Issue No. 10 Week of November 8th, 2021

Wavemakers!

Let me introduce you to the women who brought me so much joy over the last week and a bit:


Shannon Norberg. Connecting with Women Wavemakers in Calgary

I did it.

I finally went out for something non-essential and indoors in this covid world, that fit not only with dubious AHS guidelines, but my own much stricter criteria. (As long as ICUs are over capacity I’m going to be doing the minimum of following guidelines, AND following the science—you will not find me at a full capacity venue, a restaurant at any capacity, or visiting with multiple households indoors any time soon!).

Shannon, co-owner of Norberg Hall (where Shannon and her husband Jarvis are committed to gender equal representation), invited me to join her at Contemporary Calgary for the opening of a show featuring 3 female artists, Simone Elizabeth Saunders (that is her vibrant work in the photo above—she just graduated last year!!), Maya Beaudry, and Corri-Lynn Tetz, represented by Norberg Hall. It was a fantastic night out—and if you ever get the chance to do anything with the electric Shannon Norberg, jump at it! I got to use my QR code for the first time, there were about 400 people attending (capacity is 1200), and because of Shannon I met some amazing women making serious waves in Calgary. Standing in line to go in, Shannon introduced me to Kate Allen, Principal and Founding Partner of FRANK Architecture. Inside, I got to meet feature artist, Corri-Lynn Tetz and her super stylish mother. Shannon introduced me to Kanika Anand, Associate Curator at Contemporary Calgary, and Maud Salvi, Executive Director of Sled Island Arts & Music Festival. Swoon!! I lent my cloth for cleaning glasses to the CEO of Contemporary Calgary, David Leinster, and he and Shannon decided that Jyoti Gondek needed to know I was there, and texted her security team. Sure enough, when Mayor Gondek arrived, she gave us a very warm hello and we got to have a quick hug and chat after the speeches. And if that wasn’t enough, the evening ended on such a high, because after Shannon introduced me to Lisa MacKay of The Rozsa Foundation, Lisa said she had actually heard of Making Waves--the second person to say that in as many months!! (Will I recognize any of these people if I see them again? Not a chance—we all had our masks on.)

I’m going to go back to Contemporary Calgary next week to actually look at the art this time.



Aditi Loveridge: Pregnancy and Infant Loss

The first person to say they had heard of us was Aditi Loveridge, who Eden and I met at City Hall at the historic all-women’s meeting with the then Mayor Elect, Jyoti Gondek at the end of October. I had a riveting call with Aditi who is doing such incredible work supporting women and people who are dealing with infertility and pregnancy loss. Not only do she and her team provide support for those dealing with all the complicated emotions and physical impacts around fertility and pregnancy, she is helping to build policy around pregnancy loss and breavement. Even though “1 in 4 Albertans will experience a loss on their path to parenthood”, there isn’t a sufficient or flexible amount of time given to parents dealing with loss, and on November 1st Aditi addressed the Legislature about expanding Bereavement Leave .

Shari Graydon: Checking In and Addressing Online Hate

A few times a year Shari Graydon (the inspiration for Making Waves) and I have a chat about what is happening with MW and Informed Opinions. It is so great to be able to report on the accomplishments of MW, and the new elements we have added. It feels like how we are growing and what we are doing is authentic, works for us, and—most importantly—is making positive waves for us as individuals, as a group, and in our communities. We are a positive branch of Informed Opinions. Shari and the Informed Opinions team are working on a program that addresses online abuse directed at women. There are three parts: tools to help individual women deal with abuse, a visual dashboard showing in real time how people are experiencing online hate (similar to the Gender Gap Tracker which shows in real time the percentage of sources in media that are from women (about 30%)), and using these real cases of abuse and data to build a policy framework to hold online platforms and governments accountable.

Amirah: Making Waves at MRU

Emily Fraser (who joined our first online workshop in April of 2020) connected me with Amirah, a Health Sciences and Gender Studies student at Mount Royal University who is making waves advancing gender equality overall, but also with women in science and technology, and with racial equality. As soon as I saw Amirah on screen, we just clicked! (I hope she felt the same way). And then I found out she was from Singapore! I’m half Malaysian, and Malaysia and Singapore are merely a causeway and passport control apart. I still remember visiting my cousin in Johore Bahru, Malaysia when I was 17 and going to school with her in Singapore, just a short drive/bus ride away. Amirah and I talked about so much, and Amirah is such a relentless wavemaker. Carol always texts me after our MW events saying how impressive the young women of Making Waves are, and how they give her hope for the future. Amirah is another stellar example of that.


There is not much that is more enjoyable than connecting with friends and making new connections. And when those friends and new connections are so passionate about making a difference, are willing to put in the work--can’t help but do the work!--who are so willing to amplify and lift the voices of other women, it is truly energizing and inspiring!

Upcoming Events

  1. Movie Aft: Q&A with Movie Director Amber Fares, Saturday Nov 27th 2 pm MST, 4 pm EST

It’s happening! Thanks to Medeana, Making Waves is going to have the incredible opportunity to talk with award winning movie director, producer, and cinematographer, Amber Fares! I keep wanting to call this a Movie Night, but we are watching the movies on our own and discussion the movies in the afternoon, so Movie Aft it is! Register here

Amber loves to make movies about women who are making waves.


Speed Sisters is Amber’s first feature length documentary. Through Amber’s work we get to meet the members of the first all-women’s car racing team in the Arab world, Maysoon, Marah, Noor, Betty and Mona. These women are pushing against numerous restrictions in their lives, from being women, being women in an Arab world, being women in Palestine, to being women who love car racing and who are good at racing. We see how important car racing is for these women, that it gives them some freedom and control where they have very little of either in the other parts of their lives.


Amber’s latest film, Reckoning With Laughter, follows Israeli comedian Noam Shuster as she is about to embark on a US Tour when the world is shut down by the global pandemic. She returns to Israel where she has to deal with not only getting infected with Covid, but the surprising outcomes of the pandemic.


Please watch Amber’s movies on your own, and then join us on Saturday November 27th at 2 pm MST, 4 pm EST for a discussion with Amber about her work.

Speed Sisters: https://vimeo.com/122164559 pw: $peed$isters

Reckoning with Laughter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNO2QkAh-5s

2) November Meeting:

Date: Sunday, 21st Nov 2021

Time: 5 pm MST, 7 pm EST

Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84031230753?pwd=dTJKQlVZajNxMmMxdFJ0RFMyWld0QT09

3) Bookclub:

Book: Consumed: On Colonialism, Climate Change, Consumerism

Author: Aja Barber

Date: Sunday, 16th January 2022

Time & Link: TBA

If you are interested in being on a panel to discuss one of these books, want to moderate one of the bookclubs, or have a guest that you think would be willing to share their experiences with us, let me know!


Learn

There are some incredible online events coming up in the next couple weeks, that are worth your time. That we get to hear from all these incredible wavemakers where ever we are, is one of the silver linings of Covid.

  1. Youth Summit (for youth and adults who care about youth) Friday, November 19th

An intergenerational discussion focussed on young people’s recommendations for the future. Click here to register. I’ll be there! Check out this video (with Keanu!) about how things for kids in Canada aren’t as great as we might think. We know with the climate crisis and covid mental health is a serious issue for so many people, but especially young people. What change do you want to see? How can we make sure Canada is a country that values children and youth?

  1. Food Justice: Tuesday Nov 23rd 6:30 pm Pacific Time

Have you heard of Simon Fraser University’s Food Systems Lab? “[T]his woman-led research lab is focused on centring equity, justice, and particularly the voices of Indigenous partners in shaping our collective vision to achieve sustainable, decolonized and just food systems for all.” Hear from Tammara Soma how food is more than a commodity, and how “food represents family, identity, culture and spirituality.” To register, click here.

  1. Climate Justice: Thursday Nov 25th, 7:00 pm Pacific Time

Hear from Naisha Khan (Co-founder, Banking on a Better Future and Organizer of Sustainabiliteens), Anjali Appadurai (Climate Justice Lead, Sierra Club BC), and Melia Laboucan-Massimo (Founder Sacred Earth Solar, Co-founder Indigenous Climate Action) three stellar climate justice advocates in a session moderated by the impressive Nahlah Ayed. “They will analyze the plans and commitments that emerge from the COP26 climate summit and discuss the necessity of hope and joy in fighting the climate crisis. They will share stories of communities defending their land, water and climate within Canada and around the world. And they will leave us with tangible actions we can support to make a just transition to a more equitable and sustainable future for everyone.” To register, click here.



Speak Up 13-24 year olds!

Do you have thoughts about Canada? Would you be willing to share your opinions? Have you heard of U-Report? UNICEF Canada’s One Youth wants to hear from young people, and U-Report is a way for you to speak up about the Canada you want to live in.

U-Report is a free, confidential digital polling platform, and open to anyone ages 13-24. Answer polls on issues that matter to you, and have your voice heard.

There are two ways you can take U-Report polls:

  1. Receive polls via text message (all texts sent to U-Report are free!). Text “Join” to 1-855-490-0099 to get started.

  2. Receive polls via the Messenger App (for Facebook and Instagram). Click here to get started.



Waves YOU are Making

Lauren Schoenhofen

Lauren joined MW this year after participating in our April 2021 Workshop. She is a high school student in Regina, Saskatchewan. We were catching up by e-mail and this is a glimpse into our conversation. I asked if I could include her e-mail in our newsletter and she said yes!

Currently a pressing issue in Regina is a homeless tent camp called Camp Marjorie located in the city centre. This camp had to be established because of a change in the SIS program (Saskatchewan Income Support). Under the new program single adults are given $575 a month for shelter and utilities and $285 a month for food and other expenses. The cheapest housing available on Carmichael Outreach’s housing list was $650 a month for rent and utilities. People are simply not given enough to afford rent and have been evicted. An estimated 90-100 people, mix of men, women, and children are currently living on camp and many come and go throughout the day. There have been a handful of overdoses on camp too (speaks volumes to the largely unaddressed opioid crisis and drug abuse issues Saskatchewan has had for years. The government just granted funding for a safe injection site here in May). It is such a terrible situation and the government has failed to do anything to help in the month since the camp started.

Some medical students at my dad’s work arranged a drive for clothes, hygiene products, and food to donate to the camp. I joined them on the drive and helped sort things out and talk to some people on camp just on Wednesday [Nov 3rd]. Truly gut wrenching that all of these people have been put in this situation due to lack of proper social programs and funding. Currently, I am trying to figure out which representatives to write to about it.


Matt Duguid/CBC


Update: The City of Regina just announced a temporary 40 bed emergency shelter that will provide shelter, food, showers and social support for 6 months.

Rory Ramos

Rory also joined MW after the April 2021 Workshop, and is a high school student in Winnipeg, Manitoba

Rory wrote a book called Angles of Reality last year, when she was in grade 10. The book shows the human side of people experiencing poverty and is how Rory is addressing the very first of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, No Poverty. The book has sold out (applause!) and on Nov 18th she will be presenting Oak Table, a community organization that provides support for people within the city of Winnipeg, with a $6000 donation!



COP26 Update

I’m going to wait until the final details come in next week, but things are not looking good and Canada is definitely not doing enough. This makes me tear up every time I look at it.



Cecily Strong: Abortion on SNL

Cecily Strong gave one of the most memorable and powerful skits I have ever seen on SNL with her “Clown Abortion” segment (I can’t stop watching this!). Do young people watch SNL anymore? The energy was palpable—defiant, frenetic, brilliant, and with more than a simmering rage as Cecily spoke about her own abortion and how she wouldn’t be doing what she is doing if she hadn’t had a safe abortion.

“I had an abortion the day before my 23rd birthday…it’s a rough subject so we’re going to do some fun clown stuff to make it more palatable!”

“Hey! Did you know that one in 3 clowns will have a clown abortion in her lifetimes? You don’t, because they don’t tell you!”

“We kept this secret for so long despite being so grateful it happened! Honka! Honka! Honka!”



Judith Kasiama: BIPOC Women & Outdoor sports

Remember when Judith Kasiama made waves about 4 years ago by pointing out that MEC had no diversity in its marketing materials? Well, despite hiring her, Judith didn’t feel real change was actually taking place at MEC, so she left and made her own organization called Colour the Trails to encourage those who are BIPOC to get into adventure sports. Guess who showed up? Mostly women. Although that wasn’t the original plan, having all-women groups means that women can focus on learning new skills and immersing themselves into their newest outdoor pursuit. What is also really cool is that the activities and gear are subsidized to remove even more barriers to participation.


Photo by Pavel Boiko


Date Rape Drugs

When I saw the reports in October from Nottingham, England about women being injected with a date rape drug at clubs, I didn’t know if or how to include it in the newsletter, because nothing seems to have changed from my university days—it is still all about women having to protect themselves from being drug assaulted and raped by men. If anything, it seems like the situation is worse now with drugs so easily obtainable on the internet.

Is it happening more?

But then Avery called and she brought it up the topic of getting roofied. She said she doesn’t have data, but an increasing number of friends and acquaintances were talking about getting roofied (even though that is likely not the drug used, that is still the term). She had a friend who was sure she had been roofied and took herself to the hospital to be tested. Sure enough, she was right. There are numerous anecdotal reports, from both women and men, of being roofied, with the victims being fairly certain there was no sexual assault. Regardless, this is still an incredibly traumatic violation. Are more women getting drug assaulted? Is it that Avery is now in 3rd year university and knows more people of that age who are exposed to these crimes? Is there an increase in drug assaults as restrictions are being lifted through the pandemic?

Where is the data?

I tried looking for data, and it is non-existent. So, I checked in with a friend who is an emergency room physician. As I suspected, he said it is rare that people who are drug assaulted come in—most drug assaults are unreported. And if they do turn up in ER, there are two additional complications: 1) the drugs metabolize quickly so if they waited to come in, it is likely too late to test; 2) the test shows all the drugs in the system, so if the person has taken other drugs, they often don’t want to take the test and have all that revealed.

No medical reason to have these drugs

I did ask if there is any medical reason for a person to have these drugs that are used for drug assaults, and was told that there is no personal medical use for these drugs. So, perhaps there is an opportunity there for change. Can these drugs be controlled? From what I understand these drugs are used in clubs, and as sex drugs which makes the line blurry. I can’t see that bars and clubs are going to start searching people for drugs since drugs are such a big part of those scenes, and bars and clubs have never been interested in prioritizing the safety of women.

What to do?

So, what to do? Well, as scary as drug assaults by drink tampering is, and assault by injection even scarier, perspective is critical. The #1 date rape drug is alcohol. Knowing this, women need to make decisions to keep themselves safe (ugh!!). I don’t drink alcohol, but I know that isn’t the norm. Drink at home with trusted friends before going out. Only take drinks that are closed (you open them). Make sure your drink has a lid. Don’t drink at unknown venues. If the taste, colour, or look of your drink has changed in any way, dump it. Predatory bartenders are an issue. As are some ‘friends’. Make sure your group watches out for each other—don’t leave anyone on their own.

And this isn’t just happening with young people. A couple years ago I had an acquaintance call a few days after we were at a private event together. She had no recollection of our conversation (her husband had told her later that we had talked) and felt physically unwell the following day after just one drink. She was calling to try and fill in the gaps. She is convinced she was roofied and suspects the bar tender.

It is scary, and it isn’t fair. Why are the victims having to protect themselves? What about the perpetrators?

When will men take responsibility?

We need to raise boys and men differently, from when they are tiny. Is there any will to do this? Are men willing to make a huge societal shift? So many parents talk to their daughters about being safe, but do parents talk to their sons the same amount about the importance of not assaulting women? Do they check in with their sons and ask if they have assaulted women, are friends with someone who assaults women, have spoken up if a friend has talked about assaulting women, have stood up to protect a woman from being assaulted? Or spoken up against sexist and misogynist comments?

A couple hours of consent training the first week of university and a few hours here and there in school clearly isn’t effective. It drives me crazy that it is women who have to do all the work to protect themselves and each other and that not much has changed to stop men from assaulting women. Any ideas, wavemakers?

Making Waves through Protests and Petitions

This is so heartbreaking and I know I’m not doing this topic justice, but I am at a loss how to put our usual positive and action focussed energy on this issue. Girls Night In was a protest organized in the UK to show pubs and bars the economic impact of girls in that sector, but had mixed results. There was also a petition that received over 170 000 signatures in a matter of days asking for a law that guests at nightclubs must be searched, but on Nov 8th the UK parliament decided the existing laws are sufficient. Even though through “September and October, there have been 198 confirmed reports of drink spiking and 24 reports of spiking by injection, the National Police Chiefs' Council has said.” And those are just the confirmed reports—we all know there are many more unreported incidents. Sigh.

Maybe it is as simple as speaking up, encouraging those who have experienced this to speak up, and supporting those who do speak up. We can’t make change if drug assaults stay in the shadows.



Net Zero? We Need Real Zero!

Eriel Tchekwie Deranger, is a Dënesųłiné woman (ts'ékui), member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and mother of two. She is also the Executive Director of Indigenous Climate Action.

I heard her interviewed by Laura Lynch on CBC this weekend, and her segment stopped me in my tracks: Why decolonizing COP can help keep 1.5 alive

When Eriel talked about how Indigenous voices are not being included at the decision making level at the UN, she expressed it so well:

These systems are fundamentally created for colonial systems. They weren’t created for us, or for us to succeed within them. And then secondarily, the value systems that drive the UN Triple C process is fundamentally divergent from Indigenous value systems that drive our own communities. Everything from the decision making processes to what they hold valuable in the decision making and discussion processes… There are those that say the UN is a consensus based organisation, but then those at the table who are coming to consensus are colonial leaders that in many cases don’t have the consensus of their constituencies, and are responsible for the marginalization and sometimes the violent oppression and murder of their Indigenous populations. So how are we supposed to allow those leaders to negotiate on our behalf?

As we in Canada well know, Indigenous people have been fighting to be heard and have been speaking up to protect the land. Eriel spoke about how critical it is for us to think about the land first and the economy second—after all, we don’t have an economy without land:

Since [Kyoto] it has been perverted into a system that has been completely fixated on the economy. It’s fixated on how do we balance the economy while we save the planet. Not how do we save the planet, and secondarily save the economy. They have the situation very backwards and without the intervention of human rights advocates and Indigenous rights advocates, we would still be at a stage where that’s where the conversations would be. We would not be talking about capping oil and gas production. We would not be talking about ending deforestation. Instead we would be looking at ways to cook the books by looking for carbon market mechanisms that allow countries to offset emissions.

I have always been nervous about carbon offsets and have no time for net zero discussions (it’s smoke and mirrors, friends, just an excuse to keep producing and exporting and blocks effective climate policy), and to hear an expert who has been working for so long at the UN level for climate action express how they don’t make sense, was such a relief:

[Article 6 of the Paris Agreement] looks at how we now can talk about sacrifice zones in the North, and the so called protection of areas in the Global South, let’s say the rain forest. But, while that sounds like a good idea, the communities in the rainforest that have been sold this carbon market mechanism, with conservation, they are going to save their lands and territories, are now being told they have to limit their use of their lands and territories. Corporations are buying ‘assets’—that’s what they’re calling them-- in the rainforests, in these beautiful biodiverse regions, so that they can offset their operations, so that they can get to so-called net zero. That’s not net zero. We need real zero!



Stuff & Equality

Knowing that economic growth (aka capitalism) is unsustainable and has gotten us into this pickle/climate crisis (the muggle version of the Gemino Curse) I was thinking about a photo essay I saw years ago where families in various countries around the world were asked to put everything—EVERYTHING! —they owned on their front lawns. It was stunning. It really made me think about all the stuff we have. Check out Material World. I wonder what a 2021 version of those photos would look like.


The Caven and Ronayne Family, American Canyon, California, U.S.A., 2001


The Lagavale Family, Poutasi, Western Samoa, 5:00 p.m., October 8, 1993.


The Thoroddsen Family, Hafnarfjördur, Iceland, 4:00 p.m., December 15, 1993


Help: Hand Signal

This hand signal, developed by the Canadian Women’s Foundation at the start of covid, was successfully used by a missing teen last week to get help. This is possibly the best thing that has come out of social media! Initially developed for women and girls to signal violence at home, it is now a general sign for help. There was SO much attention on this signal and the CWF last week that I hesitated to include it, but is so important to keep spreading the message and make sure that everyone who needs it knows the signal, and that anyone who sees the signal, knows what to do.



Bookclub

January 16th, 2022 Consumed: On Colonialism, Climate Change, Consumerism & the Need for Collective Change by Aja Barber

March 13th, 2022 Iron Widow (Fiction) by Xiran Jay Zhao

June 5th, 2022 We Are Displaced by Malala Yousafzai & Refugee Girls from Around the World

If you are interested in being on a panel to discuss one of these books, want to moderate one of the bookclubs, or have a guest that you think would be willing to share their experiences with us, let me know!


Important Dates

Meeting Sunday 21st Nov. 5 pm MST (Zoom)

Movie Aft. Saturday 27th Nov. 2 pm MST (Register on Eventbrite now)

Meeting Sunday 19th Dec. 5 pm MST (Zoom)

Bookclub #1 Sunday 16th Jan. TBA (Register on Eventbrite, coming soon)


Thanks for reading and being a part of Making Waves!

I would love to hear from you! Tell me what you are up to, let us know of opportunities to make waves, and share resources to help us get informed. I respond to text, e-mail, WhatsApp and even an old fashioned phone call. We welcome contributions to this new format of newsletter—there are lots of things we can do. Right now I’m committing to publishing this irregularly (!). As always, I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, and we have plenty of room in MW for a diversity of informed opinions while we keep our efforts focused on advancing gender equality in our safe no-fail zone that we have created. Feel free to pass this on! If you want to say hello, share an idea, subscribe or unsubscribe, send an e-mail to hanita@informedopinions.org with the action in the subject line. Want to know more about us? Check out our website, www.makewavesmakechange.ca

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