Written by Breanne Fisher
Miranda Jimmy is a force in Edmonton.
As the City’s Aboriginal Relations Projects Coordinator, trustee on the Edmonton Public Library Board, and co-founder of Reconciliation in Solidarity Edmonton (RISE), Miranda considers herself to be an active ‘Edmonton Enthusiast’ and ‘Community Connector’. Miranda is also involved in the City’s Opening the Potential: Mentoring for Women initiative, where she was personally mentored by Mayor Don Iveson.
I recently sat down with Miranda to learn more about the projects she has underway and what makes her so passionate about building a strong community.
1) What does it mean to be a 'Community Connector'?
“I’ve discovered that people who are passionate about where they work and play tend to gravitate to one another. Through my experience as a volunteer in the community, I’ve developed a lot of relationships with incredible people in Edmonton who are experts in their fields. If I don’t know something, I usually know or can find someone who does. I love connecting people and ideas.”
2) Describe your experience as the Mayor’s mentee—how did you get involved and what have you learned?
“This opportunity was offered by the City’s Opening the Potential: Mentoring for Women program, established in 2011. The goal of this initiative has been to increase the number of women in municipal politics to 30 per cent. I knew Mayor Don Iveson personally from the Edmonton Public Library Board, so I was matched with him. It’s been an incredible experience—attending his meetings, learning from him, and even offering my perspective. The opportunity has provided me with an entirely different view of the world and understanding of the government.
One of the biggest takeaways I’ve had from my time with the Mayor has been learning about his decision-making technique. In many meetings, I’ve heard him repeat word-for-word, exactly what others have said. He really listens and trusts his team of expert advisors before making a decision. That’s something I truly respect.”
3) What projects do you currently have 'in the works'?
“After the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) last year, I’ve had a lot of conversations with people about the impact that stories of residential schools have had on them. Many people I spoke with wanted to do something, but didn’t want to ‘intrude’. I knew that this fear of intrusion had to be worked through to make a change.
I invited a number of people (40 in total) to my home to watch the statement I made to the TRC last year as an intergenerational survivor of residential schools. After watching this, we all agreed that we had to get over our fears.
Throughout the month of June, RISE (Reconciliation in Solidarity Edmonton), will be inviting community members to write messages of reconciliation on wooden hearts. These ‘hearts’ will be planted outside of City Hall to create a garden of hope. Our goal is to have 1,000 hearts planted by June 21—National Aboriginal Day.
4) What advice do you have for Edmontonians who want to get involved in the community (as you have), but don’t know where to start?
“The driving force behind ‘getting involved’ needs to be creating a community you want to live in. First, find something you’re passionate about and want to change. This could relate to: environmental issues, urban design, recreation, or something else. Once you’ve found that personal passion, look for ways to engage in the process.
NextGen is a great place to start as well—they bring so many passions together. After my presentation, 'Why Reconciliation and Why Now', at the last Pecha Kucha Night, a lot of audience members came up to me—wanting to get involved to help make a change. Some are now involved in RISE!”
5) Closing thoughts?
“No matter what I do, I want to be in a place where I can have the most impact. Impacting the community is what really drives me.
The whole month of June is Aboriginal Month—culminating on June 21 for National Aboriginal Day. To get involved and celebrate, visit the City of Edmonton’s list of community events. Also, consider contributing to the Heart Garden. More information on RISE can also be found on our official Facebook page.
Hope to see you at some of these great events!”