“I am a co-founder of the national Walls to Bridges program in Canada and remain a proud member of the Walls to Bridges Collective. My work today centers on critical, holistic, decolonizing, and anti-racist pedagogies; educational justice; working alongside people in and emerging from prison; abolitionist frameworks; and the ethics of accountability and interconnection. Much of my CEL experience has revolved around co-learning projects, mostly in prison or jail settings, first with the U.S.-based Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, and then with Walls to Bridges. Simone Weil Davis
Offering courses that bring together university-enrolled and incarcerated students as classmates, the model is grounded in circle-work, experiential activities, collaboration, dialogue and whole-self, student-owned learning. Learning, teaching, and unlearning together, bumping into and accepting all kinds of “live” learnings, cohorts build their own practice in educational justice. Multiple knowledges are needed and invited in this work. W2B Collective members with lived experience steer both faculty trainings and workshop design.
At UofT, with the City of Toronto’s Community Healing and Peers Projects, I’ve also facilitated co-learning classes with young adult community leaders, trained practitioners in peer support, trauma resiliency and community development. I hope the University embraces and sustains this pilot project, which I developed with Prof. Kerry Taylor, from the Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies. It’s an access program – if you understand “access” to include the goal of transforming education experiences, not mere “inclusion.””