro-tem TFAC co-chair. My immediate projects for TFAC focus on ensuring increased participation and encouraging greater access to union spaces for female and trans identified members of our union who feel unsafe: by actively advocating for creating definitive language in our bylaws to devise protocol around sexual harassment. As an international student and a racialized female identified member of CUPE 3903, I am proud to say that I’ve been heavily involved in mobilization, and outreach in our local. Currently I’m also a very active member around bargaining, and I have taken on tasks in several subcommittees on strike policy preparation, and organizing creative political action. I hope you vote for me. I look forward to participating together!

Erlich, Shay (Unit 3, Social Work)

  • My name is Shay Erlich and I’m running for the Trans Feminist Action Committee Co-Chair position. I am currently a Masters of Social Work student. As a genderqueer, queer, hard of hearing, disabled person I have strong views on what creating inclusive equitable spaces within our union and York as a whole should look like. I envision a community where marginalized people are heard and valued for the unique views that they bring to the table rather than being seen as a liability. I believe that as a union we should be asking ourselves where are the voices that we are not hearing, and critically examine our own actions to bring as many people as we can to the table. I come to this position with a long record of grassroots and union activism. During my undergraduate degree I was involved in the Ryerson Student Union RyeAccess group including being part of the planning committee for the Reclaiming Our Bodies and Minds Conference (A radical disability conference). I have also been a long time editor, writer and blogger for Shameless Magazine. I believe that my combination of professional and lived experience would make me a great TFAC co-chair this year.

Fallis, Melanie (Unit 1, Social Work)

  • I am running for the TFAC co-chair position as I am eager to work towards making CUPE 3903 spaces safer and more accessible. I believe it is very important that we work to ensure all members feel comfortable attending meetings and events. We do this by promoting an atmosphere of respect and full acceptance for all members. Issues of discrimination are complicated and the many different forms of oppression intersect in a way that creates complex challenges. To face these challenges, to address these complex situations, we need thoughtful and carefully considered but courageous responses. We must not be afraid to call out sexism and racism, but we must always do this work with compassion and respect. One particular issue that is of special interest to me is discrimination based on size. This affects female-identified persons more than men in our fat-phobic culture. Size is a factor in hiring practices and although it is as visible as race, colour, age, etc., it is dismissed as being simply a health issue rather than a systemic, patriarchal, fear-mongering tool of oppression. This is something that I would like to see TFAC address over the next year.

Hashi, Halimo (Unit 3, Social Work)

  • I would like to run for the TFAC co-chair position. I am excited and eager to help create a safe and inclusive CUPE 3903. Having experienced the effects of discrimination and racism first hand, I am committed to challenging oppressive attitudes and forms of interaction. I think it is important for CUPE 3903 to be a place where all are welcome, and where democracy and egalitarianism trump bullying and disrespect. As such, I would like to contribute my efforts to addressing inequalities and increasing accessibility in our CUPE local.

Hillman, Megan (Unit 2)

  • I am a Unit 2 member of 3903 and I have been TFAC Co-Chair for the past year. I would really value the opportunity to be TFAC Co-Chair for another term! In the past year, I have helped TFAC to: feed York at Tabouleh with TFAC, help organize the Trans Day of Remembrance and the December 6 event, start working on the Free to Pee Campaign, work towards an anti-oppressive Take Back the Night Event at York, begin the Radical Knitting Group and develop a support flying squad that can help support TFAC members in a variety of ways. This coming year I would like to help TFAC develop a member-to-member mediation protocol and to fight for a strong sexual assault policy at York and within our union. I would also like to help TFAC create more spaces for community. We need to connect with each other and discuss our experiences and our ideas: having regular TFAC drop in spaces that are less formal than meetings would help facilitate this. I would be honoured if you would vote for me so that I can continue the work of keeping TFAC autonomous, and awesome, and an activist space.

Rajabi Paak, Mina (Unit 1, Humanities)

  • As a long-term HIV/AIDS activist with a fair share of experience and knowledge of civil Feminist movements and organizational work, I believe I can be of help to our caucus, particularly at this critical point, when our caucus is becoming more and more isolated due to a series of unfortunate events. I believe this is the time for us to empower ourselves by reaching out to our membership and starting to re-build the broken bridges to be able to create a dialogue and become an effective part of the conversation in our union. Thus If elected, my initial courses of action would be threefold: (a) Renegotiating the relationship between TFAC and the other committees within our union; (b) Proposing a more organized structure for TFAC that enables better membership participation and a more transparent and communicative approach; (c) Forming an outreach campaign to create awareness for our caucus and get more members actively involved. I maintain that if we take these initial steps, our caucus will have all it needs to advance its objectives, make the voice of its members not only heard but honoured and regarded, and become a productive platform for activism within our campus and beyond.

Wallis, Maria (Unit 2)

  • My Ph.D. is in Sociology where I examined systemic racism in Canada. My union experience:
    • 2014-15: I have been actively involved in working with others to mobilize the different stakeholders on campus to get the “Task Force on Racism@York” off the ground. We have created a subcommittee within CUPE 3903 to focus on this mobilizing work. I am tired of this not being a priority on the Executive. If elected, this will be my priority.
    • 2014-15: I have actively tried to create programs that will be an alternative way Unit 2 members can develop professionally. I have been discussing the creation of a contract faculty mentorship program with a number of stakeholders. There is interest in some departments, and with some faculty in YUFA. I will make this another priority. I see these measures as parallel measures to increase our members’ quality of life while we battle for equity lens and equity proposals in bargaining.
    • On the Executive as Unit 2 Chief Steward (2010-11)
    • Grievance Officer (2011-12)
    • Member of the Unit 2 Research Grants Committee (2010-11)
    • Member of the Labour-Management Committee (2010-11)
    • The Race LMC (2010-2011) (We really tried to get this off the ground – says something about management’s political will.)

(Note from the Election Officer, Sara Shamdani: The rest of this candidate’s statement was omitted due to word length restrictions for each statement.)

Please note that all your candidates will be present (either physically or via other communication devices) on Monday, February 23 from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. in 311B Student Centre to address your questions and concerns.

Come out, meet these wonderful people and VOTE!

Sara Shamdani
Election Officer
Trans Feminist Action Caucus