Vidya Shah

Courage & Renewal Facilitator
Speaks English

I am an educator, scholar and activist committed to equity and racial justice in the service of liberatory education. As an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at York University, my research explores anti-racist and decolonial approaches to leadership in schools, communities, and school districts. I also explore educational barriers to the success and well-being of Black, Indigenous, and racialized students. As a teacher, researcher, speakers, and community activist, I am committed bridging the gaps between communities, classrooms, school districts and the academy, to re/imagine emancipatory possibilities for education.

Becoming a facilitator with the Center for Courage and Renewal has been a heart calling for 2 decades, as I have been drawn to understand the inner worlds of educators and leaders and foster communal spaces for deep self- and community-reflection.   You can learn more about my work at

Favorite quote

"But between us, interpersonally, relationally, true innocence is more evasive. Often that determination becomes the focal point of our efforts instead of tending to the pain, instead of protecting who and what needs protection, instead of all and any parties having space to learn and transform. What if we could see ourselves less as innocent, but as harmed and harming, more or less honest, more or less able to be conscious when triggered, more or less manipulative, more or less willing to take responsibility for our own change, more or less caught in patterns. Would we be better able to create and respect boundaries between each other? Would we be more likely to interrupt our own violence if we didn’t insist on our innocence and the accompanying justifications for our actions? Could we let the word have meaning again? Allowing ourselves to pay real attention to places where what we’re told is collateral are people, families, communities, life. Can we ween ourselves off of the myth of purity, of innocence embedded in our supremacist and exceptionalist structures? Can we tolerate knowing ourselves?"

Prentis Hemphill -

Book Recommendation

Hospicing Modernity All About Love salt The Body is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self Love Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good

Vanessa Machado de Oliveria bell hooks Nayyirah Waheed Sonya Renee Taylor adrienne marie brown

Where I'm Finding Inspiration

I'm finding inspiration in silence, in nature, with children, and in deep, authentic relation.

What I Do For Fun, Rest, and Renewal

I love to connect with friends and laugh until our bellies hurt. I love to travel, to sing, whether at a karaoke bar or in my car, and I love to dance. I love hanging out with children and young people and understanding the world through their eyes. For rest and renewal, I turn to practices of inner knowing and surrender, influenced by Eastern traditions of silence and meditation and mysticism.

Organizations I've Worked With

Various schools and school districts
Educational organizations and associations (e.g., teacher's unions, professional associations, etc.)
Universities and colleges
Non-profit organizations (e.g., community empowerment, racial justice, child welfare, newcomer settlement services, etc.)