Our commitments to racial justice honour the lives of Ejaz Choudry, Chantel Moore, Rodney Levi, Juan López Chaparro, the many who have been unspeakably murdered these past months and long before. We’re reeling from the Black, Indigenous and Brown lives under assault from police & RCMP brutality, systemic neglect and violence long real but laid bare. We stand with Black Lives Matter, Women of First Light, the National Council of Canadian Muslims, The Urban Alliance of Race Relations, rights in mental health, racial, class and gender justice, migrant worker justice, restorative justice – these struggles are tied. At least, the welling up of protest and solidarity, cross-movement building, the hope and light of Indigenous matrilineal power is heartening.
Tatamagouche Centre is doing its own work and reflection. We are grateful for the trust that has been built and re-built in these past years, the grounding in racial justice, anti-oppression practices. They are central to who we are, how we learn and embody our organizing. We commit not only to naming and redressing Black, Indigenous, and Brown racism but to being a place of real welcome and safety, home. We acknowledge that over the years, at times we have done well, but we have often fallen short of our own ideals and done harm.
At our AGM this past weekend, we acknowledged the harm, the call to deepen our practice of living out right relations. A motion was passed by the dozens of members, exiting and new board members giving us a clear mandate against racism, to make it even more explicit and accountable. We will talk honestly with the many individuals and communities that form the fabric of Tatamagouche Centre. The aim is to continue to listen deeply as we find a path together in our anti-racism work. An action plan out of this dialogue will include but not be limited to an anti-racism harassment policy, conditions for BIPOC spaces and racial equity, for racialized participants and program leaders to thrive, for ensuring processes and learning grounded in anti-racism and anti-oppression.
At the AGM, we heard:…the importance of centring voices of racialized peoples in these dialogues.. the subtlety of racism…BIPOC folks are exhausted…the need to decolonize not only our governments but our religious beliefs, our language.. the critical connection of justice work to arts, contemplative practices… importance of knowing when to step back and bear witness…reflections on white, BIPOC, racialized…the importance of playing together…uncovering the processes and narratives that perpetuate the violence…the world is ready for change…It is time for re-imagining a new paradigm.
Meanwhile, formal processes need to listen deeply and widely or they’re not just irrelevant, they can perpetuate the violence. It is good to be reminded that corners of care and dialogue are not something you plug into a process. It’s about friendship, belonging, ensuring that Tatamagouche Centre is a real home. Being grounded in spirit and ceremony is key to listening deeply with an open heart. There is respect in bringing our own histories, cultural and spiritual bundles to these dialogues, not wanting to borrow others. There is rage, sadness but also hope, possibility. To lean in when we’re still learning to trust and re-trust. To be embodied in this together when we’re reeling from racialized trauma and violence. This is deeply spiritual work. This is the work.
- What learning, what courageous conversations will move us forward?
- How can we hold onto respect and dignity for each other when we’re struggling?
- What seeds are being opened and widened in this solidarity?
- What are you willing to offer, give up?