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little sister is a grassroots, youth-led, youth-focused artist resource centre. we are youth (29 and under), queer, not queer, racialized, living in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area, artists, and many other things. we operate using a grassroots, peer-led, for us by us organizational model and we aim to prioritize the specific needs of our communities. we have run the community-based open mic series hummingbird since 2015, providing 40+ open mic nights for emerging youth artists in the Regent Park community and Toronto/GTA at large. In 2018 we decided to focus on researching the experiences of young racialized 2SLGBTQ+ artists in Toronto, and later published our findings in the 2020 report “It Feels Like Having a Sugar Daddy. But like in the Worst Way: Thoughts from Racialized 2SLGBTQ+ Youth Artists in the Toronto Arts Scene.”
the lil sis team is composed of creatives of colour that come from families of proud immigrants. we give thanks to the indigenous community and
acknowledge that we are on the traditional territory of nations such as the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples.
as settlers of the land and products of colonialism, the team is grateful to live and learn and carry out the project on this land.
get to know our current + former collaborators...
ALMA AHMED @alma_ahmed
research assistant + co-contributor
from a spectator at the first open mic to participating in its current grant and research project, Alma has been involved with the hummingbird open mic and LIL SIS since 2015. she has been part of the hummingbird street team and has been a co-contributor of its current research project. aside from admiring how far the project has come, she is currently a nursing student and hopes to bring smiles to everyone’s faces; whether it be her future patients or spectators at the events she hosted with her co-emcee and co-contributor Suzanna.
MANDEQ HASSAN (she/her)
research assistant + facilitator
Mandeq is a writer, actress and the Programs and Acquisitions Director for Sisterhood Media. she has been a writer and creator of “The Regent Park Project” and other web series as well as worked on a number of short films. Mandeq was an avid fan of hummingbird since 2015, and joined the LIL SIS team in 2018. Mandeq curates the programs for both Sisterhood Media events and its streaming platform, Sisterhood Media TV.
SUZANNA MAHARAJ (she/her)
event host + research assistant
hummingbird and the LIL SIS project has had a place in Suzanna’s heart for years. from performing spoken word at the first open mic, to being brought on as a host, to now being the admin and resources lead on the team that achieved this research grant. when Suzanna isn’t working on LIL SIS content, she can be found waving her flag in a fete or improving her one-woman business.
KAMILAH APONG (she/her)
kamilah (kah-MEE-lah) apong is a queer 90’s babe, and is currently re-watching entire Sailor Moon series for the 49283742rd time. she has some cute tummy rolls and would like to mother a couple alpacas 🦙 🦙 🦙 🦙 🦙. she’s the lead singer for the disco project, Tush, and co founded the hummingbird open mic in 2015, and LIL SIS in 2020.
RAYAN SAIED (she/her)
research assistant + event host + outreach team member
Rayan began her work with the hummingbird team in highschool working to help spread the word out about our first ever youth-centred open mic in Regent Park. as event host and outreach team member, she was closely involved with many of the open mics throughout the years. her role with hummingbird evolved into a research role as we began to focus our work on recording and understanding the experiences of racialized LGBTQI artists and their access to resources and spaces within Toronto.
JYN MARCZUK (she/they)@jynoodles
research assistant + digital editor
jyn is an alien, student, and wanderer who loves instant ramen, YouTu be karaoke jam sessions, writing emo poetry in the notes section of her iPhone, painting pictures of feet and other uncanny things. she is currently finishing up her thesis project and is probably in her bedroom, smoking with Lauryn Hill’s MTV Unplugged 2.0 playing softly in the background. jyn joined LIL SIS in 2019.
BELUL KIDANE (she/her)
event host + outreach team member
Stop trying, it’s pronounced “Bae-Lou-l”. Belul Kidane is a new member of the Lil Sis team but has been engaged with hummingbird since 2018. She is a performing artist, song-writer, part-time social media comedian and also owns a “non-borrowable” library in her bedroom. If she could eat one thing forever, it would be Mac and cheese. Thank you for coming to this Ted Talk.
gifs sourced from gifcities archive and wifflegif