The vision of Family Counselling Centre of Cambridge and North Dumfries is a community where there is equality, respect, empathy and inclusion. Layla Saad, author of Me and White Supremacy, writes, “You cannot dismantle what you cannot see. You cannot change what you do not understand.” Her book, originally a 28 day Instagram Challenge, debunks the traditional understanding of white Supremacy as extreme acts of racism and violence and instead breaks down all the insidious ways it is in the very air we breathe and disconnects all of us from our full humanity.
There is much work to be done in Waterloo Region with harm happening daily to Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC). Systemic racism is not just a problem in the United States but a problem in Canada and in our own local communities.
So how do we as a community move towards this vision?
- Stop denying, minimizing or blaming BIPOC for the righteous anger they feel for the daily micro aggressions and violence inflicted upon them as they deal with the trauma of continued oppression and discrimination.
- White people need to actively take a stand against racism. Use your voice and actions to promote awareness and change. Anti-black racism creates mass fear and vicarious trauma for Black people around the world. As Layla Saad has said repeatedly, “white silence is violence.”
- Prepare yourself for active engagement and dialogue by asking yourself the following questions:
- How do I speak up without causing further harm?
- How do I show solidarity without centering myself?
- How do I not contribute to vicarious trauma?
- How can I be part of collective healing and change?
- Be open to speak, share or be present in BlPOC spaces, but most importantly listen.
Our fear of saying the wrong thing must not keep us from saying anything.
The fight for equality and justice is lifelong work. Become a white ally, and practice the following:
- Put aside any perfectionism or ideas of “saying the right thing” because of the fear of rejection or ridicule.
- Lean in and listening to Black, Indigenous and People of Colour and allowing them to express their feelings and their needs. This will give you most of the answers regarding what is helpful and harmful.
- Encourage dialogue. Research anti-racism, discrimination and oppression. Do not expect Black, Indigenous and People of Colour to answer all your questions. That expectation creates unnecessary emotional labour.
- Show honest compassion for the BIPOC experiences. You may not understand but you can choose to listen without defensiveness.
- Be willing to genuinely apologize if called out by anyone from a group that has been marginalized and oppressed.
- Connect with BIPOC in your life. Let them know they are not alone. Show them with words and actions that they matter and their pain matters.
- Share the words of local authors and activists because it is personal stories that crack our hearts open and move us from apathy and desensitization to action.
We recognize the cumulative effects of vicarious trauma on one’s mental, emotional and physical health when we see the violence against Black people and the faces of their perpetrators.
Share the pictures and stories that honour the humanity of victims of anti-black racism rather than the pictures and videos of violence and murder.
We are doing some good things in Waterloo Region. Selam Debs is doing important anti-racism education and sharing her own stories of discrimination and what true allyship looks like. She is a small business owner and co-creator of the Woke Women’s and Men’s Movement and is one of the organizers of the Solidarity March on Wednesday:
KW Solidarity March for Black Lives Matter
Another local organization committed to raising awareness and working towards equality is Feminine Harbour.
Resources to begin or continue anti-racism work personally and with your families compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein, May 2020
Here’s a link to how a local neighbourhood came together in solidarity with victims of a hate crime to remind you this is happening here and there are ways we can choose love over hate or indifference
Hate with Compassion Article
And We are Here for You – We Never Closed.
Family Counselling Center of Cambridge and North Dumfries believes personal healing contributes to collective healing. Our agency has many subsidized funding options to support you in doing your healing work so that not only can you thrive, but you can help to co-create a safer and healthier community. We are stronger together, Waterloo Region.
To our Black, Indigenous and People of Colour community members, we stand in support of you and the pursuit of awareness and justice. We stand in solidarity and support for those who have been marginalized and oppressed. We strive to create a trauma informed space where all people feel safe, valued and fully supported.
To book a psychotherapy session, call (519) 621-5090 Ext. 0
To be put on our mailing list for our quarterly e-newsletters: https://fcccnd.com/take-action/
To donate to our organization and strengthen your community: https://fcccnd.com/donate/
To collaborate and be a part of our awareness and empowerment campaign as part of FCC’s 80th Anniversary, email: email@example.com.