Follow Up, Back Up Your Sisters

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Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out. — R. Collier

After the TBTN solidarity event, What Men Can Do – Taking Action to End Gender Based Violence with White Ribbon Campaign‘s Jeff Perera, I shared a walk and chat with a male-identified comrade. My friend asked me what my experience of TBTN was like (“I wish my first thought wasn’t ‘I hope I don’t get assaulted on the way…‘,” I confessed). I asked my friend what his experience of the solidarity event was like (“Your event definitely sounds like it was more fun, but I’m bummed I couldn’t be there because… gender,” he admitted.)

We shared our praise and critiques of our assorted, respective events. My friend felt alienated because the male allies’ event was physically separated from the main TBTN events. “On the one hand, I’m being asked to participate, but on the other, I’m being asked not to show up, or not go here or there, … Except for having conversations with others dudes about sexism, it seems like there are no ways I can really support my feminist values.”

“That is the only real way you can support your feminist values,” was more or less my response.

Basically, showing up to a rally, or holding a sign, or chanting in support… those things are not, in and of themselves, going to end sexism. Change is a slow, arduous process. Success is not often measurable by Number of People at the event, or Decibels Measured during the chant, or MRAs Enraged after the protest. Success… is not often measurable! One must have more faith in the innumerable small steps we are each taking. That faith is the only success most of us has.

In sum, keep having those conversations. Don’t start to count how many events you’ve shown up to, how many feminist friends you have, or how often you say “the right thing” to an approving beacon of feminist respect. Hold a workshop about practical ways to talk to people; Make a YouTube video about some shit you saw someone/a friend do (extra points if you can apply this video to a feminist perspective) that pissed you off; Tell your boys you love pub nights, but love your women friends and don’t wanna participate in things that’ll wind up oppressing them. These are the ways you can see equality become a success reality for everyone.

– amelia

Smart Serve and Safe Food Handler Training at YWCA!

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The YWCA has two trainings coming up next week!  SACHA is very excited to come and speak with the folks at the Smart Serve about sexual harassment in the workplace and strategies to confront it.

Safe Food Handler Training
Attend the Safe Food Handler training and write the certification test at YWCA Hamilton.
When: Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013
Time: 9:00am-5:00pm
Where: YWCA Hamilton – 75 MacNab Street South, Hamilton
Cost: $30.00(+HST), payable at the time of registration
Purchase the Training Manual for an additional $15.00(+HST)

Smart Serve Training
(plus everything you need to know about sexual harassment in the workplace)
In Ontario, if you serve, sell or handle alcohol in a licensed establishment you must be Smart Serve certified. Attend the Smart Serve training and write the certification test at YWCA Hamilton.
When: Thursday October 3rd, 2013
Time: 12:30-4:30pm
Where: YWCA Hamilton – 75 MacNab Street South, Hamilton
Cost: $30.00(+HST), payable at the time of registration.

~Register for both Smart Serve and Safe Food Handler and receive a $5.00 discount off the total price!

To register for either workshop please call Lauren at 905-522-9922 ext. 176.

SACHA Broadcast — Feminist Links & Hijinks No. 13

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In an effort to keep things brief, colourful, and interesting, I’m gonna stick with the shorter Broadcast format! How d’ya like them apples? Here are five assorted pieces for your perusing pleasure. Apply your brand of feminism to them how you see fit!

…for those of us who do want to be respectful of boundaries but are unsure of how to approach someone, here are some things to keep in mind…
1. Read Her Body Language
2. Listen To What She Says
3. Do Not Stare Or Follow – It’s Scary!
4. Don’t Assume She’ll…

Click Here to read on!
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A wee bit from The Onion, because we all like some humorous satire to laugh at, especially when we can directly relate:

MILWAUKEE—Describing his mind as both “a blessing and a curse,” local man Benjamin Walker, 27, told reporters Thursday that his intellect was probably just too intimidating for most women to engage with romantically.

 — Area Man’s Intelligence Probably Just Too Intimidating For Most Women (via TheOnion)

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Frances Perkins mug

Frances Perkins mug

Got 10% off my two-year subscription to BitchMag, and they sent this Fabulous Mug!! Check it out — it’s Frances Perkins! She was was the U.S. Secretary of Labour from 1933 to 1945. Immediately after I made my purchase, Bitch began offering a whopping 20% off orders!! WHat?! Seriously, check them out. Fun, colourful, empowered, and hilarious — you can’t get it much better than that.

http://bitchmagazine.org/support-feminist-media/subscribe-feminist-magazine

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The Cosby Show

According a HuffPost, while your environment and genetics take up a bit more than half, 40% of the happiness in your life is entirely up to you. Wanna know how exuberant humans of the world cultivate happiness for themselves? I sure the hell do!

Click here to see a list I am here going to call 21 Ways of Cultivating Happiness.

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Ever wondered what it looks like when SACHA does a workshop? Here’s a list of topics for discussion expressed during SACHA’s Sept. 19th Social Inc. workshop at Mohawk College here in Hamilton:

  • consent
  • myths about sexual assault
  • ways to help and support survivors
  • is our activist making a difference?  how do we see social change?
  • wanting to learn more about the issue of rape and sexual violence
  • effective ways to take action
  • tactics that women use when being pressured for sex or being hit on by aggressive men

Learn more about what these workshops can look like by following this link!

— Compiled by Amelia

Social Inc Workshop – What We Talked About

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We had an AMAZING workshop today at Social Inc. at Mohawk College!

Before we got into details, folks attending the workshop first shared what qualities they look for in a friend:

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Folks came to the one hour long workshop wanting to learn more about and have discussions about:

  • consent
  • myths about sexual assault
  • ways to help and support survivors
  • is our activist making a difference?  how do we see social change?
  • wanting to learn more about the issue of rape and sexual violence
  • effective ways to take action
  • tactics that women use when being pressured for sex or being hit on by aggressive men
Brainstorm of what folks would like to cover in the workshop

Brainstorm of what folks would like to cover in the workshop

Every single item on the list could be its own three hour workshop (or more!).  The group decided that they would like to not only talk about what myths and lies we are taught about rape but get into real life ways to confront or challenge these myths when folks near to us repeat them.

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SACHA’s 24 Hour Support Line and Twitter address

We split the group in two with one group coming up with a rape myth or lie and the other thinking of how they might respond to it.

We ended the hour by talking about ways that we take care of ourselves while working for social change and things that we would like to see in our idea world.

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Here’s some links that I promised to share after the workshop:

Thank you to everyone who came to the workshop, participated so openly, respectfully and bravely.  We’ll see you again at Social Inc!

Hamilton Sisters in Spirit Vigil – October 4th

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In Canada, Aboriginal women are 5-7 times more likely than non-Aboriginal women to die as a result of violence. Sisters in Spirit – an initiative led by the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) – researched these high incidences of violence. Their research found evidence of over 580 missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. Sadly, many believe that because of issues with police and government reporting, this already tragically high number is much lower than the actual number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women.

Here is a video of the then Native Women’s Association of Canada President, Beverly Jacobs, the speaking at the Indian Residential Schools Statement of Apology in June 2008:

The video quality is a bit poor, but there is a transcript here – https://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100015717/1100100015720.

Jacobs’ words were moving Native women’s lives and also had a call to action:

I want to say that I come here speaking from my heart, because two generations ago, my grandmother, being a Mohawk woman, was beaten, sexually beaten and physically beaten, for being a Mohawk woman. She did not pass that on. She did not pass it on to my mother and her siblings, and so that matriarchal system that we have was directly affected. Luckily, I was raised in a community where it has been revitalized by all of our mothers.

I want to say that as mothers, we teach our boys and our girls, our men and our women equally. That is what I am here to say, that although it may be the Native Women’s Association, we also represent men and women because that is our responsibility. It is not just about women’s issues, it is about making sure that we have strong nations again. That is what I am here to say.

…I have just one last thing to say. To all of the leaders of the Liberals, the Bloc and NDP, thank you, as well, for your words because now it is about our responsibilities today, the decisions that we make today and how they will affect seven generations from now.

My ancestors did the same seven generations ago and they tried hard to fight against you because they knew what was happening. They knew what was coming, but we have had so much impact from colonization and that is what we are dealing with today.

Women have taken the brunt of it all.

The stories of the families who have had a sister, mother, daughter, aunt or cousin murdered or gone missing are very powerful.  Here is Sue Martin speaking about the murder of her daughter Terrie:

Daily it’s a struggle for each and every one of us…It’s not easy sharing this story here, telling our stories, but if it will save one woman’s life and one family from what we’re going through then we’re doing something.

…This has to stop.  It is an epidemic.

Since 2009, communities throughout the country have gathered on October 4th to remember and honour missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls. The Sisters in Spirit vigils are also a space to support grieving families and communities and to call for social change.

This year, Hamilton’s Sisters in Spirit vigil will be held at Honouring the Circle (21 Rosedene Avenue) and will begin at 10am. Both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal folks are invited to gather and remember the Aboriginal women and girls who have gone missing or been murdered.  For more information about the Hamilton vigil, visit the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/209666729200631

To learn more about Sisters in Spirit and the October 4th Candlelight vigils, visit:
https://www.facebook.com/SistersInSpiritHamilton
www.nwac.ca/sisters-spirit
www.october4th.ca

More reading:
http://www.amnesty.ca/our-work/issues/indigenous-peoples/no-more-stolen-sisters
http://indigenousfoundations.arts.ubc.ca/home/community-politics/marginalization-of-aboriginal-women.html

Safe Spaces and Power

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Two awesome overlapping blog posts showed up on the internet this month!  One by writer, zinester, daydreamer, weirdo, genderqueer, twin, and introvert Maranda Elizabeth and another by the writer, futurist, Youth Editor at Black Girl Dangerous Janani.

Both posts are about creating safe spaces and checking our privilege.

Here’s two tiny pieces of each article but you should for sure read each one in full…

From Janani’s “Introverts and Extraverts and Power (oh my!)” on Black Girl Dangerous:

If you’ve been following Facebook, Buzzfeed, Tumblr, or other rummage piles of the Internet recently, you’ve probably seen a lot of articles about introverts and extraverts: how to categorize them, how to know which one you are, the misconceptions that are harbored about each.  There’s even a piece going around about ‘ambiverts‘; they seem kind of like the genderqueers of the -vert universe.  There are plenty of writers and Facebook statuses also reminding us that your -vert status is a spectrum, and you shouldn’t let yourself be defined by a binary system.  I get it, this is a fun way to think about our personalities and the ways we relate to others.  It can also be empowering.  For me, letting people know I’m fairly introverted can soften the blow when I need to say something like: ‘hey, it’s not at all that I hate you–it’s just that I can’t handle having conversations with twenty different people at the party you’re hosting right now, and everyone’s probably going to mistake my silence for pretentiousness or judginess.’

And Maranda Elizabeth’s “No Space Will Ever Be 100% Safe or Accessible, But…” on their blog:

We’ll all have different ideas about what makes a space safer emotionally. Personally, there is no space in the world, not even my own home, that I consider 100% safe emotionally. I do, however, believe it’s something we can all try our damndest to create. My idea of an emotionally safe space is, beyond being accessible both physically & financially as detailed above, a space that must be free of all forms of oppressive language & behaviours, and if these things occur, we need to be able to discuss them without defensiveness or whininess (either in the moment or further down the road – there are many different and valuable approaches to these conversations). We need to admit that this can awkward and uncomfortable and deal with it anyway. It also means we must understand deep down that we don’t know anybody’s experiences or histories but our own, and to not make judgements. Understand that we all have individual and collective intersecting privileges & oppressions; you don’t know what the person you just walked by is dealing with right now, so don’t be a jerk. Because I have multiple invisible illnesses, both mental & physical, I’ve become aware that this is the case with many, many people, and I’ve learned to approach new people and new situations with this in mind.

I’m never, ever going to be able to organize an event that is 100% safe & accessible – there’s no such thing. But I’ll keep on keepin’ on, and I hope you will, too.