Tag: staff

Introducing Derrick O’Keefe, Our New Membership Outreach Coordinator!

I am a writer, editor, organizer, and lifelong social justice advocate. I’m also Dad to two great kids, Gabriel and Camilo.

At age 20, head filled with impatience and indignation at our unequal world, I turned down an early admission to law school and set out on a working life that has included factory labour, union and community organizing, teaching, journalism, book writing, as well as communications and outreach work for a variety of advocacy organizations.

In the early 2000s, I threw myself into the peace and justice movement in Vancouver. For a number of years I served as the co-chair of the Vancouver StopWar coalition and the national Canadian Peace Alliance. Our efforts peaked in early 2003 with the largest demonstrations in a generation, which contributed to the federal government’s decision not to send troops to join the U.S.-led invasion.

In 2004, I was a founding publisher of an early online magazine named Seven Oaks, a nod to the rebellious history of the Métis Nation in the Red River territory. (My mother is descended from the original inhabitants of Seven Oaks House in Winnipeg, now a museum showcasing Métis history.) A decade later, in 2014, I was part of a team that founded Ricochet Media, a bilingual progressive publication that has grown into an award-winning outlet featuring investigative journalism and original reporting from across Canada. As well as editing and writing for a number of outlets, I’ve written two books: Michael Ignatieff: The Lesser Evil? and A Woman Among Warlords, co-written with the incredibly brave and inspiring Malalai Joya.

As renters with two young children, my partner Andrea and I have been part of many campaigns for housing for all in Vancouver. In 2017, we were among the first members and organizers of the Vancouver Tenants Union. The following year, I joined a slate of progressive candidates in running for city council on a platform focused on expanding non-market housing and strengthening the rights of tenants.

The common thread tying this somewhat quixotic journey together has been a desire to contribute to collective efforts to make a better world. The Unitarian campus has always felt a bit like a home away from home, a space free of dogma and full of spirit and solidarity. My partner Andrea and I held our wedding celebration at the Hewett Centre, and we’ve both been part of organizing many events and social justice forums in the Sanctuary. This is a special place for us. It’s an honour to have a chance to contribute.

Contact me at moc@vancouverunitarians.ca

Staff Appreciation Dinner


This year’s Staff Appreciation Dinner hosted by UCV’s Board of Trustees was a lovely evening. The tables in the Fireside Room groaned with an impressive variety of good food, trustees and staff happily sought out at least two people they had never spoken to before, a few people managed to get a quiet bit of business done on the side, and the clean up team was both cheerful and efficient. Congratulations to Sheila Resels for her hard work on organizing the evening.