NURTURING INCLUSIVITY AT UCM

Our educational focus is “Nurturing Inclusivity”: deepening our understanding of systemic and structural racism and the inherent bias that has been internalized by people in Canadian society. We will unpack how we live with in a system of white supremacy and how we can challenge that bias both within ourselves and within the larger community.

We seek to deepen our understanding of the impact of racism on racialized people, so that we may develop as Unitarian Universalists.  As a community, we are working to enlarge our circle in ways that reduce white privilege and truly welcome people of colour.

There are essentially two key steps to becoming more inclusive:

Step 1: Awareness
Experts tell us that our unconscious mind makes a majority of our decisions. It creates blind spots — unconscious biases that can narrow our vision and potentially influence our behaviours. We need to become aware of any blindspots we may have.

Step 2: Action
We need to consciously use strategies to minimise any blindspots and actively include and leverage diversity of perspectives.

Inclusion Nudge – Action:

  • Have a conversation with the people you interact with regularly and ask them to tell you something you don’t know about them and share something that they wouldn’t know about you.
  • We need to consciously use strategies to minimise any blindspots and actively include and leverage diversity of perspectives.
  • Stop and reflect on who you are providing opportunities to (such as networking events, introductions, work opportunities,training). Are you selecting the same people or people who are most like you most frequently? Make a plan to actively rotate the opportunities.
  • Another listening challenge, give everyone your full attention. Don’t finish their sentences, interject or interrupt. Listen to their answers or opinions. Did you pick up anything new? Really listening can help to break down our assumptions and help us have stronger relationships.
  • Aligning with the theme of listening, this week if you disagree with someone’s point of view, take a breath and imagine things from their point of view, put yourself in their place. Take your time when reacting.
  • Have a curiosity day. Ask people questions about themselves and why they do the things they do. Taking the time to understand peoples’ motivations can help you build a deeper relationship with them.
  • Awareness: The Implicit Association Tests developed by Harvard University will help you gain a deeper understanding of your attitudes and preferences across a range of different groups of people and associated attributes. These scientifically proven tests are completely anonymous, and your personal results will be shared only with you.
    Take 10 minutes to take one of the available Implicit Association Tests to learn more about any blindspots you may have: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/canada/ Harmeet Dhillon
  • Expand your social media network. If you use facebook, twitter or Instagram, seek out people to follow who are different from you. If you don’t know where to begin, follow artists and celebrities whose life experiences are not yours. Pay attention to your responses to their posts. What are you learning – about them and yourself?
  • When you are looking for someone to consult with on a decision – professional or personal – you need to make, don’t go to your usual sounding boards. Choose someone new, someone on the edge of your group, or someone that you would like to get to know better.  How did that feel? What perspectives and insights arose from the conversation?
  • Widen your news outlets: read a different news website or newspaper and become knowledgeable about varying points of view. Can you bring these new perspectives into a meeting or discussion?
  • Watch this video about ways to overcome blind spots by broadening your perspective. Then consider these questions:
    Consider a time when you felt an immediate connection with or had a strong preference for someone. How might similarity bias have influenced your behavior towards them?
    Conversely, how might your belief that someone is different than you influence your behavior towards them?
    What techniques can you use to counteract the potential impact of similarity bias?  https://youtu.be/lLYf28E1Bfs
  • We continue the PWC video series with this session on blind spots and prototype bias: https://youtu.be/Bv4WUlqgtzI  Takeaways:  Be open. Don’t let one shining moment or one speed bump sway your opinion forever. Look at all evidence objectively. Play your own devil’s advocate and seek out contradictory views. Slow down your thinking. Ask questions and bring in other perspectives to expand your point of view.
  • First impressions can block objectivity; which can cause missed opportunities. Sometimes wanting to be “right” can take us in the wrong direction. https://youtu.be/cEWiQNpDd34
    What concepts regarding “halo”, “horns” or confirmation bias was new to you? Do you agree with the idea that not all biases are bad? Why or why not?
  • When talking to clients, or colleagues, or acquaintances about their interests, try not to steer the conversation towards your own interests. For example, if you normally start a conversation talking about sports, try starting with the arts and vice versa).
  • If you tend to go the same places and have your ‘own’ spot, why don’t you sit somewhere different the one day this week? Literally get a different point of view.
  • Stop and reflect on who you are providing opportunities to (such as networking events, introductions, work opportunities,training). Are you selecting the same people or people who are most like you most frequently? Make a plan to actively rotate the opportunities.

 

Our Social Responsibility Committee meets regularly.  Check the calendar for the next meeting,

There are many ways that UCM acts for a better world.  Join in!

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After the service last Sunday, I received requests to delve further into the challenge of creating a Black History T-Shirt – Canadian Version, so, I have put together such a list.  In no way should this be thought to be anything more than my attempt to tell a short story about some of the amazing folks that we might want to emulate in a specific way. Some are chosen because they were the first, or the best, others because their stories spoke to me, and I hope you will benefit from hearing them as well. It needs to be said that none of these people are saints, I am intentional about pointing to a specific attribute, I encourage you to keep that in mind. Your list might be significantly different, or much the same.  I would be interested in knowing who would be on your list.

Lead like Lincoln Alexander:  Lincoln Alexander served as an RCAF wireless operator, as a lawyer, a Member of Parliament, Cabinet Minister, Chair of the Worker’s Compensation Board, and the 24th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.  In each role he led the way, with sound judgement, compassion, and humanity. https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/lincoln-maccauley-alexander

Fight like Sam Langford:  Some people never get the recognition that they deserve because they are not even allowed to compete.  Sam Langford, born in Nova Scotia March 4, 1883 was just such an athlete.  His record as a heavyweight boxer, although only 5’7” tall was an impressive 178-29-38 (126 KOs) Unfortunately, he was never able to compete at the highest level because of segregation. https://www.ringtv.com/579231-20-20-vision-the-greatest-fighter-from-canada-sam-langford/

Resist like Marie-Josephe Angelique:  What is a reasonable response when you are tormented throughout your life? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie-Joseph_Ang%C3%A9lique  Born in Portugal around 1705 and sold into slavery as a child, she was eventually sold to a French merchant in New England, named Francheville.  He brought her back to Montreal and when he died in 1733 her ownership passed to his wife, who weirdly named her after her deceased daughter.  Marie-Joseph Angelique was forced to have multiple children, by another slave, who all died in infancy.  She was however, in love with an indentured white labourer, Claude Thibault with whom she tried to flee.  After being caught and returned on multiple occasions she ‘went on a small reign of terror in the household’.  When she found out that she was to be sold again and shipped to the West Indies, Angelique had had enough.  The Francheville home as well as a large portion of Montreal, were destroyed by fire and Angelique was arrested and charged with arson.  At 29 years old she was found guilt in a spectacular 6-week trial. After being tortured she admitted to setting the fire, although she never implicated Thibault.  She was hanged and her body displayed for 2 days before being burned and having her ashes scattered.  It is still not known whether she set the fire, but she was certainly a convenient scapegoat. https://www.canadianmysteries.ca/sites/angelique/accueil/indexen.html In February 2012, the public square across from the city hall in Montreal was renamed Place Marie-Josephe Angelique in her honour. http://canpoetry.library.utoronto.ca/cooper/poem6.htm

Campaign like Alvin Curling:  First elected in 1985, Dr. Curling had an illustrious career in politics for more than 20 years dedicating his life to championing inclusiveness, public service and human rights.  He was awarded 2 Honorary Doctorates and received the Order of Ontario for his work.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alvin_Curling

Riot like Thornton and Lucie Blackburn:  Generally inciting a riot is not seen as a positive attribute, but there are times when it is called for.  The Blackburn’s escaped slavery and made their way to Detroit where they were later captured and imprisoned.  Lucie was spirited away the night before she was to be sent back to Kentucky.  The next morning a huge crowd, with both black and white protestors, started a ‘riot’ and Thornton too was rescued and they fled across the river to Windsor Ontario.  Again, they were jailed, awaiting extradition.  However, Lt. Governor John Colbourne refused to return them to slavery which was a precedent setting decision.  The Blackburn Riots, as they became known, marked a huge change in the willingness of ‘northerners’ to be complicit in slavery by returning self-emancipated people. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thornton_Blackburn The Blackburn’s moved to Toronto, where the lack of public transportation gave them the idea of starting their own taxi company utilizing the red and yellow colour combination with is still used on the TTC today.  In 1985 archaeologists found evidence that their home was the terminus of the famous Underground Railroad. https://globalnews.ca/news/6601355/thornton-lucie-blackburn-toronto/  In 1999 the Department of Canadian Heritage designated Lucie and Thornton Blackburn “Persons of National Historic Significance”

Write Like Desmond Cole:  Desmond Cole is an activist, broadcaster, and author who holds the mirror up to issues of racist, class, and power. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAZ_Xl5fYm4 His recent book “The Skin We’re in” rocked my understanding of how carding, systemic racism, and being a person of colour in our world felt.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desmond_Cole

Protest like Maurice Tomlinson: Lawyer, AIDS Activist, Organizer, Author and LGBT+ Advocate, Maurice Tomlinson has spent the last decade fighting to have the Anti-Sodomy Laws in the Caribbean overturned.  He has tirelessly allowed himself to be a lighting rod for the hate not only from government sources but also from many within the churches in Jamaica.  He received serious death threats when a picture of he and his husband, Tom, a Canadian Military Chaplain, appeared in a popular Jamaican newspaper.  This increased after they appeared in the 2013 Documentary “The Abominable Crime”.  After a long wait, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights published a scathing report, this week declaring that the Jamaican “Offences Against the Person Act” violates the American Convention on Human Rights to which Jamaica is a signatory.  This has been a huge step forward for the fight to overturn these post-colonial laws.  The fight continues as they are back in court on March 8th.

Litigate like Violet King Henry:  If you like a list of first, Violet is your woman:  the first black woman lawyer in Canada, the first black person to graduate law in Alberta and the first black person to be admitted to the Alberta Bar.  She was the daughter of American settlers who came to Canada to escape the racism in the U.S.

Make Music like Oscar Peterson: Considered among the world’s best Jazz pianists, O.P. released over 200 recordings, won seven Grammy Awards as well as numerous other awards and honours.  Peterson play with many of the Jazz elite during his long career and was once offered the position of Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario which he declined due to ill health.

Serve like William Hall: The son of former slaves, William Nelson Edward Hall was the first Black person, the first Nova Scotian and the third Canadian to receive the Victoria Cross. He was recognized for his actions during the Siege of Lucknow.  He served from 1847 until 1876 joining the Royal Navy in 1852, choosing the quiet life of farming upon his retirement.  In June 2015 a Canadian Navy ship, built in the Halifax shipyards, would be named for William Hall

Throw like Fergie Jenkins:  In 1991 Ferguson Jenkins was the first Canadian in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown N.Y.  He started his career as a pitcher for the Phillies in 1965 and subsequently played for the Cubs, Rangers, and Red Sox retiring after spending 18 years in the major leagues racking up an astounding 3,192 Strikeouts. He also played basketball with the Harlem Globetrotters during the off season in 1967 to 1969. Interestingly he was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1979, but the investiture did not occur until May 4, 2007, 27 years later.

 

Kathleen Sorensen

DLL

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On June 25th 2019, more than 100 UUs joined Rev. Dr. Mark Morrison-Reed, Dr. Wilburn Hayden, and Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana to learn more about anti-Black racism in Canada and within our UU Community. The event began with opening words and a few minutes defining the intention for the evening as an opportunity to listen, deeply, for understanding. Each speaker then shared their personal, and professional perspectives which were insightful and often raw. Attendees were invited to breakout sessions to discuss what they had learned during the evening, and what they found to be hopeful in the midst of so much pain and protest.

The discussions in the breakout sessions were recorded by notetakers and shared when the full group reconvened following the breakout sessions. Overwhelmingly, participants commented that they were moved, often to tears, by the experiences and comments from the presenters and that they were hungry for more opportunities to discuss how to confront and work to dismantle racism. There is, again, the recognition that change is necessary now and requires hard work, honest self-reflection for non-black people, and consistent advocacy.

In the coming days, the CUC will make an edited version of the meeting and presentations available on our Youtube channel. Summaries of the presenters’ speaking notes are available so that those who were not able to attend can experience parts of this important discussion. Stay tuned for upcoming opportunities to learn about and combat racism.

From our presenters: 

Rev. Dr. Mark Morrison-Reed: Let me begin my reflections by offering words from Tim Tyson’s address at the Granville County’s Human Relations Commission Annual Banquet, September 2004:

“…lean into it. I am talking about racial discomfort. I have certainly felt my share of it, through the course of my work, and I recommend racial discomfort to you.  Lean into it.  That is, doing exactly the opposite of your first instinct, which is to retreat as fast as possible and is also perfectly logical. None of us wants to feel uncomfortable. But there is no way we can have a fruitful and candid conversation about race in an interracial setting and always feel comfortable. But it won’t kill you to feel a little uncomfortable. Just go ahead, lean into it, and listen. Listen to other people, of course, but listen to your discomfort. It will teach you a lot.  You’ll be okay. And we’ll all get better at this.”

White folks don’t get it because most often, buffered as they are by white privilege, it does not touch them directly as it does black men who, almost universally, have been carded as I have been – or worse.

Full reflection here

Dr. Wilburn Hayden: Racism is Racism: Canadian racism is often cited as different from USA racism, but racism is racism. White supremacy is just as real in Canada as in the USA. Discrimination and segregation (by law or tradition) are racist. Canadian “colour-blindness” erases black lives and extends the legacy of colonialism and slavery as witnessed through the lens of black injustices, poverty, and exclusion.

Full reflection here

Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana: I believe a faith community to be about hard stuff of life and death and everything in between.   I do not see religious communities’ goal or mission to be the pursuit of comfort of its members.  UU institutions should resist this urge.  I see them as safe spaces for people to face hard truths, to ask difficult questions, to grow as human beings and develop values for which they can live by or die for.

Anti-black racism is a pressing issue.  Black people within and outside our communities are hurting.  The current moment is full of hope. But black people and their allies will need to keep demanding change. They will need to keep the tension high.   Change will come if dismantling anti-black racism is seen for what it is: spiritual work.

Transformation is coming but it will not come without our boldness and leadership.

Full reflection here

Resources for Education and Reflection:
These conversations about racism, while not easy, are critically important. We have a growing list of resource suggestions.

We also offer these recent additions:

On Being hosts a conversation with Robin DiAngelo, author of White Fragility and Resmaa Menakem, Minneapolis-based trauma specialist and author of My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies. https://onbeing.org/programs/robin-diangelo-and-resmaa-menakem-in-conversation/

Article “This could be a turning point” by Jim Corrigall found on page 5 of the latest edition of the UK publication The Inquirer, The Unitarian and Free Christian Paper. The article outlines the writer’s impressions of a Black Lives Matter event very similar to our own. https://www.inquirer.org.uk/pages/download/issue-7991?wpdmdl=431&refresh=5f076d39cefaf1594322233

Unmasking Racism: A CBC virtual town hall on how to dismantle systemic racism against Indigenous, Black and people of colour. https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1752283203533

Read the CUC’s  Statement on Mourning the Deaths of More People of Colour 

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In this workshop series and Sunday services, we unpacked racism in Canada and explored ways to become allies in the struggle to dismantle the racial barriers in our congregations and the larger community.
The workshops took an explicit view that transforming ourselves and our society into a racially just place implicates a responsibility in white folks to engage more robustly.

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Books: 

Articles:

Watch

Other resources: 

 

There are many ways that UCM acts for a better world.  Join in!

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Anti-Ableism Resources

Terms

Ability: A concept that symbolizes or categorizes people based on person’s ways of navigating and negotiating society – physically, emotionally, psychologically, and/or mentally.

Ableism: Oppression, prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination against disabled people on the basis of actual or presumed disability. Source: http://www.autistichoya.com/p/definitions.html

  • A system of superiority and discrimination that provides or denies resources, agency, and dignity based on one’s abilities (mental/intellectual, emotional, and/or physical.) Ableism depends on a binary and benefits able-bodied people at the expense of disabled people. Like other forms of oppression, ableism operates on the individual, institutional and cultural levels.

Able Body: People who do not have any physical or sensory disability or mobility impairment.

Access: One’s ability to know, find and/or use the tools and resources that will allow them to live whole and healthy lives.

Differently able: Can refer to any person with a disability and is usually a euphemistic phrase to avoid saying “disability” or “disabled.” Source: http://www.autistichoya.com/p/ableist-words-and-terms-to-avoid.html

Otherwise stated, terms are adapted from: Merriam-Webster Dictionary 

Examples of walking privilege

Walking is an activity most people do every day without much thought, this is not the case for people who need support while walking or people who use wheelchairs. Here are some examples from Everyday Feminism– Liebowitz, Cara- http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/12/examples-walking-privilege/.

  • Safely accessing public transportation
  • Having more options when finding affordable housing.
    • “Finding housing for anyone, especially in a big city, is difficult. But for wheelchair users, it can be next to impossible.”
  • The means of mobility you rely on aren’t manipulated, touched, or leaned on by strangers.
  • The ability of quickly exit a building in case of emergency.
  • Your entire being isn’t defined by your means of mobility.
  • You can see people that move like you being represented in a positive light on media.

Disability Justice

  • “With disability justice, we want to move away from the ‘myth of independence,’ that everyone can and should be able to do everything on their own. I am not fighting for independence, as much of the disability rights movement rallies behind. I am fighting for an interdependence that embraces need and tells the truth: no one does it on their own and the myth of independence is just that, a myth.”
  • Changing the Framework: Disability Justice by Mia Mingus (5–9 minutes)
    “And, like many movements, [the current disability rights movement] is contextualized within its era of emergence and left us with ‘cliff-hangers’: it is single issue identity based; its leadership has historically centered white experiences; its framework leaves out other forms of oppression and the ways in which privilege is leveraged at differing times and for various purposes; it centers people with mobility impairments, marginalizing other forms of impairment; and centers people who can achieve rights and access through a legal or rights-based framework. The political strategy of the disability rights movement relied on litigation and the establishment of a disability bureaucratic sector at the expense of developing a broad-based popular movement. While a concrete and radical move forward toward justice, the disability rights movement simultaneously invisibilized the lives of peoples who lived at intersecting junctures of oppression—disabled people of color, immigrants with disabilities, queers with disabilities, trans and gender non-conforming people with disabilities, people with disabilities who are houseless, people with disabilities who are incarcerated, people with disabilities who have had their ancestral lands stolen, amongst others. In response to this, in 2005, disabled activists of color, originally queer women of color incubated in progressive and radical movements that did not systematically address ableism—namely, myself, Mia Mingus, and Stacey Milbern, soon to be joined by Leroy Moore, Eli Clare and Sebastian Margaret . . . ultimately launched a framework we called Disability Justice.”
  • Seven things you should stop saying and doing to disabled people Guardian readers Wed 15 Nov 2017 06.00 GMT

Seven people reveal their everyday disabilism bugbears

1. Don’t call me ‘brave’

People think that if you have a disability, you shouldn’t associate yourself with anything to do with beauty. In their perception, disability equals “ugly” or “unattractive”. Of course, it’s ridiculous. Who said being disabled disqualifies you from being beautiful? Whether a disability is visible or invisible, people with a disability can be fabulously attractive on so many levels. But you’re almost disqualified from looking good. Sometimes people will say to me: “You are so pretty but you are in a wheelchair …” It’s those small things that are really belittling.

I do cringe when people marvel at me, saying I must be “brave” or “inspiring” – just because I am out shopping on my own. “You must be so brave.” I find this phrase very patronising. Don’t say this to me unless I have wrestled a tiger or a crocodile or done something extraordinary like fly to the moon and back. I don’t see how I can be inspiring by getting on with life.
Anne Wafula Strike MBE, 47, Essex

2. Don’t use baby-talk

It’s irritating when people talk to me as if I’m a child – they spot my hearing aids, and they suddenly think they need to revert to loud, slow baby-talk for me to understand them. But I struggle with my hearing, not my comprehension. I can ask you to speak up or more clearly if I need you to!
Joshua Salisbury, 22, Stoke-on-Trent

3. Don’t ask what my disabilities are

I wish people would stop asking what my disabilities are. It’s an intrusive and unnecessary question; you only need to know what my access needs are, not why I have those needs. You wouldn’t ask a non-disabled person to give details about their medical history, so why should it be different for me? If I want you to know, I’ll tell you.
Alice Kirby, 26, Sheffield

4. Don’t assume all disabled people look the same

I wish people would stop thinking that the world is made up of purely able-bodied individuals and that the tiny minority who are disabled are easily identifiable. Not looking stereotypically blind, people assume I can see perfectly well. This mindset is something that will continue to keep us at the periphery of society, especially if people restrict their understanding of disability to a picture in their heads that says all disabled people look the same. Broaden what you believe a blind person looks like from just cane-wielding. We don’t all look the same – just as able-bodied people don’t.
Alex Lee, 22, London

5. Don’t help me without asking

The one thing I wish people would stop doing is assuming I need assistance without asking. From trying to help me lock up my bike to my food being served already cut up, it’s patronising, frustrating and can sometimes be embarrassing.
Devarshi Lodhia, 23, Cambridge

6. Don’t give misplaced advice

People say: “Hey, when is your leg going to be better?” My favourite is: “Sister, come to my church and you will be healed as God will forgive your sins.” Usually at this point, I point out that a) my disability, poliomyelitis, was not genetic, it was acquired as an infant and b) we’re all sinners and that they should be forgiven too. I also get: “Shall I call you a taxi?” while walking towards my car. Sometimes, if I’m with some friends at a restaurant, the waiter doesn’t ask me for my order, but says to my friend: “What is she going to have?” I then say that she is able to speak for herself.

I find that the general public have good intentions but, seriously, think before dishing out misplaced advice to me about how you think about my disability. Other times, I think that there’s a lot of unconscious bias towards disability and if you don’t fit the box, people just can’t understand that the box is a construct.
Placida Uzoamaka Ojinnaka, 41, Enfield

7. Don’t assume my disability defines me

I believe that feeling irritation towards those expressing disablist views is a futile act. It’s self-defeating to allow perspectives that stem from a lack of understanding or empathy to occupy me. But sometimes it’s unavoidable. It’s frustrating when people see physical disability as anything other than a few logistical difficulties that I have to be creative with and find ways around. It doesn’t define my motivations, ambition and identity, so why should anyone have this preconception?
Lottie Jackson, 25, Bristol

Videos

Overcoming Ableism – YouTube  11 mins https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1xnyVCBYNQ
Casual Ableist Language – YouTube 5 mins https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1xnyVCBYNQ
Dismantling Ableism in Ontario – YouTube 26 mins https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TI9uG1mZu2M

Our Social Responsibility Committee meets regularly.  Check the calendar for events.

There are many ways that UCM acts for a better world.  Join in!

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Mental Health Resources

Articles about stigma

Questions about stigma

  • Have you, or someone you know, experienced stigma or discrimination because of mental health conditions?
  • Has stigma affected your access to treatments for medical issues unrelated to mental health?
  • Have you, or someone you know, ever been evicted because of a perceived mental health problem?
  • Has anyone asked you if you are “off your meds”?
  • Have you, or someone you know, ever felt judged for taking psychiatric medications, or for seeking the help of a therapist?
  • Had the stigma associated with mental health conditions impacted you, or someone you know, at work?
  • Have you ever felt “othered” because of a mental health condition?

Access to mental healthcare articles

Questions about access

  • Are you comfortable sharing your experiences regarding access to mental health care (positive and negative)?
  • Do you, or someone you know, worry about losing access to mental healthcare?
  • Do you think psychotherapy should be covered by OHIP?
  • Do you think all citizens of Canada have equal access to mental healthcare?

Mental Healthcare Resources

 

Our Social Responsibility Committee meets regularly.  Check the calendar for events.

There are many ways that UCM acts for a better world.  Join in!

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Books

Love Lives Here  by Amanda Jette Knox

An inspirational story of accepting and embracing two trans people in a family–a family who shows what’s possible when you “lead with love.”
While their family was coming to terms with the transition of their middle child, Jette Knox’s spouse announces that there will be more changes ahead.  This is a larger than life true story about love, acceptance, and becoming who you always have been. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43232391-love-lives-here?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=5JPaf43e2c&rank=1

Gender Failure by Ivan Coyote and Rae Spoon

Based on their acclaimed 2012 live show that toured across Canada and the US and in Europe, Gender Failure is a poignant collection of autobiographical essays, lyrics, and images documenting Ivan and Rae’s personal journeys from gender failure to gender self-acceptance. Equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking, it’s a book that will touch LGBTQ readers and others, revealing, with candor and insight, that gender comes in more than two sizes. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18406194-gender-failure?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=DGysYdvZuX&rank=1

I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings

From the time she was two years old, Jazz knew that she had a girl’s brain in a boy’s body. She loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid and didn’t feel like herself in boys’ clothing. This confused her family, until they took her to a doctor who said that Jazz was transgender and that she was born that way. Jazz’s story is based on her real-life experience and she tells it in a simple, clear way that will be appreciated by picture book readers, their parents, and teachers.  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18763344-i-am-jazz?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=6xOIbtCn7N&rank=1

Before I Had the Words by Skylar Kergil

At the beginning of his physical transition from female to male, then-seventeen-year-old Skylar Kergil posted his first video on YouTube. In the months and years that followed, he recorded weekly update videos about the physical and emotional changes he experienced. Skylar’s openness and positivity attracted thousands of viewers, who followed along as his voice deepened and his body changed shape. Through surgeries and recovery, highs and lows, from high school to college to the real world, Skylar welcomed others on his journey.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34138368-before-i-had-the-words?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=JHF96M8TON&rank=1

Transition: Becoming Who I Was Always Meant to Be by Chaz Bono

Chaz Bono has lived this life. We first met him as Chastity, the darling girl on stage with her parents, Sonny and Cher. Then, we knew her as an out lesbian and gay activist. Through all of this, Chaz was plagued by a nagging feeling that he wasn’t living the life meant for him. It wasn’t until he admitted, first to himself, then to his family, and finally to the world, that he was a transgender man, that Chaz Bono fully embraced his true self. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20056091-transition?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=iD0ll3UmrO&rank=1

My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis

Dyson loves pink, sparkly things. Sometimes he wears dresses. Sometimes he wears jeans. He likes to wear his princess tiara, even when climbing trees. He’s a Princess Boy.  Inspired by the author’s son, and by her own initial struggles to understand, this heartwarming book is a call for tolerance and an end to bullying and judgments. The world is a brighter place when we accept everyone for who they are. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9436049-my-princess-boy?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=sNrwigm8c7&rank=1

 

Movies

The Danish Girl – 2015 – Eddie Redmayne https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5W1SqvYt58Q
The Crying Game – 1992 – Stephen Rea https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vs_4-QQACo
 Albert Nobbs – 2012 – Glenn Close https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ne1MfS191gs
 Boys Don’t Cry – 1999 – Hilary Swank https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYpUhVvfGeg

 

Television Series

Gentleman Jack – HBO/BBC 2019 – Suranne Jones https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uBYRcP44M4

 

Ted Talks

The Way We Think about Biological Sex is Wrong – Emily Quinn https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stUl_OapUso
Everyone is Trans – Ian Harvie https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YeVt2kp_So
I’ve Lived as a Man and Woman and Here’s What I Learned – Paula Stone https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrYx7HaUlMY

 

Our Social Responsibility Committee meets regularly.  Check the calendar for the next meeting,

There are many ways that UCM acts for a better world.  Join in!

Check out our Calendar

The Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga acknowledges that we are on the traditional lands of the Mississauga of the New Credit Nation.

We are walking with all who are on the journey towards truth, justice, healing and reconciliation between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous peoples. We welcome the opportunity to learn from those who have been on this path a long time, as well as others who have joined it more recently. We believe we are part of a wider learning community.

Some of our past events include participating in the Kairos Blanket exercise,   and learning about the intergenerational impacts of colonialism from Darren Thomas ,  a member of the Seneca Nation and university professor.

There are a number of exciting programs on reconciliation.

Check out our Calendar

Visit the Canadian Unitarian Council’s website and explore the Truth, Healing and Reconciliation pages.
Read the Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future

Reconciliation Canada is leading the way in engaging Canadians in dialogue and transformative experiences that revitalize the relationships among Indigenous peoples and all Canadians. Read their Reconciliation Discussion Guide

What is Reconciliation?  A blog post from Indigenous Corporate Training.

21 Things you may not know about the Indian Act – CBC article by Bob Joseph.

Charity TrueNorthAid offers some suggestions to support reconciliation efforts.

To stay up to date on the news, check out the Aboriginal Peoples TV network: https://www.aptn.ca/

To learn more about the local treaties between the Mississaugas and the British, read this article from Modern Mississauga.

You can learn more about the Mississaugas of the Credit by exploring their website, which includes a culture and history section.  www.mncfn.ca

Videos

From Reconciliation Canada, a video series from Chief Robert Joseph using traditional teachings to explore how to manage life during the pandemic.

https://reconciliationcanada.ca/category/video/

For local history, this video from Heritage Mississauga looks at Treaties 22 and 23 (UCM sits on Treaty 22 land).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rE7SqDVL730&t=418s

Multimedia ways to explore the tragic life of Chanie Wenjack as told by Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip at www.secretpath.ca

Books

The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew.  A memoir of ancestry, residential schools and healing.

The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King.  A political and cultural history of indigenous people in Canada.

Legacy: Trauma, Stories and Indigenous Healing by Suzanne Methot. Looks at the legacy of intergenerational trauma and ways to heal.

All our Relations:  Finding the Path Forward by Tanya Talaga.  Explores the high rates of suicide among indigenous youth and the resistance and resilience responding to the crisis.

One Drum by Richard Wagamese.  A gift of traditional Ojibway teachings that was Wagamese’s final, incomplete manuscript.

 

Our Social Responsibility Committee meets regularly.  Check the calendar for the next meeting,

There are many ways that UCM acts for a better world.  Join in!

Check out our Calendar

Our community has a long tradition of working for equality, inclusion, peace and justice.  Our aspiration is to transform of ourselves, our congregation, and the world around us into a place of greater compassion and justice.

As a member congregation of the Canadian Unitarian Council, we are committed to work with members of the indigenous community on Truth and Reconciliation.  We are on the path towards reconciliation and we are in the process of consciousness raising.    Check the calendar for Reconciliation events throughout the year.

In 2018, the congregation aims to become a Green Sanctuary.   This is a major project aims to assess and address our impact on the environment as a congregation and individuals.  UCM will engage with the broader community to bring about meaningful change to protect our beautiful earth.

Our Social Responsibility Committee meets regularly.  Check the calendar for the next meeting,

There are many ways that UCM acts for a better world.  Join in!

Check out our Calendar

TESTIMONIALS

  • UCM is a diverse and multicultural community of individuals ‘who are guided by compassion, reason and love on an individual search for truth and meaning’. “we collaboratively try to make sense of the world around us”

    David Armani
  • For Marc, Unitarian Universalism aligned much more closely with his views on life than the Catholicism of his youth, and gave him a community of people with whom to struggle with how to act justly in the world.

    Marc Xuereb
  • I love the great variety of people and opinions that can be found at UCM. I love that it's a safe space to engage in dialogue about things you might steer away from other places...

    Kristen

 

We strive to foster healthy relationships amongst and within UU communities
with the broader world and with all life

COMING EVENTS

16Apr

Online Event: Mindfulness Friday

Friday, Online
18Apr

Online Service: A Living Tradition - Rev. Ben Robins

Sunday, Online
23Apr

Online Event: Mindfulness Friday

Friday, Online
25Apr

Online Service: So Much Love to Give - Rev. Ben Robins

Sunday, Online
30Apr

Online Event: Mindfulness Friday

Friday, Online
More events

JOIN US!


Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga

84 South Service Road
Mississauga, ON
L5G 2R9
905-278-5622
info@uucm.ca