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Roxanne (Roxy) Riess

Canada - Ontario

She/Her, They/Them

I am Southeast Asian-European-North American (meaning my German-Venezuelan Father and Filipino-Chinese Mother immigrated to North America and my siblings and I were born in Ontario, Canada). 16 years ago I sustained a mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) due to a car accident, and 1.5 yrs before the COVID-19 Pandemic lockdowns I survived a complex Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) involving two neurosurgeries resulting in a large sized Titanium Prosthesis in my skull-flap. I live with neuro-functional differences and non-apparent (hidden/invisible) disabilities due to encephalomalacia (softening of the brain tissue due to hemorrhage or inflammation, which is an indicator of one of the most serious types of brain injury). Challenges and impairments include heightened sensory sensitivity, left homonymous Hemianopsia (left periphery blindness in both eyes), chronic Tension Headaches/Migraines/TMJ Head Pain, severe sleep disturbances of initial onset and mid insomnia, musculoskeletal Pain syndromes, chronic physical fatigue, severe neurofatigue, Cognitive-Communication Challenges, auditory processing challenges, ADHD, and GAD with traits of PTSD (I prefer the term Post-Traumatic Stress Injuries as it indicates the possibility for healing). I have been active in the brain Injury Society of Toronto's Advocacy Committee and most recently BIST’s new IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, & Accessibility) Council. I am passionate about sharing intercultural education to foster belonging, peace, and unity across cultural differences. I spread awareness about the Culture-Cognition Connection, decolonization, and the intersections of Acquired Brain Injury, Gender-based vulnerabilities, and racial trauma. I advocate for a framework of transculturalism, the Neurodiversity Paradigm, Accessibility, inclusion of Mad Positive Trauma Responsive Approaches in neuro-mental health. To learn more about my experiences with ABI, Precarious Housing (Hidden Homelessness), & BIST, listen to ep.7 of the “Injury is not Equal” Podcast produced by Sunnybrook Hospital in April 2021. (https://ine.buzzsprout.com/1361521/8431152-ep-6-injury-homelessness) Roxy’s Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/roxanne-roxy-riess-a1922822/

Areas of Interest:

  • Performing Arts
  • Visual Arts
  • Community Arts
  • Photography / Film
  • Installation / Sculpture
  • Literary Arts
  • Dance / Movement Arts
  • Podcasting / Storytelling


  • Community member
  • Activist / ally


  • Event Planning
  • Communications
  • Facilitation
  • Advisory Support

Identifies with:

  • Disabled
  • Mad
  • Blind or Low Vision
  • Neurodiverse
  • Survivor
  • POC
  • Feminist