We've recently welcomed many members to our Board and committees.
We'll be adding their faces and more information soon - stay tuned!
Board of Directors
Scott jones, president
Since its inception, the Don't BE Afraid campaign has been a labour of love, but also a cathartic experience that has helped me get through a difficult time in my life. In October, 2013, I suffered a hateful attack that left me paralyzed from the waist down. One of my first thoughts after the attack was that something positive needed to stem from this horrible situation.
Surrounded by love and unfailing support, my friends and I started this campaign which aims to dissolve the fear surrounding homosexuality/transsexuality and promote a more loving society. For obvious reasons, this organization is very near and dear to my heart and, for me, it represents the incredible and healing power of love and acceptance.
Aside from the Don't BE Afraid Campaign, I'm a choir director who studied music at Mount Allison University ('08). Since graduating from Mount A, I've taught music privately (piano, voice, and theory) and conducted various choirs, including the Pictou District Honour Choir, the Nova Scotia Youth Choir (resident conductor), and VOX: A Choir for Social Change. I'm an avid traveller, and recently started a blog about travel and accessibility.
Thank you for supporting this cause, and for spreading the love! :)
Sherise Jones, Vice President
I feel so honoured and thrilled to be part of this incredible movement!! This has been a journey filled with emotion, learning and growth - and it's been wonderful to experience it with such a beautiful group of people!
Scott and I, and our two amazing sisters, Cara and Gabrielle, were born in Nanaimo, BC. We moved to the small town of Scotsburn, NS when I was 11. Living in a rural town in Nova Scotia, we experienced some of our first encounters with prejudice and discrimination, and we were not prepared for it!
Since university, I've worked with the elderly in long-term care, as well as with children in choirs and after-school programs. I continue to be amazed at their capacity for compassion and creative expression. Those of us 'in between' can sometimes forget the necessity of it. Without it, we disconnect - not only from the pain and suffering of others, but from our true human selves. And sometimes it takes a tragic life event to awaken us to the importance of human connection, creativity and love. This is why creativity is an essential part of this campaign - because it is a fundamental part of being human. Our youth and our elderly can teach us a lot about this. I believe as human beings we have a responsibility to let go of any fears that dehumanize our selves or others.
When Scott was attacked in 2013, I thought life as we knew it had ended. And to be honest, it had. But not in the way I'd imagined. Although the first months were about survival, what transpired as a result of Scott's incredible strength and courage was a beautiful journey for all of us.
What I've learned through Scott and Don't BE Afraid is greater than my entire life's education. I've learned the beauty of the human spirit, and that we are all capable of feeling and expressing love and compassion. Hatred and fear are learned, and can therefore be un-learned.
Thank-you world. Thank-you for your love, your creativity, and most importantly, your humanity.
Tom O'Handley, treasurer
I am very excited to be a part of the “Don’t BE Afraid” Board of Directors! After seeing a newscast of Scott Jones I was inspired by his warmth, resilience, and positivity. His ability to turn obstacles into opportunities that encourage growth and positive transformation is a true inspiration for everyone. Homophobia is an issue that I feel very passionately about and it’s an issue that should no longer exist in our society. I believe that Scott is a great spokesperson to bring awareness and education to this issue.
I’m looking forward to working with Scott and the Don’t Be Afraid board of directors to help dissolve the fear surrounding homophobia and to encourage others to be true to themselves!
Emily Anderson, Secretary
I am the Senior Program Coordinator for Peaceful Schools International. This international organization provides support and recognition to schools around the world that have declared a commitment to creating and maintaining a culture of peace. This includes the recognition and prevention of homophobia within the education system at large.
Community outreach, both local and international is very important to me, and as such I have travelled to different parts of the world including Kenya, India, Vietnam, Europe, and South America; working as a volunteer on behalf of non-profits such as Habitat for Humanity and Free the Children.
I currently sit on the following Boards and Committees as an active Director:
1) Peaceful Schools International (2010)
2) The Conflict Resolution Advisory Committee at Saint Mary’s University (2011)
3) An Cumann – the Irish Association of Nova Scotia (2013)
I also was an active member and Director on the Board for the Saint Mary’s University’s Women’s Centre (2010-2011).
I am looking forward to working in close collaboration with the Board and representing Don’t Be Afraid!
Caitlin Bowers, Board Member
I became involved in the Don't BE Afraid campaign when my dear friend Scott Jones became the mastermind behind it! The importance of standing together and working through our fears to change our world for the better is a DBA principle
that is very important to me. Promoting acceptance while eliminating homophobia and transphobia is the goal, and through compassion, kindness and taking a stand, we can accomplish it!
I completed my Bachelor of Music degree at Mount Allison University and my Bachelor of Music Education degree at Memorial University. My passion for music led me to become part of our rockin’ choir, VOX!
I am very excited to have the opportunity to use music to facilitate equality AND to be a part of the Don't Be Afraid board of directors.
Don’t BE Afraid! Or as I like to say: you do you, girl!
Jessica Chapman, Board Member
I am so excited to be a part of the Don’t Be Afraid Board. I have been truly inspired in watching how Scott and his entire family have treated an otherwise tragic event as an opportunity to affect change and start a real conversation about homophobia. The fight against homophobia and standing up for LGTBQ rights may be the civil rights movement of our time and I am so happy to be aligned with Scott, the DBA board and so many supporters of this extraordinary cause.
Colleen Fraser, Board Member
I feel so lucky to be involved with Don’t BE Afraid. It’s a simple idea that is inspiring big change: understanding, bravery, and equality. My world has grown so much bigger through this campaign and the amazing people it has brought into my life. I’m happy to be able to share my communications skills; creativity; and big, bursting heart with the organization. I look forward to spreading our message and seeing more and more rainbow signs pop up around the world.
I enjoy activities that range from running, to singing in VOX, to watching cheesy made-for-TV movies. I love books, dreaming about my next travel destination, pretending I am good at redesigning clothes, and laughing for hours on end with my friends (many of whom are right on this page - love you guys!!!!).
I believe that Don't BE Afraid is the message our world needs to hear, and I'm so proud to be part of making it happen.
Charlotte Marchesseault, photo campaign manager
I was born in Montréal, Québec in 1986. I was the littlest of my family, but the one with the biggest character. I knew what I wanted and I was ready to do anything to get it. I was curious to try everything, and always ready for new adventures! As I grew up, I found myself becoming more and more sensitive to the conditions of others. I knew I wanted to do something to improve the world and to help others, but I hadn't realized in what way yet.
For as long as I can remember, I have always been passionate about other cultures and travelling. I would take any job, just to make some extra money to be able to see the world. As this interest was growing, I decided to study International Relations and Political Science at the University of Montréal.
While studying, I had the chance to do an exchange in Cordoba, Argentina. This trip had a huge impact on me and reinforced my interest in Latin American cultures. As a result, I decided to pursue a Master's in International Business at HEC Montréal. I carried out my thesis project while in Brazil, studying the development of artisanal cooperatives in developing countries.
I produced the documentary “Mulhares com coragem,” which focused on a group of twenty handicraft women in northern Brazil. This was an incredible experience; I met some of the most courageous women in the world and learned so much from them. A year later, my documentary won an award at the United Nations International Year of Cooperatives Short Film Festival in 2012. Being recognized in this way was a turning point for me. My camera had become my primary way of expression. I started to travel all over the world in order to learn and share the stories of others. I was then, and still am, convinced that photography and filming can have tremendous social impact.
You can become a Don't BE Afraid society member! Click the button below to download the application form, or learn more about membership.