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Board of Directors

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Scott jones, Founder

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
chair: outreach committee

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.  The four of us (and Mom!) moved to a small town in Nova Scotia when we were young.  Living in a rural town, we experienced some of our first encounters with prejudice and discrimination, and we were confused and saddened by it.

From a young age, music has been an essential part of life in our family, and as I've grown older, I've become passionate about using music and creativity to inspire change and growth. I obtained a music therapy degree from Acadia University, and discovered the true power of music as a therapeutic tool. Through university I continued to witness misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of hatred and oppression. Though often 'subtle', it was still painful and infuriating, and I often felt powerless in these moments.

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.  We often forget that without this, 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 precious. 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.

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Tom O'Handley, treasurer
chair: finance committee

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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. 

 

Yvonne Diggs, Board Member

 
 

Jillian Funke, Board Member

This campaign is magnetic. If you've made it as far as reading the bios of our board members- chances are you feel the same! I have a career in the financial industry and a passion for problem solving. I'm proud to be part of this beautiful team of fearless individuals! Don't BE Afraid!

Society Membership

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