Anti-Oppression & Liberatory Practice

I've included what you might have clicked on this link for here right at the top of this page, and I invite you to read below for more information.

Justice, diversity, equity and belonging in my work

(updated 27 November 2022)

I am committed to being uncomfortable, which in this context means initiating difficult 1:1 conversations when I see harm done in my communities--those I lead and those in which I am a participant.

I commit to dialogue as I strive to address racism, sexism (including diet culture, rape culture and toxic masculinity), heterosexism, homophobia, transphobia, fat phobia, ageism, ableism, healthism, classism, xenophobia, religious prejudice, poverty, capitalism and other forms of oppression as they show up in my life and work.

I am able to commit to discomfort and dialogue because I have training and, more importantly, lived experience in the practice of hearing and responding restoratively to others, through my training and certification in Nonviolent Communication and Restorative Circles.

I acknowledge that my efforts to address systems of oppression, internalized W/white supremacy and privilege will be imperfect.

I am willing to be called into dialogue and accountability when that happens, and when my words and actions appear to be incongruent.

 Gender and inclusion: What do I mean when I say woman? 

In previous iterations of my work I have used gender-related terms that I have been told were harmful, and did not serve the intention of inclusion.

After reflecting on the feedback I was given, it became clear to me that as a cisgender woman, I can’t hold myself out as qualified to facilitate “safe” space for anyone who is not a cisgender woman. Therefore, I am using the term woman (at least for now) in my marketing language.

This space and my work is for women, by which I mean people who have lived experience of misogyny.

People of marginalized genders are also welcome if they are comfortable in spaces that centre women and people who have lived experience of misogyny.

I can’t say I’ve got my gender politics down, just like I can’t say I’ve mastered my internalized White supremacy.

All I can say is I don’t want to “be right.” Rather, I’m committed to “getting it right” by receiving feedback, taking responsibility and repairing harm.

Anti-oppression and liberatory practice

Dear reader,

I am an uninvited guest on unceded territory that was stolen under Crawford Purchase (1783), and is within the traditional territories of the Anishnabek, Huron-Wendat, W̱SÁNEĆ, Oneida and Haudenosaunee peoples, in rural south-eastern Ontario. (For more information, see the land acknowledgement below.)

I am Jewish, and a W/white settler. I have W/white privilege because I “look W/white.” I have gender privilege because I am cisgender and conforming (femme) in my gender expression. My privilege also includes socio-economic and heterosexual (because, although bisexual, I’m partnered with a man). In addition, I am old, small fat, bisexual, chronically ill and recovering from mobility impairment.

The first step on my anti-racism journey in 2020 was to acknowledge my W/white privilege. I’m a direct descendant of Mayflower “Pilgrims,” and I used to be proud of that Mayflower heritage. Now I’m asking what it calls me to today.

Then, I learned I had been using my Jewishness as a cover for my W/whiteness. In the past I had let myself off the hook intellectually, because prioritizing my Jewish identity over my W/whiteness and W/white privilege allowed me to believe, “I’m W/white, but not like those W/white people.”

Next, I learned a lesson about centring W/whiteness and myself:


Didi Delgado said anti-racism work is not about the individual. 


"Anti-racism work isn't about changing the minds of racists. It's about changing the environments that allow them to practice their racism freely." 


Now, as a Canadian, my anti-racism focus is on reconciliation with the original peoples of Turtle Island, commonly known as Canada, and changing the environments in which I have influence.


 Land acknowledgement 

I am an uninvited guest on what has been for 10,000 years the traditional home of the Anishnabek, Huron-Wendat, W̱SÁNEĆ, Oneida and Haudenosaunee peoples. 


I am grateful to the ancestors and those who care for the land and water to this day and to the land that nourishes me and my work.


I am also a direct descendant of the White settler colonialists and literal Pilgrims, Mary Warren (Great Amwell, Hertfordshire) and Robert Bartlett (Dorset, England). They arrived in the land of the Pauquunaukit (so-called Plymouth Colony in what is now called Massachusetts) on one of Mayflower ships (called the Anne), in1623.


The land on which I now live is the ancestral and unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation. It was stolen (see below for more info) under the Crawford’s Purchase of 1783. 


Before settlers arrived, this territory was subject to the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement between Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee Nations to peaceably share and care for resources. 


After settlers arrived, it became subject to the Three Figure Wampum Belt, commemorating the sharing of this land with English, French and Indigenous Nations under the governance of Natural Law.


My understanding of the purpose of land acknowledgements and of the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada is that I am called to

-learn

-have conversations about what I learn

-make reparations

-live in relationship with the land and its original peoples.


This land acknowledgement is fulfilling a part of my responsibility to learn, and have conversations about what I learn. 


It also is your call to learn, have conversations, make reparations, and live in relationship with the land and its original peoples.


As of 27 November 2o22, for learning, I am  reading Unsettling the Settler Within by Paulette Regan. For reparations, I am making monthly to donations the Minwaashin Lodge, Legacy of Hope Foundation and the Indian Residential School Survivors Society. I am still working on learning to live in relationship with the land and its original peoples.


Crawford Purchase (1783): This land was stolen.  The British government did not fulfill its contractual obligations under the terms of the purchase. Thus the agreement is nullified. The land was therefore stolen through deceit.

The British government used the Crawford Purchase as a tool of oppression and colonization. Treaties were not seen by colonizers as nation-to-nation agreements–although they led the signing nations to believe this was the case–but as bringing the signatory nations under the jurisdiction of European laws. It was then claimed that the signatories were subject to these laws. Thus sovereign Indigenous peoples became subjects (not citizens), and European law was used to deny them their territory, their traditional ways, and even the benefits promised in the treaty itself. Crawford Purchase was the first of many treaties thus used. The land on which I live and work is stolen land.

JEDI Plan

Using the processes from Nicole Cardoza’s Anti-Racism Daily resource (Re)commit to your role, I identified the following.

I have influence with friends and family; in communities I “lead”; with clients; and in communities of which I’m a member.

Within these areas of influence, my role is:

  • to speak up where I have influence and privilege
  • to use my influence and leverage my privilege to address JEDI issues
  • to listen and be accountable when called in or out
  • to keep learning about and unpacking my W/white and other privileges
  • to make reparations by donating to Canadian Indigenous support organizations

My growth areas are:

  • STFU and listen, aka education
  • learning from Canada's indigenous peoples
  • learning about their call for reconciliation
  • learning what is my responsibility in this area
  • speaking up where I have influence and privilege

My Values

Love

The primary value from which all others flow is love.

Love, both fierce and tender, is a powerful force for change.

I see what I call secondary values as expansions of the principal value of love.

Nonviolence

(also known as love)

I aim for my thoughts, words and deeds to be oriented toward integrating truth, love and courage in action to preserve what serves life and challenge what doesn’t.

“Nonviolence is a way of being and living that orients, in thought, word and deed, towards integrating love, truth, and courage in individual and collective action that is aimed at preserving what serves life and challenging what doesn’t to transform itself so the human family can realign with life.

Even in extreme circumstances, responding nonviolently emerges from inner resolve, systemic and historical awareness, and a vision of a future Beloved Community within the family of life. In practice, such responses rest on the commitment to transmute reaction into the willingness to include all of life in our circle of care; to uncover and speak the fullness of what we witness; to take action based on our vision and values, ranging from dialogue to civil disobedience; and to face the consequences of our choices and engage with impacts on ourselves, others, and life as a whole.” Miki Kashtan
Compassion

In my life and work, I aim to embody and practice radical compassion.

“Every action is an attempt to meet a universal human need.” Marshall Rosenberg

“The curious paradox is that, when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” Carl Rogers

“Every bad feeling is potential energy toward a more right way of being if you give it space to move toward its rightness.” Gene Gendlin
Liberation

In my life and work I am aiming for liberation for all from all oppression.

Liberatory process is required for liberatory outcomes.

I am doing what I know how to resist and dismantle oppressive systems that perpetuate harms due to privilege(s), White supremacy, racism, anti-Semitism, transphobia, sexism, age-ism, fat phobia and any other -ism/-phobia, and to engage in new, liberatory ways of being.

I am willing to be called into dialogue about harms I have caused and how I can repair them and restore relationship.

Regeneration

(formerly sustainability)

In my work and life, I aim to care for all resources (emotional, physical, communal, social, animal, plant, ecosystems, etc.) so that they can be an enduring foundation for my work. I aim to create conditions in my life, in the lives of my clients, and in the world that allow us all to flourish. I have changed this from sustainability because sustain means status quo to me. Rather than simply sustain and not deplete things, I want to create conditions for flourishing.

Congruence

In my life and work, I aim to walk my talk. I aim to demonstrate my values in thought, word and deed toward myself and others, when it is visible and when it is invisible. I also mean this in the Rogerian sense, in that I aim to be appropriately transparent. Transparent meaning that my outsides match my insides, and I’m clear about it, and appropriately meaning that I share about this congruence in alignment with the relational process in which I’m engaged at any moment.

I am willing to be called into dialogue and accountability when my words and actions appear to be incongruent.