One cold January day in 2015, I was at Mondetta’s head office—where I worked for Mondetta Charity Foundation— when I received word that Roméo Dallaire was speaking at the University of Manitoba that afternoon! How had I missed hearing about this?!? I’ve read his book, Shake Hands with the Devil, several times (it’s a must-read) and he definitely makes my top three for longstanding human rights role models. I was unable to rearrange my work day, so, I instead lamented the fact that he was in Winnipeg and I was not there to fangirl in his presence.
The very next day, I received notice from the Winnipeg Foundation that my application for an Emerging Leaders’ Fellowship to create a central human rights website had been successful!
Major FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)
See, this wasn’t the first time I had missed out on an event. Throughout my studies at the University of Winnipeg, I noticed that I was frequently hearing about events after they happened. Or sometimes, I’d go to an event and tell my friends about it the next day, and they’d say they wished they knew about it beforehand. As a university student studying human rights and international development, I considered myself somewhat in the social justice loop—so if I was missing out on events, there was a good chance that others probably were too!
Winnipeg’s a human rights hotspot
After graduating, I decided it was time to do something about this FOMO. I launched a website called SeekingSocialJustice.com (now defunct) and started blogging a monthly list of human rights related events in Winnipeg. Let me tell you, the website wasn’t pretty, and I think my parents were my biggest (and perhaps only) followers. But—as I created these monthly lists, I realized there was even more happening in Winnipeg than I had thought. What started off as a list of 20 events grew to 30 events….then 40…. then 60! I had always known there was a lot happening in this sector in Winnipeg, but I didn’t realize it was THIS MUCH.
As a recent graduate of Global College at the University of Winnipeg, I had sent my site along to the College’s Executive Director and a former professor of mine, Dean Peachey. Dean knew about a great opportunity through the Winnipeg Foundation where a young individual could partner with a non-profit organization to create a project to improve Winnipeg’s community, and receive $10,000 to make it happen! He suggested we apply for this Emerging Leaders’ Fellowship together to build a central human rights website!
I dreamed of a calendar that would rid Winnipeggers of their FOMO by providing a plethora of human rights-related events to attend on any given day.
But beyond that, I wanted to provide a central space that Winnipeggers could go to learn more about the great work that is being done within our city. A place where they could hear about opportunities to get involved. A place to discover new organizations to follow and support. A place to show the world that Winnipeg is a human rights hotspot.
Bringing Dreams to Life
After receiving the fellowship from the Winnipeg Foundation in January 2015, we launched our site in October 2015! We were blessed to receive additional funding from the Winnipeg Foundation through their Community Grants program in 2016. Since launching, we’ve been working hard to bring those dreams to life. For instance, our jam-packed events calendar had 1,092 events listed in 2017 alone—an average of 91 events each month!
Since late 2018, this initiative has been financed by its Founder and Director, Christie McLeod.
We’d love to hear from you – what do you think of our site? Are there new components you’d like to see added? Something you find extra helpful? Let us know! Send me an email. Whether you represent an organization or are an individual that uses our site, we value your feedback!
We’re also working hard to get the word out about us. If you’re on Twitter, Facebook, or Insta, give us a follow and help us spread the word: Winnipeg’s a human rights hotspot—and we want the world to know it.