Building Resilience in Children Exposed to Violence: Broadening our Understanding from a Decolonizing and Social Justice Perspective

Presnted by: Ramona Alaggia, Roberta Timothy & Ceane Dusyk.

This webinar was presented and recorded on October 19, 2021. 

The terms ‘resilience’ and ‘resistance’ continue to be ‘buzzwords,’ but what do they really mean? In this webinar, presenters discussed how our current understanding of these terms, often at an individual level, fail to capture the roles of communities, systems, and movements in building resilience in children exposed to violence. They explored how resilience and resistance must come from a decolonizing and social justice lens and what this means for front-line service providers in their everyday work and policymakers at all levels.  

Webinar Recording


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Learning Objectives

Through attending this webinar, participants were able to:

  • Broaden their current understandings of resilience and resistance
  • Describe what ‘decolonizing’ resilience means and better understand implications for everyday practice and policy
  • Reframe the concept of resilience from an individualistic model to a social justice model



Dr. Ramona Alaggia, MSW, PhD, professor at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, examines gender-based violence from the standpoint of child sexual abuse, sexual violence and intimate partner violence survivors. In her role as the Margaret & Wallace McCain Family Chair in Child & Family, she promotes the health and well-being of children and families. Using a trauma and resilience informed lens, her research contributes to developing anti-discriminatory practices for women and children living with violence.

Dr. Roberta Timothyfinal_r_pic.jpg is an Assistant Professor in the Teaching Stream, Black Health Lead, and is the inaugural Program Director for the upcoming MPH Program in Black Health at Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.  Dr. Timothy is also an Adjunct Professor in Critical Disability studies at York University.  She specializes in the areas of Black health; intersectionality, violence, transgenerational trauma, and ethics in health work; health and racism; art-based methodologies; transnational Indigenous health; and anti-oppression/anti-colonial approaches to mental health.  Dr. Timothy has worked for over 30 years in community health working on resisting anti-Black racism and intersectional violence strategies. Dr. Timothy is also co-founder and consultant at Continuing Healing Consultants where she implements and teaches her intersectional mental health model "Anti-Oppression Psychotherapy". She is an interdisciplinary scholar, health practitioner, and political scientist, who examines global health and ethics from a critical trauma-informed decolonizing framework. Her current research is entitled: "Black Health Matters: National and Transnational COVID-19 Impact, Resistance, and Intervention Strategies Project /  La santé des noirs compte:  le covid-19 et son Impact - un projet de recherche national et transnational sur nos actes de résistances et stratégies d’intervention " .  For more information see: 

She has been living with a visual disability for over 25 years.

c.jpgCeane Dusyk is a member of the Metis Nation of SK, a father of 4 boys, a land-based educator and is the Indigenous Advocate at Scott Collegiate.  He has over 14 years of experience teaching K-12 with the Regina School Board. Ceane engages the culture to connect youth and their families to the school and brings insight into advocacy work from a decolonizing lens. Ceane is working toward his Master’s in Counselling Psychology at the University of Regina under the supervision of Dr. JoLee Saskakamoose.


Opening Ceremony with Elders Mary Lou Smoke and Dan Smoke

Elder Mary Lou Smoke is a member of the Ojibway Nation. She is a gifted writer, singer, guitarist and traditional drummer who generously shares her talents with her community. An exceptional individual, Mary Lou has worked tirelessly for many years in the City of London to bridge racial divides. She is committed to sharing Indigenous knowledge, histories, and culture to overcome barriers that lead to misunderstandings and cultural divides. Mary Lou is a positive role model within both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, and has served as a Cultural Counsellor and Visiting Elder for a number of colleges, universities, and organizational service providers. She has also served as an Elder for local public school boards and helped develop cultural competency and ceremonial protocols that foster awareness and understanding across students, staff and administration

Elder Dan Smoke is a member of the Seneca Nation. He is active in many areas of community life as a traditional knowledge carrier, community activist, and cultural teacher. Dan carries diverse teachings from many Indigenous Nations, which he shares to educate those who are willing to learn and listen. Dan has also served as a Cultural Counsellor and Visiting Elder with a number of colleges, universities, and agencies throughout Ontario, and as an Adjunct Professor at Western. He has supported the development of cultural competency and ceremonial protocols to staff and faculty members, and has worked with public school boards over the past 14 years in many different capacities most notably working with youth. It is through Dan’s generous spirit, that he inspires everyone to believe in an inclusive community where new knowledge and understanding leads to healing, harmony and peaceful co-existence.