This month as we explore what it means to be a people of equity, we invite you to a special workshop as one of the spiritual exercise options. For those who can’t attend the workshop, we ask you to take your sense of equity into your daily life.
Attend the Truth & Reconciliation Workshop
Wednesday November 11th at 7pm.
Come with an open mind and an open heart to this special “Blanket Exercise” workshop. This is a chance to understand the First Nations experience of Canadian history from their perspective. Local Elders will be in attendance. UCM is piloting this evening workshop for the Canadian Unitarian Council. It is part of a forthcoming Truth & Reconciliation curriculum.
“”How do you “unlearn” a story that you thought was the truth your whole life? It doesn’t happen overnight. The story needs to be retold from a different perspective. It may require multiple tellings in various settings. You need to understand the implications of the changes to the story on a personal and a societal level. And then you need to pass it on.
The same is true for the reconciliation process between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada, currently underway through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The TRC came to a formal close June 3, but the reconciliation process is ongoing. In order for reconciliation to truly happen, the “story” of Canada must be changed to reflect and re-centre the experience and voices of Indigenous peoples as integral actors to the history of this country. While there are many resources that have been created to address this issue, one of the more powerful “unlearning” tools that I have come across is the KAIROS Blanket Exercise.” Sara Anderson, KAIROS Canada’s Education Associate
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission concluded earlier this year, but the work continues across Canada.
In the days after the Blanket Exercise, please take some time to reflect on your experienc.e. What insight did you take away? How did your spirit feel after participating? Take time to meditate, create or write about your experience.
Choose an area of inequity that speaks to you, it might be racial or gender identity or related to people with physical challenges or another kind of systemic inequity. Learn more about the situation (some links to get started are below).
Work to raise your awareness. Pay attention in your daily life. Watch television with a critical eye. Read news media carefully. How often is the group you have chosen portrayed as a stereotype? Or not portrayed at all?
Take some time to meditate, walk, create or write about the experience of developing awareness. Expect to be uncomfortable, even resistant. These are hard issues to consider. Think about how the Unitarian Universalist tradition can support you on this journey. Where might you go for spiritual sustenance? This report reminds us that personal transformation lies at the heart of social transformation – and that personal change is easier for people grounded by spiritual practices.
Here are some websites to start your journey:
Racial Equity Tools is a treasure trove of resources, find a couple that speak to you.
Women in sports face an enormous inequality in access to resources. The Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sports tackles this issue.
A group in San Francisco is promoting ways to improve gender equity in the workplace.
This article from the Winnipeg Free Press notes that Canada still has work to do around gender equity.
If you are finding these exercises challenging, and don’t know where to begin, you might consider exploring what it means to experience white privilege. Take your time and reflect on what you have read – what new insights did this bring? Does it change your perspective on your daily interactions?
Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack is a classic text which illustrates the privilege that comes with white skin.
This Huffington Post article provides some suggestions for white people in the work for racial equity.