Family Centre Newsletter - Winter 2021
As we reach the end of 2021, I am reflecting on the past year and many years gone by.
Among many important events during this pandemic, four opportunities enriched my spirit that I want to elevate. The first one is Partners in Reciprocity, a fellowship which allows me to learn about decolonizing philanthropy. The second was the invitation to attend the boot-camp organized by Capacity Canada where the primary focus was on equity and inclusion and I facilitated break out sessions for discussions. The third was the invitation to speak about the fifth principle of Nia (Purpose) at Kwanzaa Celebrations organized by the Harambee team. The fourth one was when we came together to provide support to our neighbours, the Better Tent City residents. As I gather the teachings received through these four major events, I am honoured to acknowledge that the Family and Children’s Services of Waterloo Region has a framework that represents my values and ideals. We need community relationships to keep these values alive.
These four opportunities enabled to reflect upon my own way of being and others’ ways of being. They made me aware that my thinking and expression (e.g., accent in the English language) are often disconnected from the dominant Eurocentric ways of thinking and being. This is an example of direct impact of colonization on myself. However, I am not the only one experiencing this disconnection. There are many community members whose wisdom, thinking and expression do not align with the dominant perspective. How do we find ways to elevate these alternative and non-dominant ways of knowing, thinking and sharing which are rooted in our lived reality, our unique cultures, and meaning-making?
The question is how can I be in communion with myself and with others so that this disconnection of non-dominant and the dominant perspectives can be bridged. How can I, in relationship with others, honour this duality of non-dominant and dominant perspectives so that we can co-exist with dignity and respect.
As I look ahead and welcome the New Year 2022, I would like to share the following two quotes from the book Embers written by Richard Wagamese, an Indigenous writer. Richard speaks eloquently about Nia, the purpose in life. He says: “We live because everything else does” and "A gift is not a gift until it is shared.”
Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration that is celebrated in North America, as well as other countries with populations of African descendants. It is a holiday which celebrates and honors African culture. This holiday is celebrated from December 26th through January 1st.