NETWORKING: Healthy racial dialogue facilitates change

Courage to share experiences is contagious and key to ending systemic injustice: community network

By Christina Shearme/Special to The News

Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Katzie Community Network has been responding to the recent events of racial injustice in our world and community with a series of interviews on how we can cultivate healthy racial awareness.

Our first interview was with Len Pierre, an Indigenous wellness coach and educator.

The following was inspired by his wisdom for our community.

Our community is not immune to the ill effects any systematic issues plaguing our world.

It is essential that we all take our place in this conversation and remain open to what we can learn.

Many individuals around the world have shown their courage in speaking about their personal experiences, and courage is contagious! The themes we see in the messages out there today are that we can help to change the injustices with a few small steps that start with us.

First, we need to make it a priority to listen.

This step can be challenging because it requires us to abandon our old beliefs – beliefs like “it wasn’t that bad,” or “it was a long time ago.”

But if we are going to really listen, we need to do so with an open heart and open mind and acknowledge the hardship we hear.

RECENT COLUMN: Youth and the coronavirus conversations

Second, we need to examine our own beliefs, and those we raise our children with.

Cultivating healthy cultural awareness begins with ourselves.

What do you believe specifically about the racial inequality in our country and in our communities?

How have you developed your beliefs?

How open are you to hearing the courageous stories that tell of a system that caused harm?

Cultural self-awareness is a process and is something we all develop over time.

If you would like to take an honest look at your cultural awareness please check out this self-assessment tool.

Third, we need to educate ourselves about what happened in our country’s history from a new perspective, one that honours the voices of those speaking today.

This requires us to open our minds and hearts to new information that will bump up against our old beliefs.

We can allow courage to be contagious in our lives as we lean into this discomfort and challenge our stereotypes so that we can start to build on something that is real.

If you would like to start learning now, here are some great resources:

Brene Brown

Canadian Race Relations Foundation

If you would like to view the community network’s interview series on cultivating healthy cultural awareness, you can find the interviews on our Facebook page. www.facebook/resourceyourcommunity.

We will be posting interviews throughout the month.

• WATCH: Natalie Binns on Parenting with Healthy Cultural Awareness

– Christina Shearme is the coordinator for Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Katzie Comunity Network

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• If there is more to this issue, please let us know about it. Email us at editor@mapleridgenews.com. We look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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