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 keynote speaker |  featured speaker                    

keynote speaker | TANIKA DILLARD | Breaking the Silence of Pregnancy Loss 

Pregnancy loss is more than just the death of a baby. Bereaved parents also grieve the hopes, dreams, and expectations for the child. The art of authentic, raw, honest dialog about the impacts of pregnancy loss are vitally important if our communities (medical, religious, social, etc) intend to be good help to the bereaved. Breaking the silence is necessary to dispel the myths of grief, honor the children who have died, and provide courage for those who need permission to journey forward after loss. 

About Tanika Dillard
Tanika Dillard is a natural leader, prolific speaker, and trusted advisor to her peers. 
A passionate revolution for writing was birthed in 2009 after recurrent pregnancy loss. Tanika needed an effective avenue to channel her grief and unwavering desire to have a family. Eloquently flowing words were crafted from the life-changing pain her blog, The Journey of Love and Life.

Tanika's passion for breaking the silence of pregnancy loss positioned her as founding member and Facilitator for Share Upstate Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support Group. Her efforts to honour the lives of her children and increase awareness on the taboo subject have uniquely connected her with medical professionals and grieving families across the globe.

In August 2014, Tanika embarked upon a new phase in the literary revolution by releasing Building a Family Breaks My Heart; a best-selling novel inspired by her blog writings. Building a Family Breaks My Heart is a magnificent work of heart, capturing the essence of despair from loss and the beauty of dreams fulfilled. The novel is sure to capture and connect the hearts of those who have experienced pregnancy loss, infertility, or supporters of those who have.

She has captivated audiences around the world with her inspiring message of advocacy and hope with her Breaking The Silence of Pregnancy Loss TED Talk. Drs. Gloria and Heidi Horsley, founders of Open to Hope Radio Show, acclaim Tanika as, "A powerful, hopeful spirit."

She has released her first single, "I am Dreaming". This heartfelt musical tribute is her way to honour the lives of four children: Destiny, Briauna, Madison, and Israel Grayson who have passed away.

Tanika is a Certified Grief Recovery Methods Specialist. Through this specialized training, she is able to provide grievers the tools needed to effectively recover from loss. She has dedicated her life to walking alongside grievers and helping them move from mourning to joy.

Dillard earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Care Management from Lander University. Tanika's most prestigious titles are wife and mother. She and husband Christopher reside in South Carolina with their sons, Ethan and Evan.

featured speaker | MARVELOUS MUCHENJE Beyond Silence & Stigma: Pregnancy and HIV for Black Women in Canada 

Dominant representations of HIV suggest that it is a death sentence, rather than a condition that people live with. Even where progressive media and social justice organizations challenge this image, people living with HIV continue to be seen as white, gay men. Black women living with HIV are often invisible and those who experience pregnancy and motherhood are doubly marginalized due to their lack of white privilege and HIV stigma. Where their experiences are recognized, they are viewed as a homogenous group with their identity as a person living with HIV superseding their identity as women of colour. Understanding the complexities in the lives of black women living with HIV in Canada requires us to explore the impact of culture, race, class, gender, migration, and sexuality on women's pregnancies and birth experiences and not simply the hegemonic biomedical fixation with HIV.

About Marvelous Muchenje

Marvelous is a PhD Student at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto. With a professional and activist background in sexual and reproductive rights, Marvelous is passionate about seeking social justice in all its forms – not just by improving the lives of individuals, but by changing systems of oppression through collective action. An affirming HIV-positive Black woman, Marvelous has made it her mission to spread love and empowerment. She is a writer, motivational speaker and advocate for marginalized communities. Marvelous sits on several national boards with a global reach, which she uses to uplift the narratives of those who face injustice. She believes that justice must be intersectional and inclusive in order to improve the quality of life for all.

BC Association of Pregnancy Outreach Programs
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