Dear Members of the Community, Chers collègues,
I first want to share a very thoughtful message from our Honourary Senior Fellow and Chief of the Mississaugas of the Credit, Chief R. Stacey Laforme. Here he writes beautiful words that inspire and challenge us:
To Massey College,
I hope that you are all safe, I want you to know you are in my thoughts and prayers.
This is a difficult time for everyone made worse so because of the racism and discrimination that is a large part of our world.
My people fight for our place in Canada every day, from poverty and discrimination, missing and murdered women, suicides, theft of our children, it is a struggle for us and we will prevail because we must.
Yet I never forget that we are not the only ones struggling with violence and hate in Canada and the world. I will always stand and support my brothers and sisters who struggle in a world that doesn’t embrace diversity. I shudder to think of a world where we are all the same, uniqueness and diversity are how we grow, how we become better tomorrow than we were today.
We need to be heard. You see the voice that is prominent across this world is one of isolation and fear, it teaches hate and contempt. If we allow it to be the only voice then soon there will be no room for any other voices. We must stand and our voice of unity and inclusiveness must be heard. We cannot be silent we must show the people of this world that there is a stronger voice that must be heeded one of unity inclusion and love, we must say you do not represent us you are not who we of this world are, for we cannot leave the fate of our children, our future in the hands of those who teach fear, divisiveness and hate.
On common ground
No one thing, can define us
For we are complex creatures, dreamed in the mind of the creator
We laugh when we should cry
We cry when we should laugh
We joke when in pain
We smile because tears could consume us
We love unconditionally and totally
We understand that family should come first
Yet family is not defined, solely by blood
We are quick to anger, yet no one forgives faster
We are loyal and we are strong
When we commit, we are unwavering
We have survived much, but do not mistake adaptation for resignation
You will always see us, for we will always be here
Standing for what we believe in, standing beside each other
Doing what is right for our children, our future
We remember our obligation to our mother the earth
And we remember our place upon her
We are a proud people and honorable people
We do not always do right, for we are human
And prone to the follies of humanity
Yet we strive to be better, to make each other better
To make the world a better place for the children
I know the Creator smiles upon us, no matter where we are, or what we do
For the love of a child is unconditional
No matter where life takes you, walk proud
I am sure that everyone hears or sees something of themselves in those words and that teaches us that no matter how far apart we may seem we are never so far that we cannot find common ground.
Not enough to share knowledge we must raise consciousness.
Be safe, be heard!
Honorary Senior Fellow, Chief
R. Stacey Laforme
Second, I want to invite you to listen to our two Massey Dialogues scheduled for next week:
Tuesday, June 9 at 4pm – To talk about the possibilities for a Feminist Economic Recovery Plan for Canada, I will be joined by Maya Roy, CEO of YWCA Canada, Junior Fellow Alumna Anjum Sultana, Director of Public Policy & Strategic Communications at YWCA Canada, and Junior Fellow and medical student Chantal Phillips. Tune in here.
Thursday, June 11 at 5pm – On COVID Diplomacy will be hosted by 2019-2020 Senior Resident Professor Jeffrey Brison, a discussion to reflect on if COVID-19 is changing the face of cultural diplomacy, with Senior Resident Dr. Lynda Jessup, Senior Fellow Dr. Sascha Priewe and Dr. César Villanueva Rivas. Tune in here.
We are organizing three Massey Dialogues for the week of June 15:
Monday, June 15 at 12:30pm EDT – to address the issue of Anti-Black Racism and the need for systemic institutional change, I will be joined in conversation with Senior Fellow Dr. Alissa Trotz, Director of the Women & Gender Studies Institute and Professor in Caribbean Studies at New College, and Dr. Lisa Robinson, Head of Nephrology at Sick Kids and Chief Diversity Officer at the Faculty of Medicine as our guests, both from the Black Faculty Network. The discussion will focus on creating institutional change, and what change looks like if we are to address anti-racism systematically.
Tuesday, June 16 at 4pm EDT – a conversation on the future with Cities After COVID, in partnership with the Munk School.
Thursday, June 18 at 5pm EDT – Ambassador Kirsten Hillman will join us to discuss Canada and the United States: Communication and Collaboration in Unprecedented Times.
I hope that you are all keeping safe and well,
Nathalie Des Rosiers