We Were Children

A sad, but necessary documentary at the residential schools in Canada. Glad that the Indigenous community is being heard more, and using their voices. It was interesting to see the interactions between the older children with the younger ones at the schools – like the older ones had been indoctrinated already into the horrible-ness of the Catholic church and colonization, and they were teaching the younger ones how to be better at being white.

Thinking about Day for Truth and Reconciliation, I’m thankful I stumbled on this on Prime (wish my money wasn’t going to Bezos, though). Is there anything more we can do than donating to Indigenous organizations (I went with Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto), and watching movies like this?

Steph: I had intended to spend Truth and Reconciliation Day watching this documentary, and I still do want to watch it. I was fortunate enough to find a walk organized by a community group to view and learn about Indigenous murals in Roncesvalles. The artist, Phillip Cote, had been invited but wasn’t sure he was able to make it. At the last minute, he showed up and gave us a beautiful, informative and eye-opening tour of the huge mural he created on Garden Avenue, explaining each element and what it means in his culture. He has been commissioned to create another mural inside Roncesvalles United Church, and he led us inside to show us where it will be and invited everyone to view the drawings for the mural. He also recited poetry and sang some songs to honour the children found in mass graves. The walk ended at Peace Garden at Dundas and Roncesvalles that is populated with Indigenous plants. There, Cote spoke of what he hopes arises from Truth and Reconciliation Day, which is more people learning about Indigenous history and using that knowledge to demand change and accountability.

Poetry is not a Luxury (Sister Outsider Essay #2)

Share your thoughts about the second essay in Audre Lorde’s collection.

Stephanie: This very short essay is also an amazingly impactful essay. While she doesn’t address racism specifically, the way in which Lorde describes the secret, hidden knowledge that resides at the core of all women echoes the ways in which marginalized people have always had to hide their knowledge, creativity and traditions because they were not acceptable to the dominant white society.

I have a feeling I will be coming back to this essay again and again. It contains a lot of wisdom about having the time, focus and courage to sit in stillness with ourselves in order to connect with our own creativity.

Trip to Russia (Sister Outsider Essay #1)

Post to discuss Trip to Russia, the first essay in Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider.

(Shannon here)… a couple of things jumped out for me about this chapter, aside from it being so much more than a travelogue. I love how Lorde picked apart communism, and was critical and hopeful about it (Russians carry their own bags – but then, if you can’t manage it?).

I was also pleasantly surprised by the reception Lorde got from the Russian people, and that there is more diversity there than I had thought. It makes me wonder, too, about the term “civilized”… and what is considered civilized today, given how far we’ve come since the book was written in the 80s. I feel like back then, it was used to describe Western cultures and societies, and those that are not apart of them are “uncivilized.” Now, I think of uncivilized as not supporting or empowering marginalized people. But I’m probably preaching to the choir here 😉

Stephanie: The tone and the writing are so different from Desmond Cole’s that it was almost jarring. Not in a bad way at all, just very different.

I love reading about people’s experiences while travelling and so got pulled into this essay immediately and effortlessly. And just when I had almost forgotten that we’re supposed to be focused on racism, Lorde hits me with this sentence:

What gets me about the United States is that it pretends to be honest and therefore has so little room to move towards hope.

And I couldn’t help but think how true that still is today, and what a shock it is to realize that Lorde wrote this essay in 1976.

Open Post for General Discussion (News, Current Events Etc.)

This post is for discussing anything and everything pertaining to anti-racist and anti-oppression work. Use the comment section to discuss items in the news, current events, share resources and just generally explore ideas.

Don’t be shy, anything goes!

Stephanie: I want to acknowledge the fatal van attack on a Muslim family in London, ON and the discovery of the mass grave in Kamloops where the bodies of 215 Indigenous children were found.

This group started as a way to examine and address anti-black racism, but we can and should apply the work to all forms of racism. Where I’m left right now is pondering how, and if, I should observe Canada Day this year. I stand on guard for thee? Not anymore. Not with all this blood on our hands.

Shannon:

I’ve been thinking about how I want to address these issues – the Muslim family in London, and the ever increasing number of Indigenous children who are being recovered. I don’t know what to say, other than acknowledge how horrified I’m feeling that this is Canadian history – the last residential school closed in 1996, for fuck’s sake. Equally saddened by not knowing how to respond. I think about Germans and their views on their history – many of the Germans that I’ve talked to have expressed a deep shame for their history. So, I guess that’s how I’m feeling.

Happy Pride – I hope everyone enjoys the weekend 🙂

BLM “more than books” club

This is a place to store documents related to the book club, and also share resources, links, suggestions and feedback.

Next meeting:

Thursday December 10, 7:30pm

Moderator: Stephanie

Reading: Desmond Cole, The Skin We’re In, Chapters 7 and 8

Meeting Info

Frequency: Monthly, usually the first Thursday of the month

Time/Duration: 7:30 – 9pm

Zoom login:

https://zoom.us/j/99965261718?pwd=RnE0UksvVDBGTTR0U3BKODZtYTE1dz09

Meeting ID: 999 6526 1718

Passcode: 426997

One tap mobile

+12532158782,,99965261718# US (Tacoma)

+13017158592,,99965261718# US (Germantown)

Dial by your location +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma) +1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown) +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston) +1 646 558 8656 US (New York) +1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)

Meeting ID: 999 6526 1718

Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/adO6WdkgTR