Our members Iman Bukhari and Mansharn Toor are excited to present at the 2018 FCSSAA Annual Conference. The presentation will take place on November 29 and be focused on "Looking at Race Relations across Canada in 2018."
Learn more about the conference.
Content warning: there is use of a racial slur in the content.
De Mule Ah De World is a multimedia exploration of what it means to be a Black woman through photography, music and spoken word poetry. Spoken word artist Mel Vee interviewed seven Black women from diverse sexual orientations and religious, ethnic and cultural backgrounds shared their experiences of womanhood and the shifting perspectives around the unique convergence of both Blackness and womanhood and distilled them into a multimedia experience.
Before Intersectional feminism became embedded into the feminist and social justice lexicon, Black American author and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) spoke of the unique texture of existing at the bounds of multiple marginalized identities in her seminal work, Their Eyes Were Watching God.
So de white man thrown down de load and tell de nigger man tuh pick it up. He pick it up because he have to, but he don't tote it. He hand it to his womenfolks. De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see. Ad been prayin' duh it tuh be different wid you. Lawd, Lawd, Lawd!
The above quote forms the intellectual background for this project and inspired the name. The metaphorical load that Hurston refers to is the unique position of belonging to at least two if not more maligned identities- Hurston was unapologetically queer at a time when that was almost certainly a death sentence. Huston in this quote begins to hint at the complexities of the Black woman's position in North American society as being at the bottom of the hierarchy, with the implications that Black women will serve and perpetually tend to the needs of others.
The mule is a potent and subversive symbol for Black womanhood. The mule, neither a horse or a donkey but a combination of the two, enjoys the privileges of neither but bears the burden of both. The mule is also a symbol of servitude and labour, known for its strength and ability to bear weight. Black womanhood exists in a state of precarity- racial justice struggles often center the Black male experience while gender equality struggles center white womanhood. Black women are often expected to cater to sacrifice one of our identities in the supposed service of a greater good, a good which has no qualms with our invisibility and silence. Neither male nor white, Black women are left to carve out our own spaces and define ourselves.
As an artist, it is my practice to center the voices and unique textures to the experiences of marginalized people. My new found desire to study photography was precisely to address the dearth of representation of Black women both behind and in front of the lens. I love and cherish the beauty of Black women and believe firmly in centering and showcasing our features, experiences and resilience from our own perspective. Too often, the bodies of Black women are exploited and put on display for the gain of others. It was the expressed design of this project to create a project that is by us and for us. Yet it is imperative for all types of people to hear and witness our experiences for the sheer fact that Black women's stories are human stories and are part of our shared humanity. To believe that the experiences of Black women are only relevant to us is to exclude us from the source of our humanity. Our stories must be heard and witnesses by all.
It is also my aim to subvert the narrative that Black people don't exist in Alberta. The majority of the women I interviewed were either born and raised or spent the majority of their lives in Calgary, Edmonton or Alberta generally. Our stories are the stories of Alberta/ Treaty 7.
Join us for our event in September with our newest team member.
De Mule ah De World is a multimedia exploration of Black womanhood by spoken word artist and emerging photographer Mel Vee.
Join our Language De-Coded event! This event aims to provide the public with tangible tools to tackle ableism, ageism, heterosexism, racism and sexism through our language. During the event, you will learn to adopt an inclusive vocabulary and promote others to accept, embrace and celebrate our differences. Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation will be launching their new resource guide and online app to tackle these -isms.
Panel members from diverse backgrounds and specialties will discuss their own experiences and tactics in tackling ableism, ageism, heterosexism, racism and sexism through language.
This free event is brought to you by a collaboration between Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation and CommunityWise Resource Centre. This venue has limited capacity, so we highly encourage attendees to RSVP with an eventbrite ticket. A waiting list will be available on the day of the event, but we cannot confirm spots if it's over capacity.
We would like to thank the Calgary Foundation for helping support this event through the Stepping Stones grant.
CommunityWise is located in downtown Calgary, at 223 12th Ave SW. There is a ramp available to the main entrance, as well as a series of stairs and a handrail on both sides. Bathrooms are gender neutral and there is a wheelchair accessible stall.
Location's Land Acknowledgement:
CommunityWise is located in the traditional territories of the Blackfoot and the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta, which includes the Siksika, the Piikuni, the Kainai, the Tsuu T’ina, and the Stoney Nakoda First Nations. The city of Calgary is also home to Metis Nation of Alberta, Region III.
Join us as we host World Cyclist and Photographer Kamran Ali, who is currently in Calgary, cycling from Ushuaia to Alaska. Kamran will talk about his cycling journey so far with visual stories of beautiful landscapes, human resilience, the environment and more. This is a great opportunity for cross-cultural learning as Kamran has travelled to many places and met many people along the way, gathering beautiful stories. After his presentation, we will also have a question and answer period.
Thank you to everyone who came out. We had about 200 participants of all ages and backgrounds. Here is a short video of all the fun we had. This event was organized by Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation and funded by Federation of Calgary Communities #ActivateYYC. Keep Calgary awesome!
A big thank you to Alberta's NDP government's commitment and leadership in addressing difficult topics such as racism. We recently had the privilege to sit at a roundtable discussion with Minister of Education, David Eggen, about Alberta's K-12 curriculum and how we can include diversity and pluralism in it.
Our organization will be releasing a research study about the state of race relations in Albertan schools in September with recommendations we hope the government will implement. And we are also working on a K-12 Multicultural Resource Hub that teachers can use in their classrooms. Keep a look out! Diversity is our strength, and we’ll keep working together to ensure all students see themselves represented in our curriculum.
Take part in our latest event - Calgary’s Audio Experience on July 21 at 6pm outside of Eau Claire Plaza downtown.
Wondering what an Audio Experience is?
YYC Audio Experience is a live event where attendees download an audio file and listen to synchronized tasks in a specific place at a specific time through earphones/headphones.
Here’s how it works: A week before the event, we will upload an audio file (around 45 minutes) that you download on your device (mp3 player, phone, tablet, etc.). Everyone meets at the specified location (Outside Eau Claire Plaza) wearing headphones/earphones, and blends in with the unsuspecting crowd. At the start time (6pm), everyone will simultaneously press play and that’s when the fun begins. A set of instructions will guide you and everyone participating through a journey of amusement. Laughter and confusion will follow as onlookers try to figure out what’s going on.
More information: bit.ly/yycaudioexperience
How do we define public art? Does it relate to our values or influence how we identify with our city? Perhaps it’s characterized by the relationship with artists’ process. Join d.talks for a discussion on the value of public art. Not the cost, but the ways that public art connects people to place.
Given the horrific events that occurred on Monday, we will be organizing a vigil for the victims of the Toronto van attack. This will be an open space to light a candle and come together as a community to show our support for Toronto. We will also have a large sheet where folks can write their condolences to the victims. It will take place at 6pm on Wednesday, April 25th outside of Calgary’s City Hall. All are welcome and invited to drop by. We encourage everyone in attendance to keep in mind that this vigil will focus on solidarity in times of tragedy, and therefore we will not be asking any politicians to speak. We believe this is a time to hold space and honour those who lost their lives. We recognize that many factors and intersecting issues were at play that led to this incident, and there will be times and places to address those issues in the future; however, right now we would like to peacefully unite and pay our respects to the victims and their families.
We would also like to acknowledge this ceremony will be held on traditional Treaty 7 territory.