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In 140 Characters: #yyc poet, singer, and social work student from St. John's, NL, on Beothuk/Mi'kmaq land. Sings a lot. May or may not be a grandpa. #treaty7

photography Ⓒ Mehenaz Moutusi, 2016

Hi there! I'm katie o'brien, a poet, social work student, queer activist, and Netflix enthusiast living and working in Calgary, Alberta (Treaty 7). I'm currently the Project Coordinator of #CalgaryGetsConsent ↗, a pretty rad project aiming to start the conversation about consent in Calgary.

I start with a land acknowledgment in all of my workshops, as these are sites of potential disruption ↗ particularly within the social work field. This isn't a workshop, but I try to claim every opportunity to acknowledge my own privilege, culpability, and positionality with regards to the land on which I live and work. I am a white settler on the territory of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot), including the Siksika, the Piikani, and the Kainai, and the peoples of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta, including the Tsuut'ina, and the Ĩyãħé Nakoda First Nations, including the Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley First Nations. This land is also home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III. I am committed to addressing the legacy of violence that social work as a profession has perpetrated (and continues to perpetrate) against Indigenous peoples in Canada in my learning and in my work.

I believe in grassroots activism, natural supports, anti-oppressive pedagogy, and queer socialist feminism. I am passionate about creating inclusive, accountable spaces that centre the perspectives of marginalised folks. My friend Emily ↗ aims to be "an ally in not only the struggle against imperial, colonial capitalism – but towards a decolonized, sustainable future for the planet and all its inhabitants." While I struggle with the idea of allyship ↗, this seems to me like a pretty great personal mission statement.


The following are books, courses, and resources that have been instrumental in my learning journey so far. If you have resources that you think I should check out, I would love to hear about them!

13 Random Facts

  1. This Is Us ↗ is the most recent TV show to make me cry.
  2. I have also (recently) cried while watching Grey's Anatomy, Master of None, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and several other TV shows. I cry a lot, apparently.
  3. I live with my life partner and our crotchety 9-year-old rescue dog, Walnut.
  4. This one time, Tegan and Sara bought me brunch ↗.
  5. I really, desperately love sloths.
  6. I built my first website when I was twelve. Panic! At The Disco's I Write Sins Not Tragedies ↗ autoplayed on my home page. I have been trying to atone for this travesty ever since.
  7. I will forever be a staunch supporter of the Oxford comma.
  8. Fancy socks bring me joy.
  9. I have a younger brother ↗ and a younger sister ↗. They are both cooler than I am.
  10. As a child, I would not eat chocolate, peanut butter, or bananas. These are now three of my favourite foods.
  11. This one time, my partner and I went to Iceland for the weekend ↗.
  12. Meryl Streep was my first celebrity crush.
  13. I am a Taurus. So is my mother.