Many of you are probably following the news regarding racism and the heartbreaking plight of black people in the United States. We want to acknowledge what’s happening, and reflect on current events.
When we speak about racism, we often think of the Civil Rights movement, and significant issues such as segregation, slavery, and racial profiling. Most people can empathize with the tragic outcome of George Floyd, who died after being subdued by a police officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck. Or having someone call 911 when asked to leash their dog, emphasizing ethnicity and threat potential merely because one is black. These are clear and recent examples that may lead to almost universal outrage. But racism takes many more subtle forms. Not sharing experiences of those who are disadvantaged may lead to “unknowingly” perpetrating racism, reinforcing assumptions and stereotypes, and blaming others for their own misfortune.
Racism and injustice do not just happen across the border, or in “other” places, but also at home. In Canada, the most apt comparisons are with Aboriginals, and there is good reason for us to avoid feeling smug or superior. Here are some disturbing and sobering stats from McLean’s Magazine that compare Aboriginal Canadians (AC) and African Americans (AA):
- Unemployment for AC: 14% for AA 11%
- Median income vs national average for AC 60%, for AA 74%
- Incarceration rate vs national average for AC 10 times, for AA 3 times
- Homicide rate vs national rate for AC 6.1 times, for AA 3.7 times
- Dropout rate before graduating high school for AC 23%, for AA 8%
- Infant mortality rate vs national rate for AC 2.3 times, for AA 2 times
Racism isn’t just something that happens to minorities; we all play a vital role in understanding and working towards eliminating it. A useful concept in this regard is “white fragility”, the discomfort and defensiveness on the part of a white person when confronted by information about racial inequality and injustice. Here’s a provocative and thoughtful video for more information:
Dr. Robin DiAngelo discusses 'White Fragility'
Please find a working document for anti-racism resources, and facilitating growth for people in the dominant culture to become allies and, eventually, accomplices for anti-racist work, below:
We challenge you to open your heart to others:
- Validate and listen to other perspectives, even if you don’t agree with them.
- Ask more questions, and talk less.
- Allow others to speak, even if it challenges your world view, or makes you feel uncomfortable.
The following Martin Luther King quote beautifully highlights how to get to a better place, without bitterness and anger: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Please reflect on what you, as an individual, can do to make the world a better place, and what we, as an organization, can do to improve for everybody’s benefit. We welcome your ideas, and challenge you to do something in the next week, even if it’s small, to combat racism and discrimination. We will share your thoughts on the Communication Portal (click on the messages below for the comments to expand).
There is a protest happening in Vancouver, tomorrow, June 5th @ 4pm @ the Olympic Cauldron. Let’s all stand in solidarity with our Black community! Wear a mask and bring a sign!
This is the official poster by Black Vancouver: see poster here
Thanks! And have a good rest of your day! If you have any questions, I’m happy to try and answer them.
I would rather respond with everyday love.
Thank you Gagan for sharing this! These are important times to take action, and having information about events like these is critical.
Protests are an important means of showing support and building community around important issues. Though there are other, more nuanced ways that we can support the Black Lives Matter movement, protests provide visibility, a coming together of people who want change, and a call to action in democratic society that might incite that change. Presence has an impact that makes a difference, and what better reason to stand up than for human life.
Although attending these protests is a great way to make a difference, I also wanted to note that donations can be made to the Vancouver Black Lives Matter GoFundMe here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/blmvan
Thanks for sharing that link Serena!! I have some links I can share as well:
This is a great resource that includes links to petitions and links for donations to various organizations supporting the Black communities in the US right now, should you want to show support there. It also has links for educational resources. I highly recommend you check it out!!
The following Youtube video is a fundraiser set up for donations to the NAACP, an American organization for the advancement of people of color. The revenue generated from the ads (there are a lot) will be donated fully – do not skip them. This is a great way to “donate” if you are wanting to but unable to directly. The video can be played in the background while you work, muted or not muted (and multiple times)! The video also features various content from and of the Black communities.
This graphic was created by 604 Now for various local organizations you may support if you wish to: see here
Sending you all my best!!
As a white and immigrant woman married to an African American man, I have recently gone through some very difficult times involving issues of racism. The one big lesson I’ve learned is that we all should be treated fairly/equally regardless of our racial or political differences.
Our mixed families are very tuned to the recent events happening in USA and Canada and I believe that we need more respect and less retribution. We are all children of God. We are all human beings, and we are on this earth for a very short time. This is the moment we should be listening and learning. All of us!
Thanks for your kind and inspiring email during a time when I am sure you have many other pressing issues that are equally, if not more important. Here are my thoughts on the subject for the communication portal.
As a child growing up in Coquitlam, I was one of only a handful of kids whose parents had immigrated from Punjab, India. We faced discrimination in the form of “go home Hindu” spray painted on the side of our home when I was about in grade 3. Ringing of the doorbell after midnight and fireworks put into our home thru the mail slot in the door at 3 am became a common occurrence at one point, until the time my dad and some of his friends stood in the bushes and caught the high school kids who thought it was a funny idea. Bullying based on skin color was accepted as the norm. We were taught at home that getting a university education was the path we must take to gain equality and respect.
Back in the 1970’s my father had to remove his turban and beard to be able to get a job that matched his educational qualifications.
I’ll never forget him sharing the story of how much it hurt him to have to remove his religious identity in order to work as an engineer as opposed to a janitor, as his employer believed he had to “look the part”.
Fast forward 40 years and one would think things have changed, which in large part I believe they have. However the hatred still exists. Perhaps it is systemic. Just last year my daughter and wife went to a local grocery store in White Rock where we live, and they were confronted by a woman who felt she had the right to tell them to “go back home” because “your people are destroying the area”. My wife didn’t respond and left, but as she left she said many people around the area who heard the comments apologized to my wife and daughter for the behavior that they witnessed. My young daughter couldn’t comprehend the words meaning fully as home has been Canada for her entire life.
Perhaps the lady had mental health issues, perhaps she was unwell. But my daughter kept asking, if she is unwell why did she only speak to them in that manner? That’s a question we couldn’t answer, other than telling her to always walk away with her head held high, do not lower your actions to react to someone in that situation if it ever happens again—which we hope and pray will not happen again.
I have received some amazing feedback in regards to this very important topic. Please check the Communication Portal in the near future, and you will be able to see what people have shared.
In terms of the protest, I’m thrilled there has been so much interest in getting involved, and applaud your enthusiasm. I would like to remind people that, during this pandemic, the Provincial Health Officer’s recommendations are for people to avoid gatherings of more than 50 people. If you do decide to take part, then please try to maintain physical distancing and wear a mask. We want everybody to stay safe!
Thanks, and have a great weekend.
Contest is now closed!
Thank you to Carleen F, Ken M, Shelley B, Nathaniel J, Teri M, Catherine T, Ramona B, and Emma K who participated in our Isolation Contest. Amongst the submissions, we received videos, paintings, crafts, sketches and mouth-watering photos. There are definitely quite inspired and talented people in our midst. It was too difficult to choose a winner as the creativity was quite diverse, and so we are happy to announce that all participants will be receiving a prize! Thank you all again for participating.
Please check out the contest gallery below. It will put a smile on your face. Enjoy! J
Emma Kazic: Acrylic Painting
Ramona’s son Dani:
While in isolation, Dani taught himself how to cook.
Catherine Taylor: Painting
“Finally had time to finish the painting”. Entitled ‘the puissant’
Teri Macovei: Photography
This is definitely good news, and what a wonderful idea to see the creative output of our staff during these tough times.
I really enjoyed Carleen’s. 🙂 Me and my husband (that also knows both Boyd and Carleen) had fun watching it.
As for me, as you know my creative outlet is food photography and recipe development for my blog. During these hard weeks I felt so relieved and challenged by my creative work, and to be honest it kept me sane, motivated and engaged.
So, I’d like to share two of my blog’s most accessed items lately, a spice capture (star anise) and the recent cake that I made for the one-year blog anniversary. The cake is called Vegan Fudgy Chocolate Quinoa Cake w/ Peanut Butter Frosting. If you’d like for me to share the link to the recipe for others to access, let me know. 🙂
Thank you for this opportunity! It’s a privilege to share with the staff my passion for what I do outside of work.
Nathaniel Jensen: Quarantine Family Talents
I made the breakfast with home made yogurt as well, and my partner Darya (Dash) did the drawings. I’ve been studying, gardening, and attempting to build things while she has been able to continue her work as an activity leader for a day center for seniors. She doesn’t meet them in person anymore but has a client list that she calls and talks to ensure they are doing okay, does word games, exercises, or shares interesting facts to help brighten their days.
Shelley Buchi: Painting rocks for school rock garden
We painted some rocks together as a family to place in the Seaforth Elementary rock garden. The kids are Spencer (age 8) and Paige (age 10).
Kenneth Moy: Drawing
Here are some sketch pieces I drew over the quarantine period.
Carleen (Program Coordinator @ Career Paths) and her husband Boyd
I couldn’t help but share this with you as I know you’re wanting stories of BiMmers lives during this time. Boyd, my husband works in the film industry and unfortunately it has completely shut down due to Covid so he is not working and has more time on his hands than he is used to. He is also a HUGE hockey fan and missing that like crazy. Anyway, he’s creative and fun and is trying to make the best of these times. He produced and sang this version of the “The Hockey Song”– a Covid 19 version that his old friend wrote. If you’re a hockey fan, you’ll see some of the subtle messaging throughout. If you can handle watching the entire 2 minutes and 26 seconds, you may even see my co-starring role : ) Hahah!
Please enjoy! But warning, it requires a sense of humour to enjoy J It’s been a real source of fun around my home. Boyd posted it last night and we’re approaching 1000 views already.
I would like to send you some thoughts of mine about the “good” and the “good and bad” brought into my life by Coronavirus:
- First of all a lot of uncertainty, fear and stress
- An explosion of communication! TV, News, WhatsApp and internet were on fire! Everybody shared information, contradictory news, tons of jokes and comments that put discernment to a hard test
- Worries about my family from Romania, where the authorities introduced the state of emergency. Hard moments which revealed to everybody the value of the Family!
- Sudden bad news about the temporary closure of our company’s activity, but good news about continuing our employment programs and keeping our jobs!
- Self-isolation and missed communion with people
- Closed churches but closer to God. When uncertainty regarding our health is so tremendous, I learned to feel more deeply that word in the daily pray: “Thy will be done”
- A new style of work, a new style of life – everything at home
- Stress of change, but satisfaction of learning a lot of new things
- Openness to using technology and new communication tools
- Working all together as a team really efficient and closer than ever
- Great time for learning by attending a lot of interesting webinars
- No commuting and more time spent with my family, having meals together, but clothes getting tighter and tighter. Anyway, fashion turned to this “slim” trend before Covid 19 crisis J
- A new toy: an electric scooter to commute to the office after re-opening, avoiding public transport!
- The need to reconnect with nature (walking, gardening), be creative (crafting), and make sport.
- A lot of inspiration from others but also from my 26 year old son Dani who has been isolated at home (in Romania) for almost 2 months, working remotely, and, surprisingly, learning to cook, cleaning the house with the products that the company he works for sells, and exercising every two days. I learned from him to make some collages and I am happy to send you some J
I learned a lot from this crisis, especially how rich we could be by doing simple and really useful things. As long we are healthy and, thank God, we have made our daily bread, we really could be happy. Just to be kind, clever and grateful.
Looking forward to meet all my colleagues again, to be together like before the crisis, and praying to be healthy and safe.
Sharan Dhillon – Quarantine Story
I would like to share my story how I managed my quarantine time. From day one I started going out for morning walks. I usually get up at the same time as my work time, and go for walk about 1.30 mins. After my walk, I do some chores at home or some stretches.
Then I thought I should make some masks since i know how to sew!! This was exciting. i shared this idea with my cousin and her friend who works at a radio station. She had the same thought. So she bought me some cloth to sew masks, and a few of her other friends started to volunteer to make masks too. So after I complete my home chores I sew masks every day, and we have donated more than 10,000 masks until now. We sent about 1000 masks to Yuba city, Abbotsford hospital, and many more places.
Then I desperately wanted to paint rocks, which I did!! I also went to volunteer at a Sikh Temple a couple times where they prepare and pack food for people , especially students, who need it.
Once I went to Louise Brier Home and hospital to serve the food to the front line staff, which was prepared at the Sikh temple.
Now I’m ready to come back to work.
Jaye Dueck – My work-at-home story
I thought I would share a bit of my work-at-home story as a full-time psychologist and part-time ‘farmer.’
First of all, I am so thankful to Back in Motion for enabling me to continue working for the company, as we moved to Kamloops last July, where we started a farm sanctuary and have been able to rescue several animals since that time.
So as I work-at-home on our farm, I am sharing my office space with my 2 little office assistant rabbits – Basil and Benjamin who are waiting for their habitat to be built outside. They can be quite entertaining and be good paper-shredders but mostly slack off and sleep during the day. Clients who I speak to by phone or video seem to love hearing the animals, especially our rooster “Jimmy” who crows throughout the day (which actually starts at 4am these days) and the peacocks (oh my…they can be loud but fortunately don’t make too much noise). Sometimes clients can hear the wild birds singing outside my window, the world’s most spoiled calves “mooing” for their lunch, and even the odd rabbit fight in the background. Animals (even remotely) really seem to bring lightness, calmness, and humor to everyone I talk to, so it has worked out really well, much better than I expected as it can be a bit of zoo around here with all the noise, activity, and mischief our residents can get into….Fortunately, I am also pretty good at staying focused although there have been a few distracting and tense moments, such as when one of our cats jumped through a window into my office and landed in the rabbit pen…..or the time I looked out and saw one of the goats systematically climb and escape into our little calf’s paddock, or the incident of the cat-peacock confrontation on my balcony (any of these could have gone really bad but they seemed to work it out without my immediate intervention).
So I hope as you work-at-home and during these uncertain times, that these pictures of a few our animals also bring a smile to you as well!
Stay safe and healthy!
This is Ezekiel – he is a 5 month old Jersey dairy calf.
These are my current office assistants….
This is either Prince or Elvis, one of the peacocks showing off.
And this is one of the many exploits of Isaiah, he is rescued Holstein dairy calf. Here, he is trying to break into the rabbit habitat.
This is little Luna and her mom Maggie (at the back).
Jackie Muir: Virtual Happy Hour
Since most people are working from home on their own, and connected to the rest of the team via short client care meetings only, the North Vancouver OR2 team and the Richmond Clinic have implemented a virtual happy hour on Fridays. We reconnect and DO NOT talk about clients. I started it because I felt like times had been stressful for everyone, and it felt like we just needed some time to connect. Feedback has been really positive, as we miss out on that “water cooler talk” or grabbing that Friday beer where we can connect with our colleagues and learn about what is going on in each other’s personal lives, how we are all managing isolation, and gives us an opportunity to have a laugh.
Kiran Thind – My New Normal without Work
My life without work for an extended time has definitely been an adjustment. It was a scary thought to be without work given all the personal and national economic uncertainties of the situation. Instead of worrying about something I couldn’t control, I channelled myself into the things that I could control such as self-care.
I’ve now developed a daily care routine for myself. I usually wake up around 8am to go for a 20-30 minute walk. After my walk, I use my dumbbell weights to engage in upper and lower body exercises for about an hour. I also decided to order some wonderful skin care and hygiene products from Rocky Mountain Soap Company (highly recommended by a wonderful BiM colleague of mine). They are an Alberta based company specializing in natural and organic hygiene products (https://www.rockymountainsoap.com). My health wellness has been crucial for my emotional and psychological wellness during this period of instability.
More than ever before, I’ve come to appreciate the vast amounts of content available to us! Artists, whether they create music or stories (visual and literary), are so crucial to our social life. This content provides us with tools to understand ourselves better and to make connections through commonalities of the human experience.
I’ve spent a lot of time listening to music, especially during my first week off. My ears were getting tired of my headphones by the end of it! I fell in love all over again with music that I hadn’t been listening to as frequently before. I also used the extra time to find new music placing albums on repeat!
My mother is currently off work as well so we have been spending a lot of time together. We watch at least one Bollywood movie a day thanks to Netflix and Youtube! It’s been really nice bonding with her over some of our favourite movies from my childhood. My mother was never a home-body. Her time was always occupied by work or errands. It’s been really important for me to keep my mother engaged outside of household tasks in order to remain mentally stimulated since she doesn’t use a smartphone either. So far, it’s been a success and we are making the best of our time together!
I’m sending all my love to everyone! Hopefully we will see each other again soon once we make it to the other side of this together. Till then, stay safe and healthy!
My Routine-Simpy Tathgar (PDF)
In times of quarantine it is very easy to go crazy being stuck under the same roof every day. So, it can be useful to have a fixed daily schedule to maintain consistency in our lives.
Every morning I glance at the clock and realize that I don’t need to be up so early for work. Despite my inner voice telling me not to reach for my phone and open Facebook, I end up spending twenty minutes scrolling news feeds.
After my morning tea. I like to do some stretching exercises. Then I sanitize all doorknobs and light switches, despite not having left home in a week.
Being in quarantine doesn’t need to be so boring — I take all this free time as an opportunity to take up old and new hobbies. At school, I didn’t have much time to watch all the movies on my bucket list. I’m so obsessed with Turkish shows that I finished the whole web series in two days.
I love cooking and trying out new recipes so being at home gives me a great opportunity to expand my range of cooking. I’ve also planted different kind of indoor plants. It honestly keeps my spirits up and I think it is a great way to cope with boredom.
Most importantly, I make sure to spend plenty of time with my family. They are in India so I video call them daily and spend quality time with them. Sometimes I think that it is good to slow down, express gratitude and appreciate everything that God has given us. Thank you.
Career Paths Team on Crazy Zoom Fridays
Career Paths staff are a social bunch! We enjoy team building activities, love to have lunch together, themed potlucks, nature walks and even movies! With all this social distancing, some of us have been feeling a bit down. Following one of our team Zoom huddles, a few members of the team had a bit of a brainstorm session and decided it might be fun to have “Crazy Zoom Fridays” to end the week on a funny and lighter note… it really all stemmed from that! Now we have Silly Hat Fridays and staff come up with creative new ideas each week to make each other laugh and connect.
Anne Schaff – My New Normal?
I may not be the most social animal, but my time at home has certainly taught me the value of friendly chit chat and office comradery! Even getting a clinician or referral source on the phone these days is a bit of a rarity, leaving us to the full day of the tippity-tip typing of emails with an extra-large helping of smiley faces and good wishes. Of course, I am not as completely isolated as some of my colleagues considering OTP and HIATS duties are being performed in the bedroom next to mine; so I have someone with whom to take my breaks and commiserate.
I have tried to maintain a work-style; make sure I am dressed – pants yes, shoes no – but dread the possibility of an unplanned ZOOM meeting because I have not bothered with make-up for weeks now and my hair, usually quite short, has matured into a salt and pepper mop-on-top. Not to mention the back drop of the potentially unmade bed and pile of laundry.
In our home we are 4 working adults, 2 of whom work off site, but close enough that they like to come home for lunch. This is where there are similarities to being in clinic. I still come into the kitchen to find that there are cups in the sink and no one has emptied the dishwasher (you know this is truth!)
We also have 3 cats (crazy I know, but it was an accumulation by different family members not me being a crazy cat lady). When I worked in Newton, Willow was a great well-mannered therapy/emotional support kind of dog. I don’t recommend we extend the same latitude for cats. Though they often will sleep comfortably off to one side they are known to be quite persistent when they want attention, they also like to play ‘trip the human’ when you walk away to go anywhere, then take your seat and ignore you like you don’t exist when you come back to reclaim it.
Hoping you are all safe and healthy, my BiM family, I look forward to the day when I can see you again and maybe, perhaps, if we are lucky, even shake hands or give a hug J
Adryon Hutton – The New Normal
I think it’s important to be realistic during this time.
I am not adjusting well. I am a person who thrives on routine, social interaction and as a very type A person who likes control over my life and circumstances, I adapt to some changes slowly.
The vast majority of my work is interpersonal and I thrive on the social aspect of being involved in it. As a law, my home has always been strictly for me and my family; a place to escape the world and relax. But now my home has become my world in a very short amount of time. I have become admin worker, daycare, schoolteacher to my two school-aged children, caregiver and homemaker. 5 jobs for one person as my husband is an essential worker and working more hours than he has before (which was still a lot).
Some days, I definitely feel the weight of it all and it can seem unmanageable.
I take great comfort in knowing the WHOLE WORLD is dealing with the same situations. I remind myself that there is no famine nor shortage of water and we will not suffer. No one is trying to hurt me or my family and we are safe in our home. I remain grateful that my husband and I are BOTH so lucky to still be working and we have goverments and companies doing everything they can to support their populations. I think of all the things that are going right and one by one the things to be grateful for and my spirit lifts. One thought at a time. One step at a time. Keep moving forward. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. And always looking forward to the future.
It’s wonderful to be positive, productive and thrive during this trying time in the world. I think it’s also important to remember that it’s OK to have hard days and they too will pass. Keep moving forward ?
Love to everyone moving forward, no matter your pace.
This song helps:
Health Services Manager
Legacies Health Centre
Wanda Gibson: Work from home Strategy
As nature decides to throw the world a curve ball I am suddenly ripped from a work and life routine that I was perfectly happy with. Now I find myself working from home, but that presents some problems for me.
I know myself well enough to know that I would be distracted with everyday things in my home that need my attention. For example the dirty dishes, laundry, plants to water, dusting, etc… you get the idea. So in order to put myself into work mode mentally, I have to treat this ‘new normal’ like my old normal. I need to prepare the same way, commute, complete my workday and commute back home.
I want to share with you my COVID-COMMUTE
The night before a workday: Prep lunches – (Husband is still working), Stage the coffee maker and decide on clothes.
I rise at 5am to have one hour to myself for gratitude and bright ideas, then I groom and dress for the day (yes, full makeup and hair). Then I enjoy breakfast with my hubby and a game of cards. I do my dishes and any other small chores that will fit into my time remaining. I pack my lunch, snack, coffee carafe and water. I exit my house by the backdoor, get into my car and drive anywhere for 15 min (maybe go to drive thru for coffee). I arrive at my office (back to my house) park in my husband’s parking spot (my parking spot for work) and enter thru a different door of my home. I go upstairs to my office (spare bedroom) with my lunch and coffee and start my day. (My husband rolls his eyes)
I’m now at work mentally and physically. I don’t think about the dishes or the laundry at all. My office is on the same level as a bathroom so I don’t have to leave the floor to see any of my distractions.
At lunch time, I may go out to my deck and set it up like a restaurant or I might just stay in the office.
At the end of every day it’s my husband’s routine to ask how my commute was. Usually it varies day to day depending on my location that week, but usually it would be an average of 70 min. one way, now I have 15 feet. Just for grins I set up old Tonka trucks in the hallway to create a construction zone just so I can say that I was delayed by road work….lol. I hope my ‘working at home strategy” gave you a smile today.