Beyond stereotype

Earlier this month, Maclean’s magazine created a challenge for my city when it called Winnipeg the most racist city in Canada. A feature article explained why. While there were those who disagreed with the assessment, or tried to bring nuance to the claims, many others simply set about doing something about it. If the article was “a gift in barbed wire,” as I’ve heard it described, they decided to open the gift, never mind the scratches it might involve. MACLEANS-cover

On Monday evening, Rosanna Deerchild, writer and CBC broadcaster, and face of the recent Maclean’s cover, along with Heather Plett, connection facilitator, invited people to the Forks–whoever wished to come–for an informal dinner and discussion about race relations and the path forward in our city. Some 80 people showed and I among them. Continue reading

A string of December thoughts

I meant to gather some reflections on winter, sew some meaning through them as a Christmas wish for you, my readers, but already I know I can’t pull it off. So how about I just hang a string of disjointed thoughts (in mostly muted colors) and thank you in advance for receiving them as is.

A Child’s Death

On Sunday we got the terrible news that our nephew’s nine-year-old son in Paraguay (where my husband’s family lives) was killed in a motorcycle accident. How these things happen: the father and his son riding home after a bit of a visit elsewhere in the (farming) village, the mother emerging from their driveway in the car at the very moment they reached it,  he braking, the bike flipping and the child was under it and with a last gasp his life ended. The funeral was this morning. The father is the age of our oldest son, they played together when we lived in Paraguay, they have children the same age. “There are no words I can write that will make this better,” our son wrote his cousin, “but please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.” There are no words indeed. Continue reading

Links to wisdom

As news of the death of Osama Bin Laden broke last evening, with that peculiar voyeuristic excitement such events take on as we sit nearly mesmerized in front of the television and listen to commentators say the same thing over and over again — Osama Bin Laden is dead, Osama Bin Laden is dead, Osama Bin Laden is dead — the reaction seemed all jubilation. I felt uneasy, I confess, but wasn’t sure if I should. I’m Canadian, after all, not a New Yorker, not an American. But this morning I began to hear others expressing similar dis-ease, in comments on Facebook, in blog posts, places like that. Here’s one piece of wisdom (“Vengeance does not equal peace”) that touched me especially, from Heather Plett, because she spoke to this situation from a place of deep learning of her own.

And then I was running some errands and caught Jian Ghomeshi’s interview with Maya Angelou on Q at CBC. And that was another gift of wisdom on this Monday, nothing to do with Osama Bin Laden, but one sentence after the other in that thoughtful, melodious voice of hers, about being human, getting the job she wanted when no one would give her the time of day because she was “Negro,” saying sorry, how we carry home with us, being a role model, and more. If you have 23 minutes or so, why not have a listen, here. Hers is such a beautiful spirit.