Meet The Team

Our Team

Josh Lamers
Josh Lamers (he/him)
Executive Lead
josh@collectiveofcws.ca

Josh is one of the co-creators of CCWS and is a core member and the Executive Lead of CCWS. Josh is a Black queer organizer, activist, law student, and child welfare survivor/abolitionist. Josh spent the first 3.5 years of his life in and out of foster care in rural Ontario until experiencing further racial displacement in adoption to a white home in another predominantly white rural town.

Josh’s community and academic work centres the intersections of Blackness, Disability and madness, child welfare survivorship, queerness and transness. Josh is the co-creator of various Black radical spaces that organize against anti-Black racism in institutions like post-secondary education. Josh’s award-winning research centres the abolition of child welfare through the experiences of Black child welfare survivors and families. Josh has his Bachelor and Master of Social Work from X University, and is currently a Juris Doctor Candidate at University of Windsor in his final year. 

Ashley Ash
Ashley Ash (she/her)
Community Development & Policy Advisor
ashley@collectiveofcws.ca

Ashley is one of the co creators of CCWS and is a core member and Community Development & Policy Advisor. Ashley is Indian and spent the first 12 years of her life with the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto before being made a Crown Ward. Shortly after she went through a racial displacement through adoption into a white family. Ashley’s advocacy focuses on troubling adoption as a finish line for the child welfare experience. 

Ashley spoke at numerous speaking engagements to young people involved in adoption, adoptive parents, adoption workers, social workers and lawyers and judges involved in child welfare. She currently holds a Bachelor of Social Work from X University and is a Juris Doctor Candidate at the University of Windsor, Faculty of Law. The summer prior to entering the law program Ashley worked as a Social Worker with Justice for Children and Youth.  Ashley also worked at various organizations such as the Office of the Ontario Child Advocate and she is also a national-award winning writer who uses her prose to communicate the messages important to her and her community. 

Thaila Dixon-Eeet (they/she)
Community Development & Outreach Coordinator

Thaila is one of the co-creators of CCWS and our Community Development and Outreach Coordinator. Thaila is a Black queer non-binary neurodivergent mad child welfare survivor and abolitionist, of Jamaican ethnic background mixed with white on their mother’s side. Thaila was placed in group homes beginning at the age of 13, was in semi-independent living and then independent living at the age of 16 until they aged out at 21 years old. Since the age of 15, Thaila’s advocated for changes within the child welfare system as a youth at the Office of the Ontario Child Advocate. With their own experiences of the various forms of violence that occur towards Black girls in group homes, Thaila’s advocacy lead to benefits for child welfare survivors generally, such as creation of the HSBC Fund through the Children’s Aid Foundation.

Thaila was the Director of Youth Engagement at Cross Over Youth, while also doing case management where they supported child welfare survivors dealing with the criminal punishment system. Thaila is also an entrepreneur within the tattoo industry, marrying their social justice work with tattooing and co-founding the Rose Underground, which is a collective of BIPOC tattoo artists addressing anti-Black racism and other forms of oppression in the industry. Thaila extended this work into opening their own shop with other BIPOC tattoo artists in downtown Toronto called TruTattoo Shop.

Camila Hernandez (she/her)
Individual Advocate

Camila is a queer Chilena currently living in Tkaronto after being raised in the traditional territories of the Erie, Neutral, Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Mississaugas/The City of Hamilton. Growing up in a white, middle-class neighbourhood as a racialized immigrant woman was instrumental in creating the basis of her values, ethics and the importance of accessible community spaces. Being one of a few racialized people in a white classroom made her keenly aware of race and class, how that influences one’s opportunities and how one is perceived. This has guided her in fighting for queer equity, racial justice, dismantling state violence and working towards abolition and liberation.

She is a lover of rowing on the water, bike rides, and creating anything with her hands. A multidisciplinary creative formally trained in the arts, Camila hopes to eventually use her love and knowledge of creating to help those on healing journeys to connect to both their mind and body.

Sophie Wirzba
Sophie Wirzba (she/her)
Individual Advocate

Sophie is a 2021 graduate of McGill University where she studied Political Science and International Development, focusing on relationships between people and the environment and social policy. Sophie currently works in sustainability consulting, aiming to mitigate negative impacts of environmental projects on marginalized communities.

Over summer 2020 and summer 2021, Sophie worked as an online camp counsellor for the Tim Hortons Children’s Foundation where several of her campers and coworkers were survivors of the child welfare system. With her various experiences, Sophie looks forward to taking on an advocacy role in support of child welfare survivors. In her free time, Sophie loves outdoor activities, crafting and art of all types, and doing puzzles!

Alexandra Bissell
Alex Bissell (she/her)
Individual Advocate

Alex is a white settler with 10+ years of experience working in education and community development. Alex formerly worked with the Office of the Ontario Child Advocate in Community Development, working specifically with Disabled children and youth who experience various intersections related to ableism. She currently facilitates on-line trainings that work to address anti-Indigenous racism and promote cultural safety for Indigenous Peoples in a variety of systems and services.

Christianne Labelle
Christianne Labelle (she/her)
Individual Advocate

Christianne is a soon to be law graduate who has spent her time in law school working in legal clinics assisting people with low-to-no income to resolve housing and Disability matters at tribunals. Christianne also spent time working with student groups to support radical grassroots movements such as 1492 Landback Lane. She is a passionate advocate for those who have their human rights continuously denied to them by the state, including children and people experiencing housing insecurity.

Heaven
Heaven Teklehaymanot (she/her)
Individual Advocate

Heaven works front-line providing care, resources, referrals and support for maintaining long-term stability while transitioning through challenging and complex phases of life with unhoused, low-income and recently housed individuals and families. Heaven centres compassion, empathy and genuine partnerships with those who she cares for in her personal and professional life, and imagines and works towards a world where abolition is actualized and inequities are diminished. Advocating and supporting people involved in and impacted by the child welfare system is extremely important to Heaven as she aims to minimize the power that the system has on disrupting family and community relationships.

In addition, Heaven is hoping to pursue a graduate degree in Counselling and Psychotherapy in the near future in order to provide anti-colonial, community-based, trauma-informed care to unhoused and low-income Black, Indigenous & racialized people who are disproportionately harmed by various systems, institutions and people.

We’re always looking for new members.

Interested in being part of a team? We’re accepting applications for volunteers and placement students on a rolling basis.