Sat Feb 21: Decolonizing Our Minds: U of T

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Maysie Maysie's picture
Sat Feb 21: Decolonizing Our Minds: U of T

This looks good and I will probably be going. If any babblers want to meet up let me know.


Decolonizing Our Minds: A Day of Panel Discussions on Activism, Food and Performances

Saturday, February 21, 2009
10:00am - 5:00pm
University of Toronto
New College Wilson Hall Lounge 2nd floor
40 Willcocks Street
Toronto, ON


Sign in and Light Refreshments

10:30- 10:40am

Performance by Isabel Lay

Panel Discussion I:
Confronting Systemic Discrimination
Rod Michalko
Lee Maracle
Kabir Joshi-Vijayan (NOCOPS)
Stan Doyle -Wood

11:50- 12:20pm

12:20- 12:45
Performance by Dub Poet D'bi Young

12:45- 1:15

1:15- 2:00pm
Panel Discussion II:
Challenging Racist Policies and the Regulation of Marginalized Identities
Sherene Razack
Fariah Chowdhurry (NOII)
Arnold Itwaru

2:00- 2:30pm

2:30- 2:45pm

2:45- 3:00pm
Performance by Wasun and Unsung from Basics / Hood-2-Hood

Panel Discussion III:
Resisting Neo-Colonialism and the Suppression of Dissent
Saron Chebressellassie (UBSR)
Hamman Farah (SAIA at York)
Golta Shahidi (Fight Fees 14)
Rafeef Ziadah (3rd generation Palestinian, CAIA)
Sid Ryan (CUPE Ontario)

4:15- 4:45pm

4:45- 5:00pm
Closing remarks and performances by Stolen from Africa

Further information: Semra Eylul Sevi at [email protected]
Endorsed by OPIRG



Maysie Maysie's picture

Bump! This Saturday!

Maysie Maysie's picture

Final bump as I'm on my way out the door.

Machjo, if you're reading this: I live my life as a mixed race Asian woman in a racist, sexist mono-racial world. I know tons about beginner, intermediate and advanced anti-racism and anti-oppression theory, education and activism. I make my living consulting and educating on these issues. I'm going to this event today to learn, because learning about these issues is never over.

All: if anyone is interested, I'll post some of my thoughts and reflections on the day. 


Would definitely be interested to read your thoughts on the event.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

I'd love to hear a brief recap of the day Maysie.  First, because I don't think I even understood colonialism before I found babble.  Second, there's something about de-colon-izing our minds that sounds so good.  I'd certainly like to get some shit out of it if I can.

Maysie Maysie's picture

This past Saturday I went to a one-day conference at U of T called Decolonizing Our Minds, organized by ESSU and CARSSU at U of T. The first panel was Confronting Systemic Discrimination. The speakers were Lee Maracle, Kabir Joshi-Vijayan (NOCOPS), Stan Doyle -Wood and Rod Michalko.

I've loved Lee Maracle's work for a very long time. It's probably been over 20 years since I first read "I am Woman" and "Ravensong". She was the main reason I came to the conference, and was the first to speak. She talked of Canada's disconnect from First Nations people, people of colour and all women. She made connections between the murder of First Nations women in BC, the recent massacre in Gaza and violence supported and paid by the West in Africa, South America and Australia. She talked about Canadian culture, and how we're always looking for more, rather that for better. We seek money for redress of wrongs done to First Nations communities, rather than self-determination. As colonized people she advised us to take our place in action for change, and to refuse to be silenced. Decolonization involves changing the way we think about our connections to each other and to the natural world.

Kabir Joshi-Vijayan was a high school student, I think he was 15 or 16 years old.  He talked about the role of the public education system to racialize and criminalize students of colour. As a student in the TDSB he described the decision to place armed police officers in 20 schools across Toronto as a racist, anti-poor violent strategy meant to intimidate and harm young men of colour. Kabir briefly summarized Ontario's policing history from the 1990s to the present, emphasizing the ways in which the various "crackdowns" on crime have affected Black, poor and indigenous communities. The "Safe Schools Act" continues this trend.

Stan talked about his personal experiences as a racialized student and the violence he experienced by his teachers in the classroom. He talked about enforced knowledges, and the hegemony of abstract knowledge being valued and taught along with the curriculum itself, that this is a process of violence.

Rod is a professor of disability studies and he talked about how we are all affected by and implicated in the colonization process. He talked about finding a place as a disabled body, and that all the spaces he finds are occupied by others. These others are concepts and images (I would call them stereotypes) of who you are and what you are, that people pre-suppose and project onto one's self. He talked about how he, as a disabled person, haunts people's sense of normalcy, and he is a spectre and a ghost of what their future is, namely, disability and death. He talked about a third space that's inbetween, in which normalcy, which can't see itself, can be examined closely and deconstructed.

I greatly enjoyed the first panel, and was unfortunately not able to stay for the other two.