Tuesday, November 14, 2017

[positive spaces]

Positive Spaces addresses the issue that despite Canadian law which prohibits workplace discrimination and organizational policy which typically echoes the law and the Charter of Human Rights, many workplaces are still not welcoming places for LGBTQ2S+ employees.

Positive Space programs typically include some or all of the following:

  • Training for staff
  • Posters and stickers to reinforce the training and to increase awareness by staff, clients, and the public
  • Positive Space champions - volunteers who "offer support, raise awareness, and wear and post identifiers to designate both themselves and their workspaces as safe."
  • Review of procedures and documents to ensure they are LGBTQ+ positive and inclusive

Positive Spaces and similar programs are intended to result in a declared space (declared as being a positive, welcoming and affirming space for LGBTQ2S+ employees), persons who have declared themselves as allies / advocates / safe people to talk to, and overall increased awareness. LGBTQ Positive Spaces are being used by various organizations to promote safety and inclusion of LGBTQ+ employees and clients. Here are some examples:

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

declared spaces inside declared spaces

cartoon about declared spaces inside declared spaces, with three people. By rob goetze

This site has extensive discussion of uncertain spaces and declared spaces. Much of it has focused on the big declaring that a church can do in terms of how welcoming and embracing it is. The outward signs, and the many inward ways which make the declaration more than just words and empty gestures.

One of the ways a church or organization can declare itself further, which has not been discussed here yet, is by having specific declared spaces within a broader declared space. As will be seen in the following examples, some of these specific spaces are physical spaces; others are "spaces in time". As well, there are also ways for people within a church or organization to declare themselves...

declared "spaces in time" within declared spaces

These are defined declared spaces that happen at certain times, within a broader declared space. Here are some examples.

example 1: standing stones services

Several churches in our parish hold Standing Stones services once a month, in some cases during the regular Sunday morning service time.
"Standing Stones is a gathering of Aboriginal and Non-aboriginal People to explore God in an Aboriginal Context.  We come to worship Jesus, infusing Cree symbols into Christian ceremony.  We smudge to purify our minds, hearts and spirits in order to come to a clearer understanding of God; we seek wisdom in Aboriginal story and scripture, we ask for God’s healing water and prayer on ourselves and our community and we celebrate God’s activities in our lives though the sharing of bannock and berries.  Standing Stones is a fresh expression of Jesus to the Aboriginal Community and to the diocese.  The hope is that this gathering is a means of Christ’s reconciling Love to heal ancient wounds and enlighten the next generation of all Canadians."(source)
stained glass windows at the chapel, all saints cathedral, edmonton. photo by rob goetze. windows, from left to right: medicine wheel, buffalo, bear, eagle

Monday, November 06, 2017

[the spirit of alex decoteau]

Esprit sculpture by Pierre Poussin, at Alex Decoteau park. Photo by robg

There's a new park near my office here in downtown Edmonton, named after Alex Decoteau, with a red sculpture by Pierre Poussin in the middle:
Esprit celebrates the spirit of Alex Decoteau. Alex Decoteau was a national hero with distinctions such as being Canada's first Indigenous police officer; World War I veteran; Olympic runner, and first inductee to Edmonton's Sports Hall of Fame. Composed of metal ribbons that intersect in fluidity, the sculpture stems from the silhouette of a man mid-sprint. Esprit strives to honour the achievements of a national hero and will serve as a landmark for the park, as well as for the greater Edmonton community. By choosing an abstract form, the artist aimed to render the artwork timeless and symbolic to as many people in the public as possible. (from the plaque)
I love the way it flows freely against the backdrop of a government building in rigid concrete ...

The park is located at 105 Street NW and 102 Avenue NW, Edmonton.

Monday, October 30, 2017

[those of us who stand outside...]

"Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society’s definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference – those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are Black, who are older – know that survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to stand alone, unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those others identified as outside the structures in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths." 

~ Audre Lorde

Monday, October 23, 2017

[Jim Fitterling makes the case for LGBTQ+ diversity and inclusion]

Jim Fitterling, President and CEO of Dow Chemical Company, says the following:
"Data suggests that about 75 percent of any organization’s LGBT population remain in the closet … because they’re too scared to come out. I know this from first-hand experience. I was one of those employees."

"Employees who feel connected to the workplace—who feel free to speak their mind without fear of being “outed”—and who feel connected to their co-workers—are more engaged and feel more empowerment.

Ideas flow more genuinely. People trust one another more. Collaboration rises.

Did you know, by the way, that natural work groups perform cognitive tasks 32 percent better when LGBT team members are “out” as opposed to when they are closeted?"
Read the rest of his talk at https://www.vsotd.com/featured-speech/making-small-talk-case-lgbt-diversity-and-inclusion

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

[naming ourselves: who defines Indigenous identity? article]

Indian Act (2002) artwork by Nadia Myre. Image from Walrus article. Artwork is a page from the Indian Act, taped onto a background, with white beadwork on red covering the left portion of the page.

About identity and names and power....
Recent identifiers such as “Native American,” “Aboriginal,” and “Indigenous” are deceptively vague, attempting to contain all of the complexities and differences of each individual tribe under one umbrella term. The problem with such terms, of course, is that the bigger the group they attempt to represent, the more they erase complexities and differences and encourage homogenization. While grouping all Indigenous tribes and nations together can be convenient, the reason these terms became necessary in the first place is colonialism. Settler governments needed a term to differentiate us from the settler population (i.e., not indigenous to or claimed by a tribe indigenous to Turtle Island) to figure out how to exactly describe the problem we posed to their burgeoning nation-states. We could not be “The Hopitu-Oceti-Sakowin-Kanien’kehá:ka-Powhatan-Chahta-Annishnawbe-Beothuk, etc. problem.” We must be, simply, “The Indian problem.” Bearing that in mind, the question of how to define Native identity should always be split in two: how the government defines us and how we define ourselves.

Read the rest of the article at: https://thewalrus.ca/we-didnt-choose-to-be-called-indigenous/

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

[OpenDyslexic typeface]

OpenDyslexic is a new open source font created to increase readability for readers with dyslexia. The typeface includes regular, bold, italic, and bold-italic styles. It is being updated continually and improved based on input from dyslexic users. OpenDyslexic is free for Commercial and Personal use.

Available at: https://opendyslexic.org/

Note: there are some book readers which are being designed to allow the user to change various view settings, including font size, font type (the poeticcomputation example offers OpenDyslexic as one option), spacing between lines, and more.


http://poeticcomputation.info/ sample site where you can change font to this one, etc.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

[answering messages of hate with love]

Here's an innovative and constructive way to deal with racist graffiti:
Ibo Omari has a plan for when he comes across a swastika painted onto a wall in his hometown of Berlin. He’ll grab a can of spray paint from the graffiti supply shop that he owns, and cover it up. But Omari doesn’t just erase the Nazi trademark—he transforms it.

Since launching Berlin #PaintBack earlier this year, Omari and his fellow organizers have covered up at least 20 swastikas across Berlin, leaving an array of whimsical street art where symbols of hate were once visible.

Picture of Ibo Omari transforming a swastika in Berlin, using spray paint. Photo by Deutsche Presse Agentur.

Read more about how #PaintBack is transforming neo-nazi graffiti into whimsical street art.

Here's a Canadian story where a church in Waterloo did something quite similar.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

[what does inclusion and diversity mean?]

I've been keeping an eye out recently for catchy ways of explaining diversity and inclusion, especially in ways that make the distinction clear, and came across this graphic in a presentation by Lyft.

What does Inclusion and Diversity mean? Left side "Diversity" shows an envelope and says "Get Invited to the Party." Right side "Inclusion" shows two people dancing and says "Get Asked to Dance". Graphic from Lyft presentation.

But it begs other questions: Can you dance with whom you wish at this party? Will anyone whisper about you behind your back or jeer at you openly?
Can you be authentic and free to be the person you are without fear?

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

[canada and lgbtq+ employees]

As we generally all know:
“... Canada’s LGBTQ populations have implied protection under Section 15 of the Charter. The Canadian Human Rights Act protects LGBTQ employees from employment discrimination; Bill C-16 … was put forth by the sitting Liberal government to update the act to include the terms ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender expression.’”

Then, there’s this news (not surprising, but let's spell it out):
“A recent study by Telus found that one third of the 814 respondents (half of whom identified as LGBTQ) did not find their workplaces safe and inclusive for lesbian and gay employees; 45 per cent said the same for trans workers. Nearly a third of respondents said they had experienced or witnessed homophobic or transphobic discrimination or harassment at work -- with fewer than 40 per cent of these incidents reported to employers.”

Clearly, not an environment to flourish in.

As well, some minority groups are acknowledged and others are not. For example, in some workplaces, there are Aboriginal Day events and Anti-Bullying events, but nothing official is done internally to recognize Pride week. What does it say about you and the group you are part of, when you are left out of celebrations? Is that a favourable environment in which to flourish?

Source of quotes: Pride Guide by Susan Goldberg
[co-posted on September 18, 2017]

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

flourishing: an introduction

Flourishing. According to one online dictionary, flourishing means ”grow and develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment.”

Much is said these days about diversity and inclusion. Diversity, of course, is about numbers and percentages, about homogeneity and heterogeneity, but is no guarantee of good relations. A jungle has a diversity of wildlife, but that doesn’t change the fact that there is a food chain and that some kinds of animals eat other kinds of animals who in turn eat other kinds of animals. That’s not the kind of world we want.

Inclusion has to do with people being included and respected. As Royal Bank put it on their D&I page, “In simple terms, diversity is the mix; inclusion is getting the mix to work well together.” However, inclusion can potentially be perceived in other ways, such as the idea of including someone within an existing structure which remains unchanged or, in the case of the Borg, assimilation into the collective. Some people also add the concepts of justice and equity, to address the more systemic problems that are experienced by many people who belong to minorities.

Flourishing is like diversity and inclusion and justice and equity all together on steroids.

[co-posted on September 13, 2017]