When the Truth and Reconciliation Commission held its final national event in Edmonton, in 2014, Miranda Jimmy couldn’t believe her ears. For the intergenerational survivor of residential schools, the TRC marked the first time she’d ever heard the schools talked about in regular conversation — let alone on the front page of the newspapers. For most of Miranda’s life, “it was this dirty secret,” she says. Recognizing that such a critical conversation needed to continue, Miranda co-founded Reconciliation in Solidarity Edmonton (RISE), which has reached more than 15,000 people since being founded in 2015.
RISE began because Miranda realized she couldn’t complain about a lack of action if she wasn’t willing to get involved herself — which is a common theme in her life. By day, she manages the grants program for the Edmonton Heritage Council, awarding more than $600,000 of funding each year to projects that tell the untold stories of the city’s history. Miranda, who is a member of the Thunderchild First Nation, also sits on the board of the Edmonton Public Library, and has been involved with the City’s new public engagement initiative since day one.
The through line in all of Miranda’s work is community, which, she says, can mean a lot of different things, depending on the context. “It’s a physical location,” she says. “But it’s also a sense of belonging. Different things make people belong together: common interests, particular issues or cultural backgrounds.”
In 2014, Miranda joined the Opening the Potential program, which aims to increase the number of women who enter municipal politics, where she personally shadowed Mayor Don Iveson every day (and many nights, too) for nearly a year. That crash course convinced her to run for office herself; Miranda is currently pursuing a career in civic politics, where she hopes to bring a greater emphasis on inclusivity and community development.