- Watch: How to recognize your white privilege - and use it to fight inequality TEDxTimberlaneSchools Talk by scholar and activist Peggy McIntosh
- Read: White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh
As part of the value of Belonging, SLC supports an inclusive teaching and learning environment that respects and values the diversity of our students. This fall, Policy AC836: Academic Accommodations for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances Policy was introduced. Under the Ontario Human Rights Code (OHRC), SLC faculty and employees are required to accommodate students’ rights to practice their individual faith observances. As the diversity of our student population grows, it becomes critical that we understand students’ rights and work to set up our programs to accommodate individual spiritual practices.
This student-focused policy provides consistent structure and practice for accommodations resulting from a conflict between academic obligations and religious, Indigenous, and spiritual observances, ensuring (as per OHRC), every individual has the right to be "treated equally based on creed, and to freely hold and practice creed beliefs of their choosing". Like accommodations under other OHRC grounds, such as disability, we have a duty to accommodate to the point of undue hardship.
The Student Wellness and Accessibility team includes a Spiritual Care Facilitator, who focuses on spirituality as a key foundational component of overall health and well-being. Through direct support and/or linkages to community faith groups, the College’s Spiritual Care Facilitator builds an ongoing safe and healthy community for all students on all campuses, regardless of denomination, faith tradition, or spiritual conviction.
- Policy AC836: Academic Accommodations for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances Policy
- Accommodation for Observance Student Request Form
- Policy Overview Presentation
- Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI) Multicultural Calendar 2021
Caryn Langstaff, M.Sc., SLP (she/her)
Director of Wellness, Accessibility & Student Success
- Read: Accessibility Barriers with Students with Disabilities and Recommendations https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-barriers-students-disabilities-and-recommendations
- Watch: Supporting Asian students during COVID-19 and anti-Asian racism web series https://www.mghihp.edu/Asian-American-Webinar-Series
With Halloween approaching, Carmen Law, Director, Belonging, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, shares an important distinction between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation, resources to learn more, and questions for self-reflection if you are unsure how to decide if something is cultural appropriation.
Cultural Appropriation: "Taking one aspect of a culture that is not your own and using it for your own personal interest."
"Philosopher Erich Hatala Matthes refers to these three types of cultural appropriation as theft, misuse, and misrepresentation. When discussing Halloween costumes, we’re discussing the last of these three - misrepresentation." Read more from this article.
Cultural Appreciation: "Someone seeks to understand and learn about another culture in an effort to broaden their perspective and connect with others cross-culturally." Source: Cultural Appreciation vs. Cultural Appropriation: Why it Matters. Read more from this article: Cultural Appropriation, A Perennial Issue On Halloween (NPR)
- We’re a Culture, Not a Costume: Student Leader Toolkit (University of Denver)
- We’re a Culture, Not a Costume: Housing and Residential Education (University of Denver)
- 7 Myths about Cultural Appropriation DEBUNKED! (Decoded | MTV News)
- #IAmNotACostume Campaign (Laurier Students' Public Interest Research Group)
- my culture is NOT a costume (Baylor University)
- Cultural Appropriation vs Cultural Appreciation (CBC Radio Unreserved)
- Learning about Cultural Appropriation: A Resource List (Waasayaa Consulting)
- Appropriate Halloween Costumes - #MyCultureIsNotACostume (Toronto District School Board)
If you are unsure how to decide if something is cultural appropriation, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What is your goal with what you are doing?
- Are you following a trend or exploring the history of a culture?
- Are you deliberately trying to insult someone's culture or are you being respectful?
- Are you purchasing something (e.g., artwork) that is a reproduction of a culture or an original?
- How would people from the culture you are borrowing from feel about what you are doing?
- Are there any stereotypes involved in what you are doing?
- Are you using a sacred item (e.g., headdress) in a flippant or fun way?
- Are you borrowing something from an ancient culture and pretending that it is new?
- Are you crediting the source or inspiration of what you are doing?
- If a person of the original culture were to do what you are doing, would they be viewed as "cool" or could they possibly face discrimination?
- Are you wearing a costume (e.g., Geisha girl, tribal wear) that represents a culture?
- Are you ignoring the cultural significance of something in favor of following a trend?
By Carmen Law, Director, Belonging, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
In March 2021, the House of Commons designated August 1 Emancipation Day commemorating the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, which came into effect across the British Empire in 1834.
The enslavement of Indigenous and African peoples is a tragic part of Canada’s history that we need to learn more about and acknowledge. According to The Canadian Encyclopedia, Indigenous slaves made up two-thirds of the slaves in Canada over the course of some 150 years, and thousands of African slaves were brought to Canada after the British took control of New France. Abolitionist movements did attempt to end slavery; however, it was not until 1834 when the abolition act came into effect that it became a reality.
Emancipation Day is an important day to reflect, educate yourself, and engage in the ongoing fight against anti-Black racism and discrimination in all its forms. Take time to learn about the history of enslavement in Canada. Join local community events to participate in this day of reflection. If you are able the City of Kingston has a listing of events taking place throughout the day.
Learn more at the Government of Canada website.
- Visit: Equity Learning Institute at equityliteracy.org
- Read: Inclusive Excellence (IE) at the University of British Columbia; IE is a systems-wide approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Read: Equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) resource guide by Simon Fraser University
Self-identify your pronouns using SNAP! Identity Update
SLC ITS launched the SNAP! Identity Update, a quick way to enable your pronouns to be displayed next to your name in the Teams participant list, email, the SLC email address book, and wherever your contact information is shown in Microsoft Office 365.
Why is it important to self-identify your pronouns and make it visible? Pronouns are used to signify an individual’s gender. Gender is fluid and goes beyond the binary terms of she/her/hers and he/him/his. Various non-binary pronouns are used such as, they/them, xe/xem, ze/zim, and sie/hir. When an individual self-identifies their pronoun, it helps remove the assumption for another person. It also helps to create a more gender-inclusive environment because it normalizes and recognizes assumptions should never be made, no matter how an individual identifies.
How to change or add your pronouns to your name at SLC:
- Visit snap.slc.me
- Fill in your information
- Check box – “Show Pronouns in Display” and click “Update”
Thank you to the Indigenous Services team for sharing their wisdom regarding this Land Acknowledgement.
St. Lawrence College is underway in our journey of reconciliation, and we continue to learn as we honour our commitment to respecting Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Being in our communities and on our campuses. Inspired by the calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Report, a Land Acknowledgement is one important way we can recognize and respect the original peoples who lived in the region where SLC campuses are now found.
St. Lawrence College's Land Acknowledgement differs, depending which campus the person delivering the acknowledgement is located on. To know which land acknowledgement to use and when, as well as help with pronunciation, refer to the following resources:
Create a NameBadge by voice-recording your name. You can also add the meaning, origin, and stories about your name, as well as your pronouns. You can include your NameBadge in your email signature with a free custom button, and publish to your LinkedIn and other online profiles. NameBadge helps others learn to pronounce your name correctly and allows you to tell your story.
History of National Coming Out Day:
Its roots lie in the U.S. National Coming Out Day, established in 1988, which was the second anniversary of the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay rights. This day can serve as a form of activism and a means to celebrate 2SLGBTQIA+ identities, decrease stigma, increase awareness, and advocate for change. For some 2SLGBTQIA+ folks this day is an opportunity to celebrate their identities publicly. (University of Waterloo, Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion)
What does “coming out” mean?
Coming out is an expression that describes a process of socially acknowledging one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Coming out can provide space and opportunity for some 2SLGBTQIA+ folks to define their identities and lived experiences on their own terms, with their own agency. On this day, many members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community may choose to actively ‘come out’ on social media to a few people in their lives, or just to themselves. Coming out looks and feels differently to each person. (University of Waterloo, Human Rights Equity and Inclusion)
‘Coming out’, the expression used to describe the social acknowledgement of one’s sexual orientation or gender identity, is a deeply personal process, and often intensely emotional. (EGALE)
Coming out is not a singular moment, but many. This is a constant process for people within the space, time and relationships they’re in. (Coming out as LGBTQ: It’s not one moment, but several, Washington Post)
Coming Out and the Cultural Context
Creating Safe Spaces for someone to Come Out
When someone has chosen to share their identity with you, it demonstrates a level of trust. Reflect on all the ways you have already built trust with that person and continue to confirm and validate this person’s trust for you through your consistent behaviours. Coming out can look different for each person, whether it is their first time or a thousandth time. You creating a safe space for someone to come out is not in the moment someone tells you, but all the moments built up to creating a safe environment.
- Watch: Members of the EDI + Belonging Task Force met with SLC Sustainability Manager Brooke Gilmour to discuss sustainability.
- Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Being (IWKB) Faculty Resources. Note: you may need to log in using your SLC credentials.
- Protocols for Engaging with Indigenous Peoples & Communities and recommended resources from The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund
- Talking Circle Fact Sheet. Note: you may need to log in using your SLC credentials.