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Welcome to Year Two of the Equity Office Blog!

Thank you to all of our contributors and readers from 2015-2016. We enjoyed your honesty, unique perspectives and thoughtful engagement.

In honour of the 175th anniversary of Queen’s University, the 2016-2017 blog will shine a spotlight on Queen’s alumni. Over the course of this year you will hear from both current and past students (undergraduate and graduate), staff and faculty. Each month check-in to see what our latest blog contributor has to say on the topics of equity, diversity and inclusion.

Check out our contributors’ profile page for the full listing of 2016-2017 Together We Are bloggers.

Oh and don’t forget, YOU are part of this conversation as well. Together We Are all part of the Queen’s and broader Kingston community and therefore your comments and feedback are welcome.

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It Takes a Native Student Association

In our final blog piece for the 2016-2017 year, we hear from Melanie Gray, a recent Queen’s graduate. In this piece, Melanie explores the concepts of belonging, connection and home through her experiences with that Queen’s Native Student Association.

I am incredibly honoured that I was approached to write a piece for the Together We Are blog about diversity and inclusion on campus. As a Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) woman, I am aware of the adversity facing indigenous people in contemporary Canadian society – and Queen’s is not exempt from that. I would love to only explore the positive aspects of equity on campus as it existed during my time at Queens, but that celebration is not possible without acknowledging the hard work of the indigenous staff and students before me.

It has been a long road to finding equity on campus for not only indigenous students, but also those of other cultures, Continue Reading »

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When to Stop Talking

In the April edition of our blog we hear from Jeff Brown, a former Social Issues Commissioner (SIC) for the Alma Mater Society (AMS). In this blog piece, Jeff explores the meaning of allyship. Using examples from his personal life and time with the AMS, Jeff demonstrates that sometimes being a good ally means listening rather than talking.

Being asked to contribute to this discussion is a tremendous honour. I’ve honestly been churning over in my mind what to offer to the blog for a few months now. Then I remembered, I’m white, I’m 5’11 (6Ft on a good day), and I’m a man…. People listen to me most of the time whether I have something really inspiring to say or if I just raise my voice or ask for the floor.

So with the above in mind, I’ll share the biggest lesson I learned at Queen’s working as the Social Issues Commissioner (SIC) in the AMS: how to stop talking. Continue Reading »

March blog

Indigenous Studies is not a Ghetto

In the latest edition of our blog, we hear from Dr. Adam Gaudry. In this piece, Adam explores the historical and contemporary tensions that exist between units like Indigenous Studies and the academy. Perfectly timed, Adam’s piece draws our attention to the calls to Action in the recently released Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Indigenous programs are here to stay and it’s time to accept that

 At a 2013 university town hall at the University of Saskatchewan, then-president Ilene Busch-Visniac suggested that Indigenous-specific programming should be amalgamated into “mainstream” university programing over the long term. There was immediate push-back, from both those on-campus and off of it. A concerned Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations interjected, along with numerous faculty and student groups, forcing her to walk back the statement and reaffirm the permanence of Indigenous focused programming at the university. However, underneath this controversy is a pervasive logic shared among many university administrations, Continue Reading »

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Advocacy: Inspiration and Practical Advice

In our February blog post we hear from Maria Aurora Nunez. In this blog piece, Maria explores advocacy through the lens of strength, courage and determination. Reflecting on real life experiences, Maria provides practical tips and strategies for achieving your own advocacy goals.

Feeling discouraged one day, I asked my professor, “Can the law make a difference?”

Hello beautiful reader! ¡Hola! Bonjour! Привет! My name is Maria. I am an artist – I oil paint, write songs and poetry. I am a “dreamer” and an “idealist.” I am also an advocate. Coming from a family of political refugees from Chile, I have had an interest in supporting equity and a diversity of causes since I was a child. My law degree and personal experience have taught me that advocating can be difficult. The important thing is to not give up and to keep following your goals! Continue Reading »

Beginnings

Reflections on Finding Your Authentic Self

In our first blog post for 2017 we hear from Beckham Ronagham. In this blog piece, Beckham candidly discusses the process of transitioning while at Queen’s University. Through poetry, Beckham explores the many emotions involved in their own transition.

During 2010-2012, my third and fourth year at Queen’s University, I came out as transgender and transitioned to living in a male gender role. While in my heart, I identified as genderqueer and with gender-neutral pronouns.

I found the culture of masculinity at Queen’s toxic and challenging. I conformed to certain expressions of masculinity I did not identify with. I dressed in a particular way in order to be perceived as male. Meanwhile, I dressed in sequins, bright colours, and flashy fabrics, behind closed doors and in safer spaces. Only to those closest to me did I share my authentic gender queering self. I wrote this poem in 2012, Continue Reading »

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Moving On: The Inevitable Post-graduation Transition

Julie Harmgardt is our December 2016 blogger. In her piece, Julie explores the process of transitioning from being a university student to the “adult world.” In particular, Julie looks at this process of transition from the perspective of persons living with a disability.

There are many exciting “firsts” in our lives as young adults. The first time you drive a car. The first time you go on an official date. The first time you host a dinner party and don’t burn the food. The first time you travel solo. The first time you live on your own at university or college.

For people living with disabilities, the next “first” can be intimidating, time-intensive and outright exhausting, instead of exhilarating: graduating university and entering the down-right scary “adult” world. It’s a lot more complicated than securing a job, going apartment-hunting, packing up personal artifacts and moving into a new apartment in a bustling city and effortlessly beginning a new chapter. Continue Reading »