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The Interdisciplinary Work of Lyss Warmland.

Posts tagged community-building



My birthday falls a mere two weeks after Christmas, so I’ve always advocated for a meaningful celebration. If I don’t, people tend to be too broke and too “peopled-out” to care about getting together. In my twenties, I started holding “Lyssmas”, a holiday where I’d gather all my favourite people to eat waffles and chocolate, listen to the entire Propaghandi discography on vinyl, and explore outside. Upon invitation, many friends would ask who else was going only to discover that they didn’t know many other people who would be gathering. I’m a person with a variety of interests who occupies many worlds, so I would inevitably derive the guestlist from my favourite people from each area of my life. A couple friends from theatre, a couple friends from university, a couple punks, one or two friends from high school, a few friends I’d met through my partner, some other community-oriented artists. I’d trust that they would all get along just fine, and probably even swimmingly. It was at one of these Lyssmas gatherings that I overheard one of my oldest friends refer to me as a “friend curator”.
Being named a “friend curator” felt like the highest honour. I connected with people who shared my fundamental values and who brought their unique skills and overall essence to my life in a way I appreciated. I really value connecting with other human beings for who they are. I appreciate it from an emotional place, and also from a place of curiosity. I love learning about the inside of someone’s head, especially when their lens is clearly different from my own. When someone brings up an idea or initiative, I can almost always say, “do you know [so and so]? They might be interested in this – do you want me to connect you with them?”. In fact, this is often the most valuable contribution I can bring to a team.

Needless to say, I’m also interested in community. What is it? What does it even mean? What does it look like? What does it feel like? How do we prioritize collective care while maintaining a sense of autonomy? What can I bring to the table and what do I need? Who is sitting at this table, who’s missing from the table and what barriers keep them from joining in? Why do the people showing up feel invited? I have a lot of ideas about answers to these questions, but I’m also clear about the fact that there isn’t one simple answer. What I do know for sure is that, when it comes to building community, being a friend curator comes in handy.

When I became a parent, I expected to be able to approach it as a well-connected anarchafeminst. As a friend curator. I expected to be able to meet with and connect with other parents who, again, shared my fundamental values and also brought their own unique skills and outlooks to any conversation around parenting. I expected to be able to reject ways of parenting that replicated the power dynamics that are rooted in disconnection, and therefore, oppression and all that comes with it. 

Having expectations is something I struggle with, because my brain wants things to happen logically. Since I’ve spent nearly thirty years honing my connection-building skills, I expect that I’ll be able to draw on connection when I need it. Unfortunately, expectations don’t normally pan out that way, because they centre our own reality rather than the reality of another person/ other people in the relationship. It essentially actively undermines their autonomy and cheats everyone out of connection. Having expectations as a community-oriented, friend-curating new parent was a big mistake.

The advent of parenthood came for me on the wings of a global pandemic, a time when drawing on my connections looked entirely different than I’d expected, and this was disappointing. Regardless, in the first year of parenthood, I survived and found every gift I could in forming my own unique relationship with my son while redefining other relationships in my life: my partnership, my role as a daughter/sister/niece/grandaughter, my role as a friend, my role as an activist. I was able to come home to who I was as a carer without any background noise of trying to navigate external relationships in person. My world turned virtual, and with that, came the opportunity to practice stricter boundaries. Conversations about consent became more mainstream, as everyone navigated what level of in-person meeting was comfortable for them, depending on a multitude of factors. So many of those blurry answers to that question, “How do we prioritize collective care while maintaining a sense of autonomy?” became simultaneously collective and divisive. Through the pandemic, I continue to receive the gift of the opportunity to expand my own ideas around this question, while I model navigating it for my child. And as is the theme of pandemic new-parenthood for me, it’s a gift to embrace the completely unexpected. 

The other gift that came from the urge to make connections during this time has been through prioritizing connecting with my child. Although I have felt disconnected in many ways, including from the general political climate we’re situated in, I’ve been able to channel that need for community and connection to be centred on my relationship with my child during the formative years of his life. The general culture we’re situated in discourages this level of connection through the focus on working outside the home in order to meet basic human needs. We’re all so busy trying to survive under late capitalism, that we’re fundamentally disconnected from our children from an early age. One thing about the effect the pandemic has had on the way our society functions is that it’s slowed life down in a way that forces us to be with the people in our own dwellings. This can be a good thing in some homes, although it’s also resulted in an increase in domestic violence

I’ve discovered that there are both good and bad outcomes related to being connected to our children without the balance of connection with our greater communities. It’s been a few years since I celebrated Lyssmas, and I really miss it. I do. I feel the absence of gathering with important people in my life, to learn from them and share with them. Still, I’m grateful for technology, I’m grateful to have a place to live, and I’m grateful for this opportunity to build connection with my child. My hope for him is that this creates a radical sense of connectedness, confidence, and a deep well to draw from as he embarks on the work he’ll do in this world and the person he’ll be. My hope for myself is that I use this time to reflect on the same questions I’ve been asking myself for years with an entirely new perspective.

What is community? What does it even mean? What does it look like? What does it feel like? How do we prioritize collective care while maintaining a sense of autonomy? What can I bring to the table and what do I need? Who is sitting at this table, and why are the people who aren’t at the table missing? Why do the people showing up feel invited?

I’m going to keep asking these questions and gathering more thoughts in response to them. I’m going to continue to curate friends and to value them for who they are. And I’m going to keep on actively caring for and connecting myself, my family, and for my communities. From the outside, it may look like I’m doing nothing, but I can confidently assert that this is big work. Important work. And I’m proud to be on this destination-void ride. 

In this episode, I share some poetry, quotes, an essay, and a playlist of material created by Black artists.
https://northumberland897.ca/nothing-exists/2020/6/15/the-nothing-exists-radio-hour-s3e17-amplifying-black-voices

Hundreds attend Black Lives Matter march in Cobourg | Watch News ...



The Nothing Exists Radio Hour stands with Black Lives Matter. These are some resources to assist in learning more about actively practicing anti-racism in our lives.

Somewhere to Start

Guide to Allyship
https://guidetoallyship.com/

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
https://www.racialequitytools.org/resourcefiles/mcintosh.pdf

“Dear White People, This Is What we Want You To Do”
https://insidethekandidish.wordpress.com/2020/05/30/dear-white-people-this-is-what-we-want-you-to-do/?fbclid=IwAR2hDzM1jRE2bQDgF4LNWfJQftxywBSycH3gJ43bkTQ1vC2CTamKchq4764

“Showing Up For Racial Justice: Five Ways White people Can Take Action in Response to White and State-Sanctioned Violence”
https://medium.com/@surj_action/5-ways-white-people-can-take-action-in-response-to-white-and-state-sanctioned-violence-2bb907ba5277

75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice
https://medium.com/equality-includes-you/what-white-people-can-do-for-racial-justice-f2d18b0e0234

Information for Parents

George Floyd’s mother was not there, but he used her as a sacred invocation” An essay by Lonnae O’Neal
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/2020/05/george-floyds-mother-not-there-he-used-her-as-sacred-invocation/?fbclid=IwAR1QwvwtWe-JfD_Jea-eV1Fk1pUCLmq49f6V023YRM92-y_PYYLeQBk1TAs

The Black Mamas Matter Alliance
https://blackmamasmatter.org/

30 Books to Help You Talk to Your Kids about Racism
https://www.todaysparent.com/family/books/kids-books-that-talk-about-racism/?fbclid=IwAR3zCe3-Kt2Ayz9wf4iWuIKLrrBwsnXPOEQ1mrAp3IjGs9DphBwHHLQ9-t4#gallery/books-that-talk-about-racism/slide-1

Where to Find Diverse Kids Books
https://www.embracerace.org/resources/where-to-find-diverse-childrens-books
Your Kids Aren’t Too Young to Talk About Race: Resource Roundup
https://www.prettygooddesign.org/blog/Blog%20Post%20Title%20One-5new4


Information for Theatre People

“We See You, White American Theatre”
https://www.weseeyouwat.com/

Off-Broadway’s Response to Black Lives Matter
https://www.playbill.com/article/how-have-off-broadway-theatre-companies-responded-to-black-lives-matter?fbclid=IwAR2B_68JXoYOQNq3vbLxgYCTONmXk-Xz2xAaSfksy45e1CqfLASxi9bF348


Information for Cannabis Users

Race and Drug War
https://www.drugpolicy.org/issues/race-and-drug-war

“Here’s How to Start Fixing Racism in Cannabis Dispensaries”
https://www.leafly.ca/news/industry/heres-how-to-start-fixing-racism-in-cannabis-dispensaries


Information for Community-Builders

Racial Equity Tools: Community Builders (Resource list)
https://www.racialequitytools.org/act/strategies/community-building

Anti-Racism and Anti-Discrimination for Municipalities: Introductory Manual
http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/book/export/html/2495

Anti-Racist Organizational Change: Resources and Tools for Nonprofits
https://coco-net.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Anti-Racist-Organizational-Change-Resources-Tools-for-Nonprofits.pdf

“Defunding the Police Will Save Black and Indigenous Lives in Canada” by Sandy Hudson (Co-founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto)
https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/defund-police-canada-black-indigenous-lives_ca_5ed65eb2c5b6ccd7c56bdf7d?fbclid=IwAR2AWe3BPOEIPdHDKvFN7Hino_38SH7sp54fqUYAUNJ3YUubWhjHfn4kj24&guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly9sLmZhY2Vib29rLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAGpVKJDTmAiin1B0xuk8zTYg0VgFlsESr7jfjLNsaWW5bP67Dunn97ZAD3rHaK6cm0eEK4IA7j00MEkde84j0E23kX5fBqXA9PDPyuci7RTb-dKlbgVZMbjQKmBk_5a1vUOJdGZt_mXZG9ErGsqVBDBciyWxgDyqE0sip2E_eUCR

This episode contains material from:
Mary Helen Kennerly
https://www.creativenonfiction.org/authors/mary-helen-kennerly

Audre Lorde
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/audre-lorde

Angela Y. Davis
https://guides.library.cornell.edu/davis/publications

Rachel Cargle
https://www.rachelcargle.com/

bell hooks
http://www.bellhooksinstitute.com/

Sandy Huffman
https://blacklivesmatter.ca/

A.B. Cofer
https://www.instagram.com/a.b.cofer/?hl=en

Music By:
Beyonce
Shad
Alicia Keys
Lauryn Hill
Bad Brains
Ray Charles
J Cole
Bloc Party
Lizzo


Big thanks and much love to Elyse, Julien, and Maya Comire for their beautiful voices!





Check out my interviewwith Penny Nutbrown!


We talk about:

and more!

Check out my conversation with Jenny Whyte!

Jenny Whyte

We talk about:
– The work she does around strategic foresight and innovation
– human-centred design
– how empathy and communication make change
– restorative justice and call-out culture
– working with the topic of climate change
– how Jenny’s work keeps her well

and more!

 

Check out my conversation with David Sheffield!

Image may contain: 1 person

We talk about:

“Explore Asset-Based Community Development, a tool for connecting and resourcing those who desire to build healthy and vibrant communities. With 20 years of experience in community development, guest presenter, Jonathan Massimi, Community Centres Supervisor for the City of Kitchener, believes if properly guided people can become architects of their own future.

This free, participatory workshop is presented with the financial support of Northumberland United Way. Thanks to the congregation of Grace Church for sharing their space for this Community 101 presentation.”

  • How David stays well in his line of work
  • How David balances his growing family of adult children and grandkids with his community work

and more!

 

Featured Tunes:

Crush Me by The Muffs
Ordinary Day by Great Big Sea
NDN Kars by A Tribe Called Red
Pimmel by The Muffs

 

tbtncrowd
Photo by Walton St. Photography.

Mission: Take Back the Night is a community based event to protest the fear that women and trans people have walking the streets at night safely. Take Back the Night is also a grassroots event that honours the experiences of survivors of sexual violence, sexual assault, childhood sexual abuse, domestic violence, and survivors of state violence such as police brutality, racism, ableism, sexism, and other forms of institutionalized violence. The goal of the event is to offer Northumberland County residents an opportunity to stand together in solidarity against institutionalized violence and oppression as a community. The event is free to attend.

When: Thursday, October 19 at 7PM
Where: Memorial Park, Port Hope (the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe, and Wendat peoples)

People of all genders are welcome at this event, which centres the women and femmes who disproportionately experience gender-based and sexual violence. Men, we invite you to walk in solidarity with us.

Peer support will be available if you find yourself in need.

There is an after-dark walk component to our event, so you may wish to bring along a flashlight or be sure to have your cellphone charged to use the flashlight app. Choose your footwear accordingly.

Our itinerary:
Meet at 7PM at Port Hope’s Memorial Park to gather, get direction, and hear a few songs and stories.

Then we walk together, on a short, accessible route through Port Hope’s downtown, through a quieter, more dimly lit stretch along Lent’s Lane and back to the park via Dorset and Queen Streets.

We’ll close out with a few more performances back in the park, and then all are welcome to join us for a low-key debrief with snacks and music at Green Wood Coalition’s space on Ontario Street.

thewalk
Photo by Walton St. Photography.

Theme: “We are Not Unfounded

Earlier this year, the The Globe and Mail released an investigative report into police rates of designating sexual assault reports “unfounded,” meaning officers don’t believe a sexual assault took place. Across Canada, the rate is nearly 20%. In Port Hope, between 2010 and 2015, 45% of reports of sexual assault were labelled unfounded.
Because we believe survivors, Port Hope’s 2017 Take Back the Night event will have the theme “We are not unfounded.” Join us on Thursday, Oct 19 at 7PM.


Press Releases:
Press Release in Northumberland News here.
Press Release in Port Hope Now here.

Official Photos From Event: 
Official photo album by Walton St. Photography here.

Articles About the Event:
“A Cobourg woman speaks out on workplace sexual harassment that left her terrified” here.
“Port Hope’s Take Back the Night walk resonates in an era of #MeToo” here.

Contributing Artists:
Read Jenni Burke’s blog post about Take Back the Night here.
Read Cassie Jeans’ poem “For my Sacred Sisters who are Healing from Shame” here.
Listen to/watch Winona Wilde play her song “Chick Singer” here.

Sponsors:

Racine Financial
Long and McQuade
Emulate Global Printing and Finishing
Green Wood Coalition
Walton St. Photography
Port Hope Public Library
Royal Ribbons

22519284_123151048367169_6894603066436190662_n

Display to promote the event at Port Hope Public Library. Photo by Gareth Vieira.

Performers:

eileayisha.jpgEilé and Ayisha Hannigan

jane.jpg
Jane Storie

natalie
Natalie Galloway

 

brooke.jpg
Brooke Sterzenegger

kim
Kim Doolittle

devients
Deviants and The Odd Man Out

hailiah
Hailiah

TBTN Planning Committee:
tbtncommittee

“We’re a diverse collective, and together we share a common interest in making Port Hope a safer and more supportive community for all of us.”

Gareth Vieira
Jenni Burke
Ashley Bouman
Avril Ging Ewing
Lyss England
Jeff Caine
Meghan Sheffield
Ariel Reilly
Marcela Calderon Donefer