I’ve been muted on the blog over the last week or so as like so many others, I wanted to take the time to listen, to learn, to really educate myself and to seek out and amplify the voices that should (and have to be) heard. I mentioned this on my stories recently, but the last little while has had a really tremendous impact on me. I felt previously like I was on the right side of the fight—that I thought, supported and did enough. But in doing the hard self-examination, in listening and really seeking out education and in thinking about the ways I’ve supported in the past, I realized I not only really need to be invested and committed to making real change in my community and for my little family (our tiny family of 2, soon to be 3), but most importantly, that I really, really needed to be doing more to educate myself, to challenge myself and to support way, way more, via amplifying voices, shopping from BIPOC businesses or creators, donating at consistent, fixed intervals (rather than doing it sporadically) and seeking out news/resources.
It was really important to me to take the time to STFU for the most part on my own channels and actually determine how to look beyond the here & now to figure out how in very measurable, specific ways I can take action in the future to continue to grow and learn. I think like with any other change you’re trying to introduce into your life in a sustainable, longterm way, you have to think about how you work and how you can integrate this into your life consistently. Whether that’s how you digest information best, your physical limitations or inclinations or whatever else you use to usually determine actions or decisions, I think it’s important to get real with yourself and figure out…how can I actually make this change permanent? How can I not be part of just a moment or a social media movement, but longterm growth, a social movement that starts with you and extends outwards?
For instance, being preggo right now I sadly can’t get out and be there for protests, or to show up in any group settings really at all because of COVID-19. But having always been a bookworm and especially because I’ve been reading so voraciously lately (whether it’s because of quarantine or just being at the beach or on the couch or on the patio all the time lately being stuck at home), this was one commitment out of the set of commitments I was making to really educate myself that resonated immediately with me.
My Commitment: Read one book a month by and about a BIPOC that details their experiences, hardships and experiences here in Canada.
Why Canadian? Well, first of all, I really just feel like Canadians are guilty of often being complacent. Don’t get me wrong…I am so, so proud to be Canadian, I think we’re a country that by & large is always working to improve, to grow and to be better. I’m really proud to live here and to be part of this amazing nation, now more than ever. But we have an undeniable problem with racism and a pretty terrible history when it comes to the treatment of our First Nations groups, of Black people, of Chinese and Japanese people, etc. What makes it worse is we like to think we don’t.
Yes, I’d say that in some ways we’re more of a progressive and diverse country, but we’re far from perfect and to deny a problem or to turn our head the other way when injustice is not only part of our past but a very active part of our present is wrong.
I also think that there’s something to be said for learning and mobilizing and acting at a community level—I just believe in starting small and casting your net larger gradually, and I think if I can really commit myself to learning about what is happening at home, I can hopefully make a bigger impact with communities right in my backyard as far as support, activism, etc instead of always looking outside of our country or exclusively watching the news south of the border.
I wanted to share my BIPOC reading list from Canadian authors today and I hope you’ll join me in reading some of them! If you’d like to follow along with me, this month I’m reading a collection of poems Calling Down the Sky by Rosanna Deerchild. I’ll share on IG when I’m rolling onto the next one and so if you want to chat with me about your learnings, thoughts or any other resources/recommendations you have, I’d love that! You can always comment, email me or send me a DM via Instagram. And if you’re not Canadian, I hope you still consider reading some of these or maybe look to authors in your own country!
Anyway, sorry a bit of a rambling post but I just wanted to share where I’m at, to share one of the commitments I’m making for growth and education and to just check in with you all. I hope you’re doing well, I hope you’re learning and growing too, I hope we can all come through this together to a better place soon. I hope for our next generation especially that we not only invite them into this better place, but that they are equipped and empowered to be better themselves.
BOOKS BY CANADIAN BIPOC AUTHORS
In Search of April Raintree by Beatrice Mosionier
The Skin We’re In by Desmond Cole
Forgiveness by Mark Sakamoto
Policing Black Lives by Robyn Maynard
Calling Down the Sky by Rosanna Deerchild
Stolen Sisters by Emmanuelle Walter
Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese
The End of East by Jen Sookfong Lee
Chasing Freedom by Gloria Ann Wesley
And I Alone Escaped by Sylvia D. Hamilton
The Jade Peony by Wayson Choy
My Conversations With Canadians by Lee Maracle
I’ll be updating as I learn and find more as well but these are the ones I’ve found so far and that you guys have recommended to me (thank you so much by the way to those of you who touched base and sent recommendations!).