CEC Announces Diversity & Inclusion Committee Members

Jul 17, 2020

CEC is excited to announce the 2020-2021 members of the new Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

These members will seat on the committee for a 1 year term. Under the leadership of the CEC Executive Director, the Committee will address issues of diversity and inclusion in our organization, both at the community and organizational levels. Projects will include, amongst other, review board mandate to include diversity clause, survey the community to determine demographics, develop and collect resources and training for the community in regards to diversity and inclusion.

More info on the Diversity and Inclusion Committee: https://climbingcanada.ca/en/cec-committees/#diversity

The committee recognize gaps in its composition. We have vacant 3 positions we would like to fill with members of an Indigenous community, of the Black community, and an adaptive climber. Please contact us for more info.

The committee can be reached through diversity@climbingcanada.ca 

2020-2021 Members

  • Yona Al-Tahir (NB)
  • Michelle Ang (ON/BC)
  • Joy Aqwa (AB)
  • Catherine (Cat) Carkner (ON/QC)
  • Grace Cho (ON)
  • Caroline McNamee (BC)
  • Rahul Sapra (ON)
  • Rasha Taha (ON)

Let more about the members of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee:

**new** Grace Cho

Pronoun(s): She/Her

I am a second generation Korean-Canadian and was born and raised in London, ON. I was introduced to climbing in 2015 and I have been working at my local climbing gym since 2016. I have been fortunate to be able to introduce this sport I love so much to others and see the growth of this community. My hope is that we can make climbing more accessible and take down the barriers that prevent marginalized communities from participating in climbing.


Yona Al-Tahir

Pronoun(s): She/Her

I am a fourth year student at the University of Toronto, double majoring in Human Biology and Neuroscience. I am a Middle Eastern girl who was born and raised in the Caribbean before moving to Canada at age 12. Having never really fit in due to the multiple minority boxes I check, I turned to climbing with hopes of a safe place to escape. Thus, I am driven to create a safe space and a feeling of belonging for everyone through the Diversity and Inclusion Committee.


Michelle Ang

Pronoun(s): She/Her

I work in the development of provincial health policies and cancer programs, and have been rock climbing for almost 10 years. Rock climbing has taken me to many countries and locations, and I am passionate about diversity and representation in the climbing community. I have assisted the CEC with the development of a facility opening guidance document for gyms to return to work post COVID.


Joy Aqwa

Pronoun(s): She/Her

I am a half Filipino half German, born Canadian living in Alberta. I am a cisgender female who is a feminist and a passionate climber for the last 3 years. I grew up with an immigrant mother, where I was able to first hand see the struggle of an individual trying to fit into communities that did not advocate for diversity and inclusion. This also started my journey towards understanding where I, myself fit within society, as a mixed race individual. I strive to contribute my experiences to creating a diverse and safe space within a community I am passionate about.


Cat Carkner

Pronoun(s): She/Her

I’m a full-time student at McGill University and have been an avid climber for over 10 years. I identify as a cisgender female and am an adopted Vietnamese-Canadian. Drawing on my competition experience, ranging from local events to the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, I want to help confront the systemic barriers that climbers face and foster a more inclusive Canadian climbing community and environment.


Caroline McNamee

Pronoun(s): She/Her

I am a retired high school Math and Science teacher, currently homeschooling my youngest children. I was born in England but have lived most of my life in Canada. I am the mother/grandmother of a large and diverse family. I have a lesbian daughter, a transgender son-in-law, a Palestinian Arab daughter-in-law, 2 daughters who live and work in Europe, an Asian Cambodian son, twin sons who are black and were born in Haiti, and a son with mental health challenges. I am looking forward to contributing in a small way to improving the climbing community I have grown to love and to exploring in more depth an issue I care deeply about.  


Rahul Sapra

Pronoun(s): He/Him

I am a longtime member of the Canadian and Ontario climbing communities who has been climbing for about 7 years. In that time, I’ve had the honour of representing Canada at a handful of World Cups and other IFSC events around the globe. Outside of climbing, I’m a University student working towards degrees in medical science, business, and law and am currently conducting research in the field of Canadian Constitutional Law. I’m passionate about Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) initiatives such as this committee. I’ve taken on a leadership role in planning EDI-related events/programs at my law school. I’m very excited to be working with this super talented and motivated group to make a positive difference in the CEC and broader Canadian climbing community.

Oh also a fun fact about me, even though nobody asked, is I’m a huge nerd who loooooves airplanes and Marvel movies!


Rasha Taha

Pronoun(s): They/Them; She/Her

I’m a social worker by training & currently work at a sexual assault center as a counselor. I also work as a setter at a local climbing gym. I am Lebanese born-&-raised, immigrating to Canada when I was 15 years old. I’m queer & open about that fact in climbing spaces. I believe representation is incredibly important in climbing because of our white, male-dominated history that has often excluded queer/trans/BIPOC communities.  

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