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Speaking Up with Love (and maybe a glass of wine)

In this blog, Vanessa McCourt, Academic Advisor and Undergraduate Program Coordinator in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, talks about the importance of having courageous conversations

 

I’ve never been one to speak up. I get red and flushed in the face, my underarms sweat, the right words don’t come, and I feel REALLY uncomfortable. So, for those reasons, when people have said something that I think is offensive – either directed to me or someone else – I usually keep quiet.

Fast forward 40 years (well, minus the two years before I could speak), I read a Facebook post that made me really upset. Then to my husband’s chagrin, I responded back with my own comments. Of course, this started a commenting frenzy of defending opinions.

The person who posted is my neighbor. The neighbor who is nice to my kids, Continue Reading »

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Rediscovering my identity: a biracial journey

In our February blog, Nathan Utioh, Residence Life Coordinator, narrates his experience as a biracial person and analyses the impact of an interesting journey of re-learning

I grew up in a small town in rural Manitoba, the younger of two- my mom is a white woman who grew up in the prairies and my dad is a black man who emigrated from Nigeria. Apart from the kids of my parents’ friends, I do not remember other black kids at my school through elementary years and none in my class until high school. It is not an understatement to recognize that I was limited in the scale of diversity I was exposed growing up.

At the same time, I know the smells of my dad’s fufu and pepper soup and can hear the rhythm of the music he would play around the house. Continue Reading »

Hands together

My safety: Rethinking safe spaces through intentional community building

In our January blog, Mofi Badmos, Diversity and Inclusivity Coordinator at the Smith School of Business, talks about the importance of community and how creating spaces for BIPoC individuals is key to fostering belonging

We finish our third book club meeting discussing Akwaeke Emezi’s Freshwater, with so much awe and gratitude that I say to my friend and book club member “wow, I can’t believe we continue to make this happen”. I am stunned at how five Black women, in four different countries, across different time zones come together, in community, to discuss books and themes all connected through our different but shared experiences as Black women navigating society.

Our lazily named Best Book Club was intentional on the membership being Black and non-Black racialized women from African countries reading books by other Black and non-Black racialized African authors. Continue Reading »

Native Students Association KAIROS Blanket Exercise

Unlearning and Relearning the KAIROS blanket exercise: Culturally safe for who?

In our End of Year special, Paige Van Tassel, an Anishinaabe and ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐤ (Cree) registered with Grassy Narrows First Nation doctoral candidate with the Department of Art History and Art Conservation at Queen’s University, tells her experience facilitating the KAIROS blanket exercise and shares the importance of re-learning indigenous lived histories 

Paige Van Tassel nindizhnikaaz, Timmins nindoonjibaa. Niin omashkigoowi Anishinaabekwe. Gaawiin inendoodemin. I volunteer a part of my time to co-facilitate Cultural Safety Training within Queen’s University. This training is a three-part workshop involving the KAIROS Blanket Exercise, Relationship Building, and Terminology and Legal Definitions. The KAIROS is kinesthetic learning experience which involves participants walking on blankets while an indigenous narrator and role-playing Europeans conduct a story to learn about 500+ years of indigenous histories and current experiences across Canada. This is an exercise in unlearning colonial perspectives of history taught in the Canadian public education system and re-learning indigenous histories in Canada from an indigenous point of view. Continue Reading »

New accessible icon parking sign

Disability, more than the Wheelchair

Our December blogger is Xin Sun, a recent Queen’s graduate and an active member of the Queen’s & Kingston communities as a Disability and Social Justice Advocate. In her piece, she discusses the importance of unlearning narrow understandings of disability and accessibility

 

The International Symbol of Access (ISA) has over 50 years of history. The symbol was originally designed in the 1960s by Danish design student, Susanne Koefoed. The sign is commonly seen as a white icon of a person in a wheelchair, against a blue background. This symbol is used as an indication that a facility is accessible to people with disabilities. For instance, the ISA can be spotted in accessible parking lots, accessible entrances, and accessible washrooms, etc. In recent years, a proposal was put out by a group named The Accessible Icon Project, to redesign the symbol, and came up with the Dynamic Symbol of Access, Continue Reading »

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Eight “Good Practices” for Engaging in Courageous Conversations

Our November blogger, Andrew B. Campbell, Adjunct Assistant Professor at Queens University, shares with us a set of recommendations to navigate the difficult conversations that lead us to positive change

 

After being involved in a number of conversations at workshops, conferences, and in classrooms, I wish to share eight of my personal principles. Five are postures and positions I have developed throughout my practice over the years, and the other three are from Singleton & Linton (2006).

Share Your Story

Black people, like myself, visible minorities, LGBTQ, Indigenous and the “othered” who do this work, often feel the need to be careful and cautious, often doing this work within predominant white spaces. Story telling of others and self are powerful tools. Our lived experiences are valued. We live our stories. Often, our stories are situated and shared in deficit ways. Continue Reading »