In the year 2017, all of us need to reach out to our families and neighbours who feel uneasy about the changing world, and patiently challenge prejudice or intolerance whenever it appears. If the worst happens south of the border and the drums of war and belligerence beat more loudly, the future of the world will be at risk.
In the LGBTQ community, "coming out" means the voluntary self-disclosure of one's sexual orientation and/or gender identity. I believe that coming out means a person feels they can be completely free to be true to themselves and live authentically. It's a fundamental right, and one that everyone deserves equally.
In a corporate setting, it's surprising that gender parity forecasts continue to be so dismal when more studies are finding that diverse companies outperform businesses that aren't as inclusive. So why is this the case? And what does it have to do with changing a couple gender-specific words in the national anthem? The answer has to do with a term called "unconscious or implicit bias."
Our son, Casey, has autism, a neuro-developmental disorder that is often characterized by rigid and repetitive behaviours, difficulty with social communication and uneven intellectual development, among many other challenges. Regular participation in an integrated public school has not always been easy for him.
Nowadays, businesses are not only more aware of autism, some are willingly offering special accommodations. They are meeting families where they're at -- so kids like mine can enjoy what's on offer along with everybody else. The following autism friendly attractions is by no means exhaustive, and I would love nothing better than to see this list grow.
For someone who has a mobility challenge, vision or hearing loss, or uses an assistive device to get around, daily decisions are not so carefree. Stores and shops need to be researched ahead of time to make sure they are accessible. Aspects of daily life that most take for granted can be riddled with accessibility challenges. In Canada and around the world, people with disabilities are still limited by physical barriers in the built environment -- and there is urgent need for change.
Simply put, sports has a way of connecting people. When you throw on your team colours, you're no longer a Sikh, Jew, Christian, White, or Black. You're simply a fan. And the only thing that matters in that moment is realizing the dream of seeing your team lift up the trophy one day and host a parade on your home streets.
I think that there are times where there is too much chatter, assumption and stereotyping against Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers. Rarely have I seen psychographics, infographics or descriptions that say "likely to," "can" or "may be predispositioned to" when it comes to behaviours. Instead, they are often written as facts and absolutes.
Last spring, I joined my daughter Journey's fifth grade class as a volunteer on her field trip. I had the pleasure of watching a classmate approach Journey who was taking photos of a museum exhibit. The classmate suggested she turn off the camera flash; he was concerned that it could trigger one of her seizures. I was overcome with pride and appreciation for the caring, supportive community we have created in partnership with the school administration.
The amazing thing about our country is that we're still young. Compared to other countries we're like barely-legal young. We're still losing our baby teeth, learning how to walk, working out the kinks and growing into our clothes. And from what I see, the core of what Canadian-ness is, is multiculturalism. So I have problem with Black History Month, and the reason is this: I don't believe we should assign one month out of the year (and the shortest month, mind you) to one race. Why? Because although, yes, it brings awareness to the history and celebrates its triumphs, it sets them apart from the norm, reiterating this whole notion of "otherness."
I have come to realize that my initial understandings about inclusive education and what it entails were wrong in that they were off-course as to the desired intent of inclusionary teaching. My initial belief was that inclusive education was okay, so long as it was equal. I now realize that inclusion doesn't need to mean pure equality.
My university Creative Writing teacher once said something that felt like it was directed at me. She said something along the lines of how the young kid in the classroom who is always staring off into space or out the window, lost in her/his thoughts, is not the bad student, he/she is simply the writer of the bunch. It helped me to move past years of self-doubt and anger. I wasn't stupid. I was a writer.
After much indignation from Canadians, some who do not fit the "neutral ethnicity" the Bank of Canada's P.R. team had seemingly invented, Bank governor Mark Carney, offered a carefully worded statement this morning. Though the governor "apologizes to those who were offended," admitting that "the Bank's handling of this issue did not meet the standards Canadians," there were many points missing from the statement. The Twitterverse is abuzz about the underlying problems in Canadian society which proclaims allegiance to multiculturalism.