Portrait of Rodney Diverlus

Rodney Diverlus

Rodney Diverlus is an organiser, dancer, and choreographer/curator. Born in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, Rodney first moved to the United States as a refugee, but ended his migration journey in Toronto, Canada. There his work is anchored an artivist framework of transformative art and community organising practice.

In 2014, Rodney co-founded Black Lives Matter – Toronto, the first international iteration of the Black Lives Matter Global Network. As a lead chapter organiser, Rodney's works clusters on campaign development, communications and media relations, action coordination, and internal chapter management. BLMTO is a force in shifting public policy, implementing legislative changes, and challenging the cultural myth of Canadian benevolence as means of masking systemic anti-Black racism.

Currently, he is the Lead Canadian Organiser with the Black Lives Matter Global Network, in which he supports Canada's local chapters and organisers in developing strategy, infrastructure, and initiatives specific to the Canadian context.

He has served on the executive committees of various not-for-profit boards of directors, including as Secretary for the Ontario Youthline, Vice-President Equity and President of the Ryerson Students' Union, and Chairperson of the Palin Foundation. He was a commissioner with the Canadian Federations of Students – Ontario. There, his work was anchored in addressing access to education issues for communities from the margins, strategy and campaign development, post-secondary policy and reshaping the Federation's social justice infrastructure.

His writing has appeared in Canada's largest national publications including Toronto Star, THIS magazine, Huffington Post Canada, Now magazine and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Our School, Our Selves. He recently contributed to Artistic Citizenship: Artistry, Social Responsibility, and Ethical Praxis to be published by Oxford University press.

An ardent artivist, Rodney toggles between his community organising and his work as a multidisciplinary artist, storyteller, movement curator/choreographer, writer and arts educator. He uses his body and voice as a site to host and interpret text and rhythms, weaving in ancestral and diasporic narratives. His work draws on and weaves in a distinct movement aesthetic rooted in jazz, Afrikanic approaches to movement, and contemporary sensibilities, spoken word/oral traditions and digital media.

Rodney's work as an organiser and artist grapples with the visions of a decolonised and globalised Black diasporic existence, peppered with critical deconstructions of blackness, Caribbeanness, queerness, migration and the decolonial process. His work envisions a world where all Black lives are free.