Thursday, June 18, 2020

Thoughtful Thursday

I write Thankful Thursday posts on the last Thursday of each month; sometimes I write two. From now on, for the next while, I plan to write a Thoughtful Thursday post on the mid-point Thursday of the month.

This isn't for any accolades or attention. Rather, it's for recording my own thoughts and personal journey, and in so doing, share things I've discovered. This, after all, is how I've found some of the following kernels, is through others sharing their kernels. You bet, I feel a bit uncomfortable, but that's a part of change. I think change within oneself starts with self-reflection, education, and small acts to promote consideration, kindness and care. @holisticallygrace put out this graphic a few days ago, and it really spoke to me. It is used with her permission. She has an excellent feed, and I encourage you to follow her.

I knew that reading was my go-to way to learn about things. Whether I google something that has come up on the news or in conversation, or a get a book out, non-fiction or fiction, especially when written by a BIPOC, reading educates. So a few things I've been doing this past little while, which actually follow (who knew) the green bubbles, but originated with the beige bubbles.

1. I watched the CBC doc "The Skin We're In". It was 44 min 19 seconds of my time well spent. I originally thought it was only able to be viewed in Canada, since where I originally came across it, is on CBC Gem. However, I discovered that it is also on YouTube, and so that link goes to the YouTube video. You can still find it on CBC Gem, and Gem is free for all Canadians now. Please do watch it, whether you think systemic racism exists in Canada or you don't.

2. I have had a few chats with our public library peeps, asking they purchase certain books, both hard and digital copies, for adults and children, fiction and non-fiction, and that we continue to highlight literature by and for BIPOC. One of the first ones I requested is Desmond Cole's book, The Skin We're In, and oh happy day, it has come in and they're mailing it out to me, since our libraries are still closed here. I will have to have a DrEARi (Drop Everything and READ it) because she said there is quite a long waiting list behind me, her daughter and herself both on it! I'm currently in the middle of, and thoroughly enjoying, Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan, so I need to get it read asap.

3. I watched this interview with Desmond Cole. Much food for thought, and enlightenment within, by an eloquent Canadian journalist and author.

4. I researched and followed on Instagram the founders of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. 
Alicia Garza, writer and activist
Opal Tometi, writer, strategist and activist
Patrisse Cullors, artist and activist
I also have read and am still reading about the movement, founded in 2013 by these three strong women. Here is a start Herstory - Black Lives Matter

5. I am mainly focusing on Canadian systemic racism issues, in my journey, and against Indigenous peoples as well as Black, and People of Colour. Two facts, direct quotes, from the interview above that are jaw-dropping shocking:

In Canada, Indigenous people make up a fraction of the entire population, yet they make up 30% of the federal prison population.

In Toronto, police kill Black people at 20 times the rate that they do white people.

I am giving my second rendition of my Grace quilt to Chantel Moore's little 5-year-old girl, Gracie. You can read the post about the quilt here. Chantel was shot five times by police in her own home, during a mental health wellness check. A social worker should have gone, not armed policemen. And if there isn't a social worker available, then we need to look at why, and I would bet that it's because of lack of funding. So take the money, the exorbitant, disproportional amount of funding that goes to police forces, (easily 20X or more than any other part of a city's budget) and funnel it, as Desmond and many advocates for defunding the police say, myself now one of them, to community support systems.

Build up our humanity bank, not our financial bank accounts. The wealth distribution in Canada, well globally, is all wrong, and I believe this is a factor in leading to our downfall. I just this minute heard on the noon CBC News, that a study has just found out that our wealthy are a lot wealthier than previously thought: the top 100 richest people, all billionaires, hold 25% of the wealth of our country. That if their assets were liquidated, it would be more than the GDP of Canada! That they pay ZERO tax on this wealth, only on their income, (think of all the loopholes, and offshore stuff they hide), and if there was even a 1% tax on their assets, it would provide 6 BILLION dollars of revenue. 

As well as mailing the quilt to Gracie, 100% of the money I make from the sales of the Grace pattern will go to the Go Fund Me page that Brenda, Gracie's grandma's good friend, has set up.

I hope that some of these steps I'm taking (this isn't all I've been doing) will help you find ways you can educate yourself and listen with your heart to these human beings.

One of the comments on my previous Thoughtful Thursday post was about Indigenous people and being sure to highlight reading and courses of action to take to help support them.
One of my favourite books I read way back in 1994, is Daughters of Copper Woman by Anne Cameron. I know 1994, because I read it on our camping trip out to Vancouver Island that summer, and gave it to Arlene, a part Indigenous woman and friend with whom we stayed for a couple of days. I have just now learned that it has a new edition out. Yes, it is written by a white woman, so perhaps now, many years later, I might find it 'wrong' but I like to hope that she did her best, and yes, probably made mistakes, but that she has recorded these stories, and made me feel an understanding and connection to the women and this culture.

Another I thoroughly enjoyed, written by an Indigenous person, and ha, read on yet another camping trip, often laughing out loud and reading aloud bits for my husband to also enjoy, was Medicine River by Thomas King. This was on the grade 12 English recommended teaching list, and I did do it with my grade 12s, who really enjoyed it as well. Thomas King currently is a professor of English at the University of Guelph, though he was a professor of Native American Studies at the U of Lethbridge and U of Minnesota prior to that. 

I love YA (Young Adult) Literature, and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, Indigenous author, does not disappoint.

So there are just three to begin with. Both King and Alexie have written other books. Feel free to add any Indigenous literature, non-fiction or fiction, in the comments since I am today focusing on Indigenous lit.


  1. I watched that interview with Desmond Cole, very thought provoking. A wonderful post! Nice to hear that Gracie will be going to Gracie!

  2. Oooh... I just put myself on the hold list for The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. I am the next one on the list so I should be reading it soon.

  3. Thank you. I will follow those links are start to educate myself and see what I can do to try to ensure the racism finally stops. Perhaps it will really happen this time; I truly hope so.

  4. Thank you for your kind heart and wonderful list of things to do. Purchasing Grace now to support the victim of another unnecessary killing.

  5. So much to take in, and whether you realize it or not, for me it lifted my heart. I have seen a lot of posts by people that lately have made me shake my head and question my thinking. Your post made me smile.

  6. This is a great post, Sandra! Thank you for all the links :)

  7. Thanks so much for your post, Sandra. Unfortunately, the CBC doc is no longer available on YouTube, but I did watch the interview with Desmond Cole. It seems like the same song where ever you go. I hope we are making some steps towards change. I've wondered for a long time why the police have to be armed at all. Apparently most police in the UK do not. If there is anything good to come from this pandemic, perhaps it is the opportunity for people usually caught up in the day to day rush to pause and take stock of what has been going on for way too long.

  8. You are definitely still a teacher, Sandra. Thanks for all the resources. It is amazing how fast this new awareness has taken hold, and we'll have to all hope and work for lasting effects. I used to lose patience with all the cellphone usage I saw, but without all of the tangible records of injustice as recorded on phones, I don't think we would ever have been shaken out of the status quo. (Sidenote: look at that link you gave with the graphic--GRACE!

  9. Thank you for this, Sandra. It's hard to know where to start and can be overwhelming, but change has to begin somewhere. I'll add your links to my reading/watching list.