On Tuesday November 16th protests took place at two Calgary Board of Education (public) high schools, Central Memorial and Western. Young women at both high schools staged a walk-out in frustration over the rape culture and the unwillingness to address it. Jade, Haley, Eliza, Livia and Emma, organizers of the walk-out know what is needed:
Safe spaces and safe learning environments for everyone
A responsive and accountable administration
Holistic consent education included in the curriculum
This reminded me of a viral post made by Chanel Contos from Australia that we posted about on our Instagram in February of this year. Her IG post asked followers if they, or someone they knew, had been assaulted at school. In 24 hours over 200 people said they had. She made a website, Teach.Us.Consent. and to date 6723 testimonies have been posted. Reading the testimonies is sadly unsurprising, but absolutely heartbreaking and really difficult. (I wonder how many men have read the testimonies). No young woman should ever be treated this way, should have this experience, should have to carry this by themselves, and face retribution for speaking up. Chanel is working with the Australian government to have consent included at all levels of the curriculum.
Making Waves (Abby, Amy and me) connected over Zoom with Jade and Hayley on Thursday, and they want to see change. We want to see change too! We talked about how we can help make change happen so that this issue doesn’t get dismissed and ignored. It’s too important, and girls in school have been dealing with this for far too long. Do you want to make some waves? Write to:
The Minister of Education
The Deans of Education at your University (teachers need training on rape culture and ensuring a safe learning environment)
The Minister for Women, Gender Equality and Youth, Marci Ien
Although Education is under provincial jurisdiction, it seems to me that young women across Canada have had enough of the rape culture that infiltrates almost every part of their lives given the protests that have taken place at universities this fall. The Minister should at the very least be aware of our concerns, and hopefully sees this as an issue that is so critical to more than half the population that she will work to advance it.
Join us at the meeting Sunday Nov 21st (tomorrow) at 5 pm to learn more about what Jade and Hayley are doing, and how we can help make a difference.
Meet Canadian Documentary Filmmaker, Amber Fares
Saturday Nov 27th 2 pm MT
Yes, this is actually happening! Alberta-born Amber Fares, award winning documentary filmmaker, will be joining us NEXT Saturday at 2 pm MT to talk about her work in advancing social issues through film (can I still use that term ‘film’?). Watch Speed Sisters and Reckoning with Laughter on your own (Amber has given us the password so Speed Sisters is free!) and join us to hear from how a woman with an unconventional career highlights women with unconventional lives. Links for the movies are also on the Eventbrite registration. Thanks Medeana!
Register OPEN on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/amber-fares-director-producer-cinematographer-wavemaker-tickets-210451404817
Or through our website.
Speed Sisters: https://vimeo.com/122164559 pw: $peed$isters
Reckoning with Laughter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNO2QkAh-5s
There are some incredible online events coming up in the next couple weeks, that are worth your time.
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.
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.
Opportunities to Make Waves
UNICEF Youth Advocacy Program (13-24)
Applications Open: Deadline Dec 17th
Living in Canada
Passionate about learning or further developing your advocacy knowledge and skills
Able to commit 2-5 hours per month from February to December
There was not one word about gender equality at the Youth Summit, so clearly One Youth needs some wavemakers!
Prime Minister’s Youth Council (16-24)
Check out this page for info on the application process and to get notifications when applications open.
Waves YOU Are Making
Orla, who is 13, wrote her first wave making letter. Her class has a significant project due on Monday and a unit test on Tuesday. She wants to do well on both (so do her classmates), so she sent a note through D2L and asked if the test could be moved to Thursday. The next day the teacher told the class she had received a request to have the test moved and took a vote. Success! Orla’s well-written, respectful and reasonable request was listened to and acted upon. The test was moved to Thursday and Orla learned about the power of her voice to make positive change.
Waves I Am Making
-wrote to 2 Trustees (heard back from Nancy Close the next day) highlighting the demands from the walk-out on Tuesday at 2 CBE high schools
-wrote to Lainey Gossip requesting that a climate crisis lens should be added to celebrity gossip along with the existing gender and diversity lenses
-wrote to my community association about their communication regarding densification and got Lisa fired up!
-wrote to CBC’s q about the fashion segment on fossil fuels which barely addressed fossil fuels at all and wasn’t presented by someone who is truly knowledgeable about fashion and the climate crisis.
Carol took this photo in Ingelwood
Sigh. I don’t even know where to start. We are already in trouble at 1.2 degrees warming. Look at the heat dome in BC where hundreds of people died this year, and now the landslides and flooding which has resulted in Vancouver being cut off by land, cities completely underwater, 18 000 people displaced, thousands of animal deaths and missing people. The Globe & Mail has an excellent article on how these events are caused by the climate crisis and have a compounding effect.
Not enough was achieved at Cop26. I subscribed to the Climate Action Tracker which is excellent. Here is their info graphic for the outcomes of the conference, but really you should read the whole newsletter. What this means is we can expect not only more of these catastrophic events, but worsening events.
Oil Company Ads
The Guardian published a wild piece on oil ads that you have to check out. The first ad, by Humble (later Exxon) says, “Each Day Humble Supplies Enough Energy to Melt 7 Million Tons of Glacier!” The piece takes the reader through the evolution of the messaging and smoke and mirrors used to hide the impact of the fossil fuel industry.
Update on Lauren MacDonald, the activist who called out Shell CEO
Remember how Lauren said directly to Ben Van Beurden, CEO of Shell, “I hope you know that as the climate crisis gets more and more deadly, you will be to blame.” and walked off the stage as he refused to stop the appeal from the Dutch Courts ordering Shell to cut emissions by 45%? Well, Mary Annaïse Heglar and Amy Westervelt wrote an amazing piece for The Nation about the new generation of climate activists, including Lauren. These youth activists have seen that politeness doesn’t work. They have seen that respect doesn’t work. Science doesn’t work. Suggesting solutions doesn’t work.
Van Beurden went home and said he wasn’t attending COP26 because he felt “unwelcome”.
Christiana Figueres cried after Lauren confronted Van Beurden, “not because she’d suddenly realized the folly of inviting an oil exec to a climate event, but because the conflict was all so ugly.”
The final paragraph is a doozy:
If you’re more concerned about manners than survival, understand that that is a luxury.
If you are fighting for a livable future, isn’t that worth a little discomfort?
After all, if you find civil disobedience unpleasant, you’re gonna hate climate change.
Compromise and civility are the comforts of the rich and powerful.
If we want elites to act, we’re going to have to make their complacency uncomfortable, and it’s going to require some incivility.
Did you hear that the majority of Canadians support an oil and gas emissions cap?
“Sit tight and assess”
Jennifer Lawrence has a new movie out. It’s about a comet hitting the earth, but no joke, I think it is a metaphor for the climate crisis. Watch this trailer and let me know.
10 Ways to Confront the Climate Crisis Without Losing Hope by Rebecca Solnit. It is so good and exactly what we are doing at Making Waves. We make sure we are informed, we are paying attention to what is happening, we are building community, we are hoping and asking for change, and more. Worth your time and a bookmark so you can come back to it.
Sondra Meszaros Amplifying Women Artists
Sondra Meszaros is an artist and educator, and has a phenomenal Instagram that features women artists who are making waves. Shannon introduced me to her when we were at Contemporary Calgary.
Everyone 6+ should be allowed to vote
I’m in full agreement. Why are young people the only group not allowed to participate in democracy? Is it a true democracy when those 17 and younger don’t have a voice? Check out this cool solution to the generational divide.
Buffy Sainte-Marie is Now A Stamp!
I remember reading about Buffy when I was in junior high, and falling for her hard. She was the first Indigenous person to win an Oscar. The first person to breast feed on television. She was instrumental in Joni Mitchell’s career, she said in an interview on CBC that “we have to raise boys differently”. Not only is she an incredible song-writer and musician, everything about her is an activist and she is passionate about Indigenous rights and the environment. Canada Post honoured her with a stamp:
Taylor Swift Performed a 10 minute song on SNL
And it was glorious. All Too Well was an incredible performance, and part of Taylor’s masterful move to re-record her masters, in order to devalue the original masters. This song, it’s release from the vaults, and performance on SNL was a clear demonstration of Taylor’s skills as a songwriter, musician, performer and business woman (here is the Taylor Swift post Bernadette!). And she is just 31 years old! The original song was written 10 years ago and not released, but it was clearly only meant to be released now as Taylor didn’t have the performance skills back then, nor the vocals (she was sometimes a bit wobbly singing live) that she does now.
While songs everywhere are getting shorter, Taylor’s are getting longer. And All Too Well is a Monster at 10:13. But I guarantee you will not be bored for a second as there is such strong story-telling and so much emotion in the song. That level of emotion was, admittedly, startling. It is a lot. Especially when you consider the relationship she is singing about happened a loooong time ago, and lasted 3 months. Unfortunately not only is Taylor and her song getting a lot of attention, Taylor’s fans have been harassing Jake Gyllenhaal, his sister, his friends, his family as a result of Red Taylor’s Version being released.
November has been a month of global domination for Taylor Swift and Adele, two powerhouses in the music industry who dropped new albums this month. Both women write long songs, with long and complex sentences. Both women take an active role in the business side of the industry—Adele co-executive produced her special Adele One Night Only. And Adele is also young, just 33.
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!
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!
Making Waves is a grassroots intergeneration organization that encourages women, especially young women 14-22 to speak up and make positive change. Everything we do is made with, by, and for young women and is offered at no cost to ensure there is no financial barrier to participation. We welcome all self-identifying women, non-binary and gender non-conforming individuals who feel they would benefit from our conversations.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with the action in the subject line. Want to know more about us? Check out our website, www.makewavesmakechange.ca