Human Rights and Equity Office

Human Rights and Equity Office
Human Rights and Equity Office

21 Acts of Activism

This year, we will center our attention on activism in its different forms. In 2020, activism shaped Queen's and Kingston's community by bringing necessary awareness to social justice issues and demanding change. The pandemic has made evident how equity-deserving communities face disproportionate challenges and has motivated people to mobilize and organize to create change.

For one week leading up to March 21, our office will post on our social media three acts per day. These are meant to showcase our community's social justice efforts, ​and the innovative ways they have used to provide support and to eliminate barriers. ​During the week we would like to draw attention to seven broad areas. These areas are listed below.

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Indigenization
Human Rights
Commitment to Growth and Learning
Student Led Change
Intersectional Perspectives 

This space will highlight some of the most inspiring initiatives of 2020. Compiling 21 acts of activism was challenging; it was too short of a list to capture the excellent work happening in our community. Still, our office hopes that this list brings awareness to the importance of taking action to achieve change.

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigenization

Elders in Residence photos
Elders in Residence
When we think about activism, we often do not think about the quiet, polite, peaceful sessions provided bi-weekly at Queen's by the Elders in Residence. In the middle of the circles of initiatives running to address inequity and racism, there, at the centre, are the two Elders, who week after week, share aspects of Indigenous knowledge and ways of being to bring understanding and respect to what is being shared. They are at the forefront of efforts to Indigenize Queen's by making themselves vulnerable. Join the Elders from the Office of Indigenous Initiatives for bi-weekly sessions on Thursdays from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Sessions will feature topics on Indigenous teachings and knowledge.

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Social Healing and Reconciliatory Education (SHARE) 
The Social Healing and Reconciliatory Education (SHARE) research cluster is a cross-disciplinary group based in the Faculty of Education composed of students, staff, and professors who do research and work in social justice across various departments faculties at Queen's and other institutions. The SHARE mandate is to conduct research and open discussion about the importance of social justice issues and reconciliation in education and beyond, to develop progressive, ethical, and competent leaders in education. They were part of the Scholar Strike at Queen's during 2020 in response to anti-black racism and police brutality.

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Let's Talk Kingston
This initiative was created as a space to discuss race, diversity, and inclusion to help make change for anti-racism. Let's Talk Kingston put together a series of panels and talks related to Indigeneity, Education in Kingston, social justice and the law, and Black Canadian History. 
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We Thrive Outside
With the onset of 'stay at home orders,' Faith and Spiritual Life introduced a daily social media campaign that encouraged students, staff and faculty wellbeing by promoting outdoor activities and enjoying moments in nature. We Thrive Outside campaign included a nature photo, an inspirational quote and a prompt for a response to help the Queen's community remember how nourishing and renewing it can be to get some fresh air, hear the birds sing, and feel the sun.

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Revved Up
Revved Up @ Home is an online adapted exercise program for persons living with a disability. This online program provides a combination of both online personalized exercise coaching and online group exercise classes. If you are looking to stay active from home and work with student volunteers to help you with completing a home-based exercise program, then Revved Up @ Home is for you!

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Lionhearts and Dr. Sarosh Khalid-Khan
The pandemic and the mobility restrictions have created food insecurity within our community, but Lionhearts and Dr. Sarosh Khalid-Khan Driven have responded with initiatives oriented to deliver food. Lionhearts, moved by a deep desire to see all people living with human dignity, created a Food Delivery Service from Downtown Kingston and a warming centre for the winter months.
Dr. Sarosh Khalid-Khan initiated a Halal Meal Delivery Program, funded by the United Way of KFL&A with meals provided by Dr. Shawerma.

Human Rights
Radical Love image HARS
HARS Kingston
HARS is a safe, confidential, non-judgmental and inclusive space where people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS can get support and build a community. This year, between February 01-14, they hosted Positive Women. This initiative honours acts of radical love and collective community care in addressing the systemic racism that leads to disproportionate numbers of Black women being impacted by HIV locally and globally. In Ontario, African, Caribbean and Black communities make up 4.7% of the population but represent 24% of individuals newly diagnosed with HIV. Amongst women, over 50% of new diagnoses are African Caribbean and Black women.
Loving Spoonful Meal Prep image
Loving Spoonful
Loving Spoonful connects people with good food across Kingston area. Working toward a healthier, more connected community, they provide programs and champion policies affecting food security, poverty, social inclusion, and community health. In 2020 they launched a virtual home cooking session called "Open Kitchen" and organized a Fresh Food Access program that delivered over 3,000 Good Food Boxes (most free to low-income families) for Kingston Community Health Centres. They also delivered take-out meals for Martha's Table.
SACK logo
Sexual Assault Centre Kingston (SACK)
The Sexual Assault Centre Kingston (SACK) is a not-for-profit organization providing free, confidential, non-judgemental support for all survivors, 12+, of recent and/or historic sexual violence in the Kingston area. 'We Believe Survivors' is their secure, online chat & text support service, available for all survivors of sexual violence, regardless of gender and/or identity. When using the line, you will be connected to a trained, non-judgmental facilitator who can offer you emotional support, information, resources, and safety planning techniques. All chats and texts are confidential. Text SACK at 613-544-6424 or CHAT with them via
Commitment to Growth and Learning
Reelout Flyer
ReelOut: Kingston Queer Film and Video Festival
ReelOut is a large cultural festival that focuses on films about LGBTQ+ lives. Reelout exists to celebrate queer media arts and contribute to community vitality by programming materials that focus on sexuality, race, culture, religion, class, gender, ability, health, and age. The 22nd annual Reelout Queer Film Festival in Kingston was hosted virtually for the first time this year with a selection of 19 individual programs from 18 different countries over eight days.
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Mutual Aid Katarokwi-Kingston
Mutual Aid Katarokwi/Kingston is a project initiated by AKA Autonomous Social Center in Kingston. Mutual aid is the belief that cooperation trumps competition. It is the belief that we can fulfill each other's needs by coming together and developing collective strength. Mutual Aid Katarokwi-Kingston formed at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to support those needing to self-isolate by creating a Grocery Dispatch subgroup that ended up facilitating hundreds of deliveries between volunteers and people self-isolating.
EDI Committee Books
Faculty of Education – Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee
The EDI Committee of the Faculty of Education created a resource guide on Anti-Racism and Diversity for primary to high school education and beyond. The list contains books, films, lesson plans and other toolkits. It has been curated and recommended by Faculty members with expertise in anti-racism and includes recommendations from teacher candidates and the graduate student community.


Student-led Change
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Digital Activism
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, activists worldwide faced the challenge of organizing and mobilizing using online tools as their primary vehicle for social change. At Queen's, we witnessed the rising of important platforms that facilitated connection, building community and the expression of students' experiences of discrimination and marginalization. Social Media accounts such as Stolen By Smith, Erased By FEAS, and Consensual Humans, to mention a few examples, allowed students to share their stories and served as a medium for testimonials. We want to recognize the efforts of all student activists at Queen's that took to social media to evidence the need for systemic change in our institution, which triggered new ways of engagement between staff, faculty, and the student body.
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Bystander Intervention Training and Lead, Include, Transform
Using an intersectional, community-based approach, two programs at Queen's have provided outstanding peer-led education administered by a trained team of undergraduate and graduate student leaders. Bystander Intervention Training Sessions give students, faculty, and staff the tools needed to recognize and respond to sexual violence, aiming to empower individuals and equip them with the knowledge and skills to intervene in an incident of sexual violence.
Lead, Include, Transform Training allows students, faculty and staff to reflect on personal privileges and oppressions and how they show up on campus. This training will help participants to learn how to recognize various degrees of oppression at Queen's, understand their role in challenging it and learn how to engage in activism on a leadership level.
Get Real Queen's logo
Get REAL Queen's
With the mandate of "Reaching Equality At Last," Get REAL is a student-run, not-for-profit initiative started by students to work towards eliminating homophobia and creating a safe space for all, on campus and in Kingston. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Get REAL launched an innovative initiative called Queers @ Queens Discord, a server that works as a virtual platform for connecting with like-minded folks and a community hub!
CARED Zine photo
Coalition Against Racial and Ethnic Discrimination (C.A.R.E.D)
C.A.R.E.D is an activist and an educational committee that examines how racism and discrimination intersect with issues of gender, class and sexuality and acts to explore possible strategies for combating it. C.A.R.E.D also seeks to provide students with a safe, open, and non-judgmental space for sharing their experiences of oppression and discrimination. To end Black History Month Celebrations, they collaborated with Muse Magazine and Queen's Black Academic Society to produce a Zine that highlights talented Black students at Queen's. The issue is called "Celebrating Blackness," and you can read it here:
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Queen's Collage Collective
Queen's Collage Collective is an anti-oppressive art club for healing and strengthening mental health through creating art. They aim to provide an accountable space to facilitate anti-oppressive conversation. They have hosted events such as Collaging in Solidarity with Wet'suwet'en that raised productive conversations regarding what settlers can do to support Indigenous land defenders here at Queen's and raised funds for Tyendinaga land defenders.
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Queer Muslim Resistance
Queer Muslim Resistance is a podcast from OPIRG Kingston on Patreon that focuses on how queer Muslims envision and create futures (and presents) of collective liberation. The project aims to answer questions such as: what is abolition? What is queer Indigenous sovereignty? Why are these central to our fights for justice? Their featured guests are queer Muslims invested in anti-oppression work.
Intersectional Perspectives
Ban Righ Winter Celebration
Ban Righ
Every year the Ban Righ Centre hosts a Winter celebration inviting mature students who are mothers to bring their children and gather at the Centre for activities and a good meal. This December, due to COVID restrictions, they re-invented the event. Ban Righ Centre Board members and staff contributed to gift bags delivered to students at their homes. Each gift bag included games and activities for the family, grocery gift cards, and some small gifts for the mom. On December 11, Ban Righ Centre staff caravanned around the city and hand-delivered gift bags to 11 Student households. Packages were also mailed to 3 students who live outside of Kingston. Altogether, 14 students and 27 children received gifts and food from the Ban Righ Centre. At the end of the day, meals were delivered from Ali Baba Kebab to all Kingston area participating families. Out-of-town households also received meals from local restaurants. Finally, they gathered in a virtual celebration to share stories and memories.
QBAS members group photo
Queen's Black Academic Society (QBAS)
QBAS began in 2011 as a passion project between students eager to foster community amongst self-identified people of colour. Their mission is to advance black academics by focusing on education, equity and issues pertinent to the black community. Through its programming, the group seeks to create a safe space and foster a sense of community amongst black students, faculty, staff and alumni. During the COVID-19 pandemic, QBAS has created wellness packages promoting relaxation and safety in these challenging times.
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Roots and Wings
Roots and Wings is a community organization that is designed to make space for racialized girls in Kingston. Girls are encouraged to explore their diverse identities and are provided with learning opportunities about social justice issues in a fun, engaging, and age-appropriate way. They will be encouraged to teach and share their unique skills with each other and the larger community through action on social justice issues.