1. Mahlet Cuff (Justice 4 Black Lives)
2. Omar Kinnarath (FF1)
3. Kayla Fernandes (Vagina Witchcraft)
Some activists cite a specific moment in their life that sparked a desire to make a change. For Mahlet Cuff, it wasn’t so much a moment as a buildup.
“I was just so angry and upset with what was going on at the time, and also going on to this day and has been going on for a long time,” Cuff says. “I think for not only myself, but a lot of Black folks also had their breaking points last May and June.”
Aside from being an interdisciplinary artist and a curator, Cuff is the founder and a co-community organizer of Justice 4 Black Lives Winnipeg. They advocate for – and hope to see – the abolition of police and the dismantling of systems of oppression.
“It’s reflecting with the families who have lost their children or their family members to police violence and the police murdering people. I want to help those people as much as I can,” they say.
Whether it is with their art, their curating or their activism, Cuff is committed to helping those in their community.
“For me, activism is really a community-oriented thing where I am able to connect with other people, or when other people work very collaboratively with a goal in mind.”
It may not have been one event that specifically sparked their interest in activism and organizing, but they find it worthwhile to help those who really need it here in Winnipeg.
“I can see myself doing this for a long time, because I love connecting with people and helping people and making sure people are heard and seen and validated, because I think (those who need the help most) are the people that are unfortunately murdered by the police or treated terribly,” Cuff says.
Published in Volume 76, Number 12 of The Uniter (December 2, 2021)