Harsha Walia

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Harsha Walia at "Climate Justice- A Movement of Movements" conference, October 5, 2013

Harsha Walia is a social justice activist and journalist who is best known for co-founding the Vancouver chapter of No One Is Illegal.[1] Walia's writings have appeared in over fifty journals, anthologies, and magazines, including Briarpatch, Canadian Dimension, Feministing, FUSE Magazine, Left Turn, People of Color Organize, Rabble, Z Magazine, The Winter We Danced, and others. She has contributed essays to academic journals including Race and Class, as well as chapters in the anthologies Power of Youth: Youth and community-led activism in Canada; Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution; and Organize! Building from the Local for Global Justice[1] She is the author of the book Undoing Border Imperialism, which indigenous rights activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz has called, "the first extended work on immigration that refuses to make First Nations sovereignty invisible."[2]

Walia has made a number of presentations to the United Nations on social and economic justice issues and is a commentator and speaker at conferences, campuses, and media outlets across North America. Most recently, Walia has organized protests against the non-consensual filming of undocumented immigrants being arrested on the television show Border Security: Canada's Front Line. Walia asserted that National Geographic, the distributor of the show, was profiting from “the violence of detention and deportation.”[3] Award-winning author Naomi Klein has called Walia “one of Canada’s most brilliant and effective political organizers.”[1]


Walia has been named one of the most influential South Asians in British Columbia by The Vancouver Sun[4] and one of the ten most popular left-wing journalists by The Georgia Straight in 2010. She is the winner of the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives "Power of Youth" award.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Born in Bahrain, Walia grew up in Delhi and other points throughout the Middle East. She lived briefly in the eastern U.S. before moving to Canada.[4]


After the property destruction during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, Harsha Walia took the position that it's necessary to accept that some protesters will damage property. Walia labelled protesters who 'de-arrest' their comrades as being 'deeply heroic', and chastised peace activist Derrick O'Keefe for his repudiation of the Olympic Resistance Network's Solidarity and Unity Statement.[5][6]