Metha Brown deeply believes that reconciliation is about awakening to those from whom we disconnect, building relationships through difference, and working towards more equitable communities in which the value of everyone, despite our differences, is affirmed and supported equally. This stems from spending her youth in rural South Carolina, where she was first exposed to persistent systems of inequality that shaped people’s everyday lives. She was inspired by artists who both invited and demanded that we wake up to the unexpected beauty, pain, achievements, and strife in our disconnected and unequal communities. Her tenacity, integrity, and creative spirit have drawn her towards progressively more challenging endeavours in reconciliation — from social services program development, public policy and community engagement, online multi-media storytelling and peace-building.
In New York City, Metha worked with people coming home from prison, helping them navigate the challenging road to re-integration. Her graduate work at UBC contributed to the creation of a historic working group at the Vancouver parks board. Part of this was a participatory video she produced that highlights the experiences of trans folks from many walks of life — from a youth worker, to an artisan, to a retired RCMP officer. The video offers audiences the opportunity to better understand the different ways people experience and express gender. The working group is engaging community members and staff to identify the barriers that transgender and gender-variant communities face when trying to access public spaces and find solutions to improve access. Metha co-facilitates workshops along with leaders from the trans community to offer parks staff opportunities to hear directly from affected community members.
During her work as programs director at Peace it Together, a Vancouver-based peace-building organization, Metha developed and directed a robust community engagement program that engaged local and international communities affected by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in critical and creative dialogues. She is deeply committed to creating spaces in which people take risks to courageously speak uncomfortable truths, practice critical self-reflection, practice deep empathy, and commit to working for a just, secure and sustainable peace.
Metha embodies the kind of diligent and joyful commitment it takes to develop more equitable spaces — whether through programs or community centres — so that people can discover their hunger to connect through and with difference.