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Community Builders + Capital Pride: Pearly Pouponneau

By United Way East Ontario on September 8, 2021

While COVID-19 has changed the ways we gather, celebrate, and honour one another, it has not changed the way our communities step up to support each other in times of crisis. From making essential grocery trips for immunocompromised neighbours to conducting wellness phone call checks for seniors or even helping newcomer families access the support services they need, volunteers have come together when we need them the most.

Early in the summer of 2020, in collaboration with Apt613, United Way East Ontario sent out a call for nominations to honour local volunteers who stepped up in this time of need. Together, we recognized five outstanding COVID Heroes with Community Builder Awards to honour the incredible work they did to support their communities and the most vulnerable people within them throughout the pandemic.

Since then we’ve gone on to award over 20 remarkable volunteers who have uplifted their community during COVID-19—showing constant selflessness and care during these unprecedented times.

With our host and former Community Builder Award recipient Davy Sabourin, we were joined by our friends at Capital Pride for a very special edition of our Community Builder Awards, recognizing five more incredible community builders who have worked tirelessly to make our communities safer, healthier, and more accepting for the 2SLGBTQ+ community. These people are community leaders, fearless advocates, and supporters of the Queer community, and have stepped up and demonstrated a local love that has not gone unnoticed.

We thank everyone who took the time to nominate these everyday heroes and we thank you, community builders, for your exceptional contributions.


Read below for a post on Community Builder Pearly Pouponneau, and check out our other Community Builder posts here.


Pearly Pouponneau

Pearly Pouponneau. Photo provided.

Pearly Pouponneau is constantly doing work in her community and producing content to uplift and highlight marginalized groups—whether it be for people of colour, the Indigenous community, the 2SLGBTQ+ community, or an intersection of all three.

Being a Queer woman of colour from a marginalized community herself, Pearly identifies gaps and assess needs on a community level. She brings together marginalized voices and invites them to shape a community that is truly inclusive and safe.

According to her nominator, Pearly’s biggest accomplishment has been organically creating Colours of Mama—a safe and inclusive community for mamas of colour to be seen, heard, and celebrated—which Pearly founded after she noticed the lack of inclusivity in mothering spaces in Ottawa.

Pearly has been recognized by multiple South Asian organizations for her efforts in dismantling misogyny, violence, and harm against WOC and 2SLGBTQ+ folks in the South Asian community. She was also recently recognized as a CBC Ottawa Trailblazer for her work with Colours of Mama and featured on numerous panels, most recently with CBC Ottawa and Creative Mornings Ottawa.

Pearly continues to uplift and support members of marginalized groups by creating The Diatribe Podcast—the first podcast in the South Asian community that tackles taboo topics and creates space and time for learning, openness, self-love, and balance. Through the Diatribe Podcast, Pearly offers healing through storytelling, and is fearless in her pursuit of uplifting voices and using the privilege she has to open doors for her peers.


Do you know a community builder who has gone above and beyond to support their communities through COVID-19? Our Community Builder Awards program accepts nominations year-round. Nominate your Community Builder today!