Family Centre Newsletter - Winter 2020
As we build our creative digital space through this Newsletter, I would like to recollect two important elements from my previous reflections. I continue to admire the spirit demonstrated by all of you amid the pandemic and have come to deeply value my connections with all of you. In addition, I have come to appreciate The Family Centre as a space for growth, which not only contains a physical dimension but also psychological, social and spiritual dimensions for our collective efforts. In this Newsletter, I would like to share my contemplations about recent events that occurred within my work and larger societal contexts.
I had an opportunity to engage in critical conversation about Indigenous and non-Indigenous worldviews with Michelle Sutherland. Michelle invited me to participate in this conversation on the land, which Emmanuel United Church Waterloo returned to Indigenous community. This gave me an opportunity to step back from my routine, to connect with the land, to contemplate the reality of being situated on the stolen land, and to share our local and global experiences of being raised as Indigenous peoples in different contexts.
Another important conversation took place with Maria Tejada who mentioned the Spanish word Casco de Mineros, which means a flashlight, embedded in the helmet wore by miners. This reminded me of thousands of people who carry the light of social justice in the face of violence and find themselves converging in this country as refugees and immigrants. Many of these individuals continue to be guided by the flash on the "Casco" as they settle in Canada and build solidarity with local and regional communities to continue their collective efforts to achieve social justice and equity in this new context.
My participation in the protest rallies emphasizing Black Lives Matters and Land Back Claims by Indigenous people made me reflect about the writing of Robin DiAngelo. In her book titled White Fragility published in 2018, she states that emotions (e.g., anger, fear, guilt) are political even though they may appear as naturally occurring. In fact, emotions are shaped by our cultural frameworks, hence they are shaped by our biases, prejudices, assumptions and beliefs. As DiAngelo further elaborates that these frameworks are utilized to build social relationships and social relations are political nature. This makes me realize that the emotions considered radical and dangerous should be freed from the oppressive cultural, systemic and dominant frameworks. We, the oppressed and marginalized individuals do not have to deny, suppress or dismiss our emotions in the face of injustices and inequities. This reaffirms my belief that impossible is indeed possible as we continue to destroy the historical oppressive structures inside and outside us.
I want to conclude by emphasizing the fact that we all have our flashlights, our "Casco" and how can we create growth inside and outside us so that we can co-exist at the basic and universal levels.
Canadian Arab Women's Association (formerly known as The Arab Women of Waterloo Region)