Melissa (they/ she/ siya*) is a second-generation, mixed-race Filipinx** immigrant-settler to so-called “British Columbia”. They grew up on and currently occupy the unceded and active lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ nations. As someone who was raised in the cradle of the North Shore mountains, their formative years were informed by encounters with black bears, coyotes, squirrels, humans, woodpeckers, black-capped chickadees, blackberries, huckleberries, ladybugs, dogs, cats, raccoons, rats, skunks, ducks, ravens, poplar trees, seagulls, and many others.
Melissa holds a Diploma of Motion Picture Arts from Capilano University and a BA from UBC Okanagan where they majored in Cultural Studies and minored in Sociology. They are currently completing their MA at UBC Vancouver’s Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice Institute, where they work at the intersections of Feminist Environmental Humanities and Critical Animal Studies. Their thesis research focuses on multispecies justice in the context of mass extinction.
As a Filipinx immigrant-settler, Melissa works in solidarity with local Indigenous nations based on the understanding that settler colonialism here is intimately tied to imperialism overseas. Melissa is excited to be working with Sierra Club BC’s Education team; they believe in the strength and power of youth to shape our common futures.
*This is the gender-neutral Tagalog personal pronoun, pronounced “shah”.
**This spelling of Filipino/a makes room for experiences of gender diversity.