Sex workers' rights campaigner
Brenda first became involved in advocating for sex workers’ human rights almost two decades ago in Southeast Asia, documenting working conditions of migrants. As a human rights activist, she has conducted research and international advocacy in the context Myanmar’s civil war, on child soldiers, forced labour, women’s human rights and CEDAW, and the ties between violations of Indigenous peoples’ rights and large-scale resource extraction projects.
As a lawyer in Vancouver, working in Aboriginal law and on the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry, Brenda has seen strong parallels between struggles in the global South and the experiences of Canada’s First Nations and communities marginalized by poverty. She believes strongly that effective social change must begin and end with those most affected by injustice.
Brenda tries to spend as much of her free time as possible outdoors, hiking, cycling, and kayaking.
e-mail brenda [at] pivotlegal [dot] org
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Kevin’s communications work focuses on public health and human rights. Before joining Pivot, he worked at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, where he managed media relations and communications for Canada’s largest HIV and AIDS research organization. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Megaphone, an award-winning Vancouver-based magazine that gives a voice to marginalized people while providing employment opportunities for low-income vendors.
As Pivot’s communications director, Kevin brings together community voices and legal expertise to maximize the reach and impact of Pivot’s litigation.
He has a dog that sleeps at the office and steals his food when he’s not looking.
e-mail kevin [at] pivotlegal [dot] org
Download a high resolution photo of Kevin here
Police accountability campaigner
Douglas entered law school at UBC focused on a career in international human rights. However, as he spent more time in Vancouver (he is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah), Douglas became deeply aware of the complicated human rights issues in his own community. Douglas worked as an advocate for the Downtown Eastside Residents’ Association before moving over to Pivot in 2008. Douglas’ job at Pivot places him at heart of human rights work in Vancouver, working on police and private-security accountability.
Away from his clients and the courtroom, Douglas likes to spend his time outdoors, playing soccer and hiking. His partner Tenny is a community health nurse for Vancouver Coastal Health, and in December of 2013 they welcomed their first child, a daughter, into the world.
e-mail doug [at] pivotlegal [dot] org
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DJ was drawn to a career in law by her belief in the law's power to build a more just society. Her practice is focused on litigating and researching the criminalization of homelessness, systems of housing which infringe the human rights and housing rights of low-income renters and housing policies and practices that put women and families at risk. As Pivot's housing campaigner, she is committed to working with her clients to create a community that respects and values all of its members.
In her off time, DJ can usually be found rock climbing, trail running with her dog, Silas, or playing bass clarinet in the No Strings Attached clarinet quartet and the Pacific Blackwood ensemble.
e-mail dj [at] pivotlegal [dot] org
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A month into law school, Katrina was looking for new ways to ground her education (which includes an MA in women’s studies) and contribute to real social change in Vancouver’s downtown eastside. She connected with John Richardson, established Pivot’s sex work and human rights campaign and has been with Pivot ever since.
As Pivot’s executive director, Katrina brings legal strategy to Pivot’s campaigns and connects Pivot with the broader legal community. Outside the office, Katrina spends her time hanging out with her partner and kids. She also stays active by jogging regularly and dancing as often as possible.
e-mail katrina [at] pivotlegal [dot] org
Download a high resolution photo of Katrina here
Health and drug policy campaigner
Adrienne Smith is Pivot’s Health and Drug Policy lawyer. They graduated from UBC Law School where they specialized in Social Justice law. Adrienne was called to the bar in British Columbia in 2014.
Adrienne lives and works in the Downtown Eastside and knows what is at stake here. Adrienne is committed to doing Pivot’s work with an unconditional positive regard for people in our neighbourhood, and a commitment to meet them where they are.
They have been a garbage man, a labour activist, a political campaign organizer, a legislative researcher, and a mental health worker. They also have a sled dog, an air brake ticket, and a graduate degree in geography. Adrienne knits, plays the fiddle, and likes slam poetry and roller derby.
Adrienne is working to reduce the harm which law causes to marginalized communities.
e-mail adrienne [at] pivotlegal [dot] org
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Business development director
J. Stewart has experience as a small business owner, an award-winning creative writer in the field of media marketing, and several years in the Downtown Eastside as both a communications manager and co-founder of Union Gospel Mission’s community engagement team.
He has served as a past Pivot Legal Society board member and currently sits as co-chair of the Vancouver Urban Core Community Workers Association that pursues economic strategies that provide a sustainable livelihood and improves incomes for DTES residents.
He is proudly East Van, a little league baseball coach, terrible softball player, and beaming father of two awesome boys.
e-mail jstewart [at] pivotlegal [dot] org
Download a high resolution photo of J here