Inspiring Inclusion: Artists Who Advocate for  Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The theme for International Women’s Day 2024 was ‘Inspire Inclusion’ and to celebrate, Prologue featured the many incredible women that we work with who do just that! The artists featured in this blog advocate for diversity and equity in many ways through their platforms, sharing positive messages, and creating positive impacts upon the younger generation throughout Ontario.

We’re going to start with the incredible Bremely Karthigesu, Prologue’s brilliant Programming & Community Outreach Manager. As a cultural administrator, and an artist herself, Bremely helps to develop artistic talent, engage underrepresented communities, and to improve the quality of youth programming throughout Ontario.

Bremely Karthigesu


Bremely Karthigesu headshot

Quality arts experiences are often rooted in exchange and transformation. Acknowledging that impact and responsibility is at the centre of my role at Prologue.

As an artist and cultural administrator handed the task of helping to develop artistic talent, engage underrepresented communities, and improve the quality of youth programming throughout Canada, I have been privileged to learn some of the most valuable lessons in creating accountable and safe spaces.

Ensuring our programs, workshops and residencies teach students the value of cultural exchange and sensitivity, allyship, and critical thinking is just one way our programs are able to cultivate conversation around not only equity but equality in the world around us.

Creating spaces where a variety of cultures, ethnicities and identities can come together to share arts engaged experiences is at the heart of what Prologue does.

Prologue has worked tirelessly to strengthen its commitment to diversity, inclusivity, equity and belonging. This past year, we successfully increased development and employment access to BIPOC artists and equity seeking communities through various Prologue run programs and initiatives. We hope to continue that work!  

 Rukhsana Khan

Rukhsana Khan is an award-winning author and storyteller who has been presenting to young people for over twenty years. She has published fifteen books (with more on the way), which are inspired by her childhood, family, South-Asian culture, and personal experiences. Her presentations are designed to make the audience laugh but also think! She tackles big topics like bullying, poverty, immigration, and family.

Art can make you laugh, and it can make you cry.
It can create a beautiful ache in your soul—a yearning to do better, to be better.
We live in an imperfect world. 
We can ‘know’ in our minds that people are all equal but until we feel it in our soul, the idea has no power.
As a storyteller I strive to reach past intellectual bias and touch an audience’s soul.
While we spread joy, we can also spread justice.
We can make it that much harder to do harm to ‘other’ people because we have seen that inside, we are the same.
We share the same spark; we share the same soul.

Rukhsana is pictured outside with green trees in the background. She wears a green hijab and a nice big smile. She is holding her book King for a Day

Suzanne Roberts Smith

Suzanne Roberts Smith is a critically acclaimed actor, director, physical theatre performer, artist educator, and percussionista. Suzanne accompanies partner Mestre Sérgio Xocolate, an Afro/Indigenous Brazilian capoeira master, to host authentic Capoeira workshops for young people. She is also a member of his punk-rock-psychedelic Afro/Indigenous Brazilian fusion band –  Xocô. The performance duo, and married couple, were brought together by the power of percussion. Suzanne proudly helps to share the rich music, percussion, movement, and important stories of cultural preservation of Pernambuco Brazil.


Headshot of Suzanne Roberts Smith

I feel like the arts in their essence are one of inclusion and a great unifier of our time!

I believe the most profound arts for young people are experiences that center diversity and equity which young people really get and understand to their core!

For me, the most important part of performing, especially for younger folx, is to create a warm sense of belonging where we can cherish what makes us different.

To be honest, I felt like I didn’t fit in for much of my school years, yet when we got a chance to experience something new via a guest artist or performance it gave me such a sense of relief, ease, and wellbeing; that there was a world beyond (the school bullies or academic pressures) and I knew I did belong to that creative fabric!

So I see the role of the artist as one of ‘disrupter’ to come in and offer something new- hopefully where young ones feel seen, heard and celebrated in ways that they haven’t yet or were craving!

Kung Jaadee

Kung Jaadee is a professional Indigenous storyteller, author, and educator, born and raised on Haida Gwaii and is from the Yaguu’laanaas Raven Clan. She performs traditional Haida legends, while also sharing vivid personal stories about her clan’s survival of the smallpox epidemic, and the history and culture of her people. Kung Jaadee claims “storytelling chose her” and loves to share her gift of storytelling with people of all ages across Turtle Island.


The arts are a great vehicle to advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion, period. As a storyteller, I reach young people by performing my story “Raven’s Feast” to audiences of all ages. This story tells the audience they each have their own gifts that they’re meant to share using their entire selves in order to be a shining light to others, who might not yet know what their gifts are. We all can’t have the same gifts and that’s okay.

The other part of my story is teaching the audience they each have tens of thousands of ancestors who love them always. I then give everyone homework; to remember their tens of thousands of ancestors who love them, to hug themselves every day, and to tell themselves, “I love me,” for as long as they live. I remind them that seven generations ago, their ancestors wished for them, sang for them, manifested them, and they’re in the next world dancing for joy because they exist.

I also remind them their ancestors lived through famine, war and disease. They lived with a lot pain, hardship and trauma, and they also lived with a lot of strength and resiliency and love. And this is evident by their existence (the audience members’ existence). I tell them they’re all a miracle of life and they’re not here by accident; they’re here on purpose.

Kung Jaadee pictured standing in the forest wearing traditional Haida Regalia

I let them know they’re meant to love themselves; how tall they are; the age they’re at; what they look like. These are things they can’t change. There are some things they can change, however. If they’re mean, they can be kind. If they don’t share, then they can share. If they don’t take turns, they can start taking turns. If they’re unhelpful, then they can be helpful. The most important thing is for them to love themselves every day and for as long as they live.

Love is the most powerful force in our universe, and our world needs more love. This is how we put more love into the world.

When we love ourselves no matter what, two miracles happen: the first miracle is we automatically make our world a better place; the second miracle is we automatically love everyone else.

Love will change our world. I’m looking forward to a much better world, when I’m a really old woman, sitting in my rocking chair, rocking and smiling, no, laughing. I’ll know everyone I’ve told stories to are still doing their homework.


These strong and talented women inspire us everyday and we hope you feel inspired too! We hope you can see how the arts can be a great vehicle to advocate for equity, diversity, and inclusion, and how these incredible artists are using their unique platforms to reach young people with these messages.