Wednesday, October 18, 2017

[naming ourselves: who defines Indigenous identity? article]

Indian Act (2002) artwork by Nadia Myre. Image from Walrus article. Artwork is a page from the Indian Act, taped onto a background, with white beadwork on red covering the left portion of the page.

About identity and names and power....
Recent identifiers such as “Native American,” “Aboriginal,” and “Indigenous” are deceptively vague, attempting to contain all of the complexities and differences of each individual tribe under one umbrella term. The problem with such terms, of course, is that the bigger the group they attempt to represent, the more they erase complexities and differences and encourage homogenization. While grouping all Indigenous tribes and nations together can be convenient, the reason these terms became necessary in the first place is colonialism. Settler governments needed a term to differentiate us from the settler population (i.e., not indigenous to or claimed by a tribe indigenous to Turtle Island) to figure out how to exactly describe the problem we posed to their burgeoning nation-states. We could not be “The Hopitu-Oceti-Sakowin-Kanien’kehá:ka-Powhatan-Chahta-Annishnawbe-Beothuk, etc. problem.” We must be, simply, “The Indian problem.” Bearing that in mind, the question of how to define Native identity should always be split in two: how the government defines us and how we define ourselves.

Read the rest of the article at: https://thewalrus.ca/we-didnt-choose-to-be-called-indigenous/

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

[OpenDyslexic typeface]


OpenDyslexic is a new open source font created to increase readability for readers with dyslexia. The typeface includes regular, bold, italic, and bold-italic styles. It is being updated continually and improved based on input from dyslexic users. OpenDyslexic is free for Commercial and Personal use.


Available at: https://opendyslexic.org/




Note: there are some book readers which are being designed to allow the user to change various view settings, including font size, font type (the poeticcomputation example offers OpenDyslexic as one option), spacing between lines, and more.

https://www.fastcodesign.com/90144268/designing-a-book-that-fits-in-your-browser-window

http://poeticcomputation.info/ sample site where you can change font to this one, etc.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

[answering messages of hate with love]


Here's an innovative and constructive way to deal with racist graffiti:
Ibo Omari has a plan for when he comes across a swastika painted onto a wall in his hometown of Berlin. He’ll grab a can of spray paint from the graffiti supply shop that he owns, and cover it up. But Omari doesn’t just erase the Nazi trademark—he transforms it.

Since launching Berlin #PaintBack earlier this year, Omari and his fellow organizers have covered up at least 20 swastikas across Berlin, leaving an array of whimsical street art where symbols of hate were once visible.

Picture of Ibo Omari transforming a swastika in Berlin, using spray paint. Photo by Deutsche Presse Agentur.

Read more about how #PaintBack is transforming neo-nazi graffiti into whimsical street art.
https://www.citylab.com/life/2016/08/transforming-neo-nazi-graffiti-into-whimsical-street-art/497867/

Thursday, October 05, 2017

[what does inclusion and diversity mean?]


I've been keeping an eye out recently for catchy ways of explaining diversity and inclusion, especially in ways that make the distinction clear, and came across this graphic in a presentation by Lyft.

What does Inclusion and Diversity mean? Left side "Diversity" shows an envelope and says "Get Invited to the Party." Right side "Inclusion" shows two people dancing and says "Get Asked to Dance". Graphic from Lyft presentation.


But it begs other questions: Can you dance with whom you wish at this party? Will anyone whisper about you behind your back or jeer at you openly?
Can you be authentic and free to be the person you are without fear?

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

[canada and lgbtq+ employees]

As we generally all know:
“... Canada’s LGBTQ populations have implied protection under Section 15 of the Charter. The Canadian Human Rights Act protects LGBTQ employees from employment discrimination; Bill C-16 … was put forth by the sitting Liberal government to update the act to include the terms ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender expression.’”

Then, there’s this news (not surprising, but let's spell it out):
“A recent study by Telus found that one third of the 814 respondents (half of whom identified as LGBTQ) did not find their workplaces safe and inclusive for lesbian and gay employees; 45 per cent said the same for trans workers. Nearly a third of respondents said they had experienced or witnessed homophobic or transphobic discrimination or harassment at work -- with fewer than 40 per cent of these incidents reported to employers.”

Clearly, not an environment to flourish in.

As well, some minority groups are acknowledged and others are not. For example, in some workplaces, there are Aboriginal Day events and Anti-Bullying events, but nothing official is done internally to recognize Pride week. What does it say about you and the group you are part of, when you are left out of celebrations? Is that a favourable environment in which to flourish?

Source of quotes: Pride Guide by Susan Goldberg
http://www.corporateknights.com/magazines/2017-best-50-issue/pride-guide-14961924/
[co-posted on September 18, 2017]

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

flourishing: an introduction


Flourishing. According to one online dictionary, flourishing means ”grow and develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment.”

Much is said these days about diversity and inclusion. Diversity, of course, is about numbers and percentages, about homogeneity and heterogeneity, but is no guarantee of good relations. A jungle has a diversity of wildlife, but that doesn’t change the fact that there is a food chain and that some kinds of animals eat other kinds of animals who in turn eat other kinds of animals. That’s not the kind of world we want.

Inclusion has to do with people being included and respected. As Royal Bank put it on their D&I page, “In simple terms, diversity is the mix; inclusion is getting the mix to work well together.” However, inclusion can potentially be perceived in other ways, such as the idea of including someone within an existing structure which remains unchanged or, in the case of the Borg, assimilation into the collective. Some people also add the concepts of justice and equity, to address the more systemic problems that are experienced by many people who belong to minorities.

Flourishing is like diversity and inclusion and justice and equity all together on steroids.

[co-posted on September 13, 2017]

Friday, August 25, 2017

[jasper diversity project]

Jasper Diversity Project banner on streetlight. Photo by rob g. Sign says, "Jasper Diversity Project. Embrace the uniqueness of your fellow community members."
I came across this diversity project while on vacation in Jasper. Banners featuring various Jasper residents, and some with sayings, hang on the street lights along the main shopping street. Here is how their website describes it:

"You're different? That's awesome. You're just like the rest of us!
The Jasper Community Team's Diversity Project showcases the value that Jasper's unique peoplescape brings to the community. The Diversity Project reveals the beauty in Jasper's human surroundings - something that can easily be overlooked in a place that is constantly on display for its world renowned natural landscape."

What I really appreciate about this project is ... how diverse it is! The people on the poster and the street signs represent a wide range of community members and a broad range of differences.

Along with sayings like the one seen in the picture below, people hold up signs about themselves. The poster to the left gives some examples; the signs on the street have more:
Jasper (Alberta) Diversity Project poster, from their website. Text: "You're different. That's awesome. You're just like the rest of us". "Jasper embraces diversity". Images show different groups of people holding up signs about what they love, related to diversity.
  • I love my freckles
  • Drama king!
  • Proud to be brown!!
  • Nous parlons francais
  • Proud to be newlyweds!
  • I'm proud to be native!
  • We are blessed to be in a blended family
  • I love being Christian
  • I love being gay
  • Winning my battle with depression
http://jasper-alberta.com/2439/The-Diversity-Project

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

[the dream we form by being together]

The Caller of the Morning Prayer, by Dale Auger. Seen at Borealis Gallery "The Dream We Form By Being Together" exhibit. Photo by rob g. Image of yellow and black bird, perched on a stick, above smoking smudge

"As part of Canada’s 150th year, the Borealis Gallery opens The Dream We Form By Being Together. This exhibition centres on the theme of reconciliation and emerges from the awareness that art can play a central role in the process. Drawing from indigenous practices and understandings, the show seeks to rebalance colonial narratives within the much larger story of this place we now call Canada."

The exhibit runs until October 1, 2017. If you are in or near Edmonton, check it out!

More info

Monday, August 14, 2017

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

[starbucks as social assistor]


Here's a very interesting article I came across on Fast Company, about Starbucks opening locations in struggling communities as well as military towns, and being intentional about hiring, training, and promoting local people.

Screenshot of top of article with title: "Starbucks is bringing hope - and profit - to the communities America has forgotten" and image of two youth, one drinking a Starbucks beverage.


My initial reaction is to be skeptical -- after all, big corporations are only interested in profit and the bottom line. However, while obviously these stores do have to be profitable, it does seem that they are serious about making a difference.

On a related note, and I say this as someone who works in government, it's quite amazing to see the serious targets they set and how they reach many of them early...

Read the whole article yourself, and comment below!

Friday, June 09, 2017

[open your world]


So Heineken put together an interesting ad about getting people with very different views and beliefs to interact and see each other as human beings.



Watch on YouTube.

What if your church did something like this? How might that help the members learn how to relate to people who have different beliefs and behaviours than they are used to?

...

Why should a church even have to do such a complicated thing to help people to get along with one another? Shouldn't the life of Jesus as we see in the Gospels inform us and change us?

Or we could look at it like this: the church is full of all sorts of people. On our journey of following Jesus and becoming more like him, wouldn't it be reasonable and right for the church to be helping people with all aspects of that? Including how to better love one another? How to see all people as well-loved by God?

Perhaps it's time to try some innovative ways to break through our prejudices...




More on this:
Huffington Post article on this ad

humanlibrary.org is the organization that Heineken worked with to create this ad.

"A Worldwide Movement for Social Change
Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover


The Human Library™ is designed to build a positive framework for conversations that can challenge stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue.
The Human Library is a place where real people are on loan to readers.
A place where difficult questions are expected, appreciated and answered."