Joëlle Kabisoso is a selfless community builder and advocate who dedicates much of her time being in service to others. In 2013, at the age of 17, Ms. Kabisoso was gang raped by five white boys who then posted a video about the incident and tweeted “four little monkeys sitting on a bed, 2 got raped and one just bled,” signaling a racially motivated hate-crime. She couldn’t tell you for sure if the case was investigated as a hate crime because the detective assigned to the file told her “maybe next time you shouldn’t drink too much.”
From her trauma, Joëlle advocates for equitable access to justice and services for Black youth in Hamilton, which is rooted in the belief that there is a mishandling in the services provided to Black women and girls that often implicates them in their own victimization. Sisters in Sync was founded in 2018 following a successful campaign with the Black Youth Action Plan addressing violence against Black youth in Canada. The campaign provided a platform to share her story and bring to light the difficulties surrounding disclosure and access to justice for Black girls and women. Through this brave act, many felt comfortable and empowered to share similar experiences, bringing to life the reason Sisters in Sync was created: to open up a space for Black girls and women to connect, share, and support one another.
For her advocacy work, Joëlle has been the recipient of many awards such as the 2023 Sr. Mary Lou McKenzie Young Alumnae of Merit from Brescia University College, Top 100 Black Women to Watch in Canada, 2022 L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth, and 2021 YWCA Trailblazer award amongst more. She hopes to continue to create spaces for Black trauma survivors to have their voices heard and to transform policies that currently impede on one’s fair and equitable access to justice. She is now a sought after thought leader and workshop facilitator and has had the opportunity to work with UNICEF Gabon, represent the organization at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, speak at the Women Deliver conference in Kigali, and present at various school in Ontario.
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