Whitney's social justice work began in earnest during her undergraduate studies at Brown University, where she spent a semester abroad in western China working for a cultural conservation NGO, conducted research in both China and the United States on disability rights, and collaborated with other student-athletes to develop university-level forums on sport and social change. After graduation, Whitney worked at a law firm in Boston before pursuing a graduate degree in Political Science at UBC. Although her master’s thesis, which focused on bargaining models for a nuclear North Korea, is certainly a conversation starter, Whitney's interest in human rights has motivated her to pursue a career firmly rooted in community engagement and legal reform.
Whitney is currently Pivot's Lead Engagement Organizer and is responsible for supporter relations and volunteer management. She is interested in strengthening and expanding Pivot's reach and is excited to create new forums for our supporters to get involved.
When she's not busy engaging Pivot's wonderful supporters, Whitney is an avid snowboarder and cyclist, proud dog owner (of James Brown!), and active Next Up alum.
e-mail whitney [at] pivotlegal [dot] org
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Misha began her passion for social justice work from a young age. She couldn’t understand why there was systemic marginalization, but felt how negatively it impacted so many people. Throughout her journey Misha has done advocacy, support and education work with organizations focusing on: sexual health education, HIV/AIDs, women’s rights, homelessness, poverty and LGBTQ rights. This combined with program and team management experience Misha found her place at Pivot with the Hope In Shadows project.
Her position here at Pivot is the perfect balance of working on a person-to-person level, and on a larger scale helping to dispel stereotypes and misconceptions of homelessness and poverty. This project works to provide opportunities for people to help themselves, which is exactly how Misha envisions grassroots social change.
Misha’s education is a hoge-podge of formal studies at the University of British Columbia, the University of Queensland and a never-ending sense of inquisition.
While not at work, you’ll find Misha frolicking in her Birkenstocks, riding her bike, surfing and doing all of the arts and crafts, all with a piping hot cup of tea in her hands.
email misha [at] megaphonemagazine [dot] com
Jeff is excited to be articling with Pivot Legal Society and to be back in Vancouver after graduating from law school at the University of Alberta. Going into law school, Jeff had a strong interest in social justice issues and now that he’s working with Pivot he hopes to use the law as a tool to effect social change and challenge those laws that discriminate against or endanger marginalized people. As an articling student, Jeff assists Pivot’s lawyers with their work and is glad to be able to help out in all of Pivot’s legal campaigns.
When he’s not learning how to be a lawyer, Jeff spends his time enjoying the outdoors, playing board games, and working his way through the Wheel of Time series.
email jeff [at] pivotlegal [dot] org
Download a high resolution photo of Jeff here
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
Download a high resolution photo of Doug here
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
Download a high resolution photo of DJ here
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 litigation 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
Adrienne Smith is Pivot’s Health and Drug Policy Advocate. They graduated from UBC Law School where they specialized in Social Justice law. Adrienne will be 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
Download a high resolution photo of Adrienne here
Carolyn's roots in the Downtown East-Side community predate her involvement with Pivot. Before finding her current position she spent considerable time and effort working on community arts projects designed to give a voice to the neighbourhood. Her work as Coordinator for the Hope in Shadows project arises naturally from this background, as the project shares her values of enfranchising those who are rarely able to make themselves heard. It is these values, along with her long connection to the community, which motivate her to embrace her work with great conviction and enthusiasm.
Carolyn carries her love of artistic expression into her personal life as well. She enjoys performing and dancing to Afro-Cuban music, and is devoting some time to studying Spanish.
e-mail carolyn [at] pivotlegal.org
Download a high resolution photo of Carolyn here
After more than a decade studying Russian revolutionary art and culture, Peter was eager to connect with projects that brought together politics, art, and social change. When he learned about the Hope in Shadow calendar project and the positive impact it was having in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, he decided to come down to Pivot and find out what it was all about.
Peter is now Pivot's ED, a position that gives him the chance to bring together passionate people from across the social and economic spectrum to work toward the common goal of building a more just and inclusive society for everyone. When he is not busy working on Pivot’s campaigns, Peter spends his time playing hockey, surfing, and enjoying life with his family.
e-mail peter [at] pivotlegal [dot] org
Download a high resolution photo of Peter here
Leo loves being able to pursue his passion for social justice at his day job in not-for-profit development. Before starting at Pivot, he worked for seven years in sales & marketing at an international conference centre, which gave him a unique skill set for strategic fundraising. He holds a BA in psychology and a diploma in marketing, and continues to try mastering the french language.
When he's not at work, Leo enjoys playing tennis and biking around town, and bugging people who speak french to chat with him.
e-mail leo [at] pivotlegal [dot] org
The photos on this page were generously donated by the talented folks at France Edward Photography. Get in touch, they are good! http://franceedward.com/