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Ann Kim Lineus and Nara-Jayne Lineus are not only sisters but are the co-founders of the No Valentine Project; a project centred on the sexual empowerment of women and femmes of colour in need. 

HC Concordia: Can you both tell me a little about yourselves.

Ann Kim: My name is Ann-Kim, I am 22 years old and in my third year at Concordia University. I am a fun-loving, sarcastic hard worker (to a fault at times). I am introverted with extrovert tendencies, and love to laugh and make loved ones laugh. I work in public relations and study Public Affairs at Concordia. I’m an extremely passionate person in all aspects of my life, whether it be in work or relationships. 

Nara: My full name is Nara-Jayne, but people call me Nara. I currently go to Dawson College, but will be studying Economics as my major and Human Rights as my minor at Concordia University in the upcoming semester. I am 19 years old and I find that I love and admire watching people live their lives to its fullest potential. I live by the saying "live and let live" and I do my best to bring positive energy to those around me despite how I am feeling. 

HC Concordia: Who would you say have been your greatest childhood influences?

Ann Kim: My greatest childhood influences have been my sister, Maya Angelou, and Nikki Giovanni. 

Nara: Throughout my childhood, my greatest influences always seemed to be female fictional characters of colour from books that I have read; their walks of life seemed to best match my own.  My sister also played a significant influence on me throughout my childhood because she always seemed to be the person I wanted to mimic most. I always thought she was so awesome and I truly believe that I’ve admired her for as long as I can remember!

HC Concordia: What would be one word you would use to describe yourself?

Ann Kim: Ambitious

Nara: Conscious

HC Concordia: Tell me about No Valentine!

Ann Kim: The No Valentine Project is a project I’ve had in mind for a few years now but never gained the confidence to dive in and start it. Our first project is the makeup drive, which we hope will be a bi-annual project. The project works towards sexual empowerment for female identifying people of colour through the creation of creative safe havens such as beauty tutorials, panels and discussions from people in different communities in collaboration with different community organizations. 

Part of our project, #NoValentine, will be a makeup and beauty product drive. We are in the process of putting together bags of female hygienic and beauty products (think of a post-sex kit) to give to women and femmes of colour who are in need of the kits. In collaboration with different LGBTQIA friendly community organizations, we will be providing manicures, makeup tutorials for people of colour, and/or hairstyling and giving away our beauty bags called “love kits”. 

Each “love kit” is customized to the individual needs of the participants of our partnering community organizations. The purpose of these kits is to promote sexual empowerment for women and female identifying people of colour in sex work, lower income areas and others in need. 

HC Concordia: When did you realize, you wanted to start this non-profit organization and how did you come to the realization?

Ann-Kim: The idea of the project came from several discussions with Nara about the lack of conversation around sex-positivity for women of colour, especially for darker-skinned women of colour. Our project is a fun initiative to simply celebrate sex for those who are looking to further explore, or those who have been marginalized for their sexuality. This is an anti-slut shaming, and a “pro-hoe” project, where we can learn from one another, and create friendly reminders that these beautiful souls are free to be. The name No Valentine, comes from the idea of showing love and creating a sense of independence for people who have struggled to find their place in the hetero-normative, Plain Jane idea of romance. This includes sex workers, LGBTQIA female identifying people, femmes and sexually liberated people.

HC Concordia: Who would you say is your biggest supporter?

Kim: Nara and I are joined at the hip. We’ve always been each other’s biggest supporters and have of course received so much love from so many different people for this project.

Nara: Without a doubt, my sister is my biggest supporter. Generally, when people think of their biggest supporters, they fail to think of their siblings. However, unlike anybody else, my sister knows just what to say in order keep up when the tough gets going and the perfect way to congratulate me when I succeed.

HC Concordia: What can you say is the most challenging aspect of your project?

Ann-Kim: The most challenging aspect of the project has been struggling to keep things controllable and not to get ahead of ourselves. Of course, we have huge dreams for the project, but we’re trying not to take on more than we can chew right now in order to make this project the ultimate success. 

Nara: The most challenging aspect of this project is determining all the necessary needs of the people that we are catering to. We are wary of this to ensure that no one feels left behind in the process and can come out with the best experience possible, whether that is through the future talks that we plan to host or through a number of other events.

HC Concordia: What has surprised you most about this whole project?

Ann-Kim: Honestly, I thought that this project would be low-key, and something that would sort of be a “sister” project, but the intense love and support we’ve gotten from so many people has been extremely heart-warming. 

Nara: The immense love we have received from this project has surprised me the most. I could not have possibly predicted that so many people would be willing to get involved on this journey with us. Before starting this charity, I realized that there was a need for a charity like this in Montreal, but I had not realized to what degree until I started hearing the reactions that we were getting.

HC Concordia: What would you say are some of your strongest beliefs about what kind of change you hope to bring about and what do you think will change about No Valentine over the next five years? 

Ann-Kim: My strongest beliefs are respectful freedom of expression in all forms, whether it be through sex, art, music, or writing. Since the topic of sex is so often used to value or devalue female bodies, we wanted to turn that conversation around. Currently the conversation around sexual liberty and sex-positivity rarely include people of colour in a positive light. In our own communities, sex-positivity is extremely taboo, [and these are] all things that I’d like to change. We also hope that this will create a deeper communication and sisterhood for our participants.

Nara: In the next five years, we hope that No Valentine will be able to reach a larger audience of people. We would also love to increase the number of activities that we decide to host. With that said, we plan to host multiple workshops and talks in the upcoming years to keep the initiative going since safe spaces for empowerment are always needed.

HC Concordia: Who can get involved and how do they go about doing so?

Ann-Kim: Everyone and anyone can get involved and if people would like to send donations they can either go to our website, or drop off toiletries and slightly used/new makeup at our drop off points which are listed on our website. If people are interested in becoming volunteers for the makeup drive or one of our future events, you can send us an email.

For more information check out the website 

 

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D'Ante Hanna

Concordia CA

My name is D'Ante Hanna, I was born and raised in Nassau,Bahamas. I am 22 years old and currently studying Political Science at Concordia University in Montreal Quebec.I moved to Canada a little over two years ago and hope to make this my permanent home. I hope to one day become a news anchor for a major broadcasting company and make a difference in the world. I love volunteering and traveling. Writing comes naturally to me, being a very critical thinker it allows me to express my creativity in a functional and soothing way. Not only do I love to write but I also love reading and public speaking, I hope to one day become a best selling author. A quote that I live by is "The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”– Ayn Rand.
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