Quiet Heroes

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I have several close family members in the healthcare field still showing up for work at hospitals every day, putting themselves at risk to help the rest of us, and I feel so proud of them. There’s no question that nurses, doctors, and EMS are all heroes and for years to come, will be remembered and celebrated for the sacrifices they are all making – and will continue to make – for the rest of us.

But there is another group of workers who are also playing a critical role and making sacrifices, but don’t receive the respect, salaries, or recognition that our healthcare workers do: and that’s grocery store workers. I’m thinking of two of my sons, and when all of this ends, I hope all of those minimum wage workers who have suddenly become essential workers, that are staying at their jobs to feed us will be recognized and hailed as heroes as well, and rewarded with a livable wage.

It was my sister, Barbara, who educated and made me think about this. Not just because she’s one of those healthcare workers still showing up for work at a hospital in Hamilton each day, but when I tried referring to her as a ‘hero’ she was mortified. She insisted that the true heroes are those who don’t receive the same level of respect or pay or recognition, yet these minimum wage workers (in grocery stores, etc.) are also critically important. She mentioned how she’s been thanking clerks whenever she’s gone into a store, and it made me realize I should have been doing the same. She’s always been a huge proponent of ensuring a liveable wage for all Canadians, and I hope this will be one possible positive from all of this ordeal once the dust finally settles.

Writing Workshop With Refugees from Kakuma Camp

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News (shared) from ALiGN at Carleton University

On March 12, as part of a series on Media Training and Writing Workshops, ALiGN hosted “Storytelling with Impact,” a workshop presented online with refugees from Kakuma Camp in Kenya.

The theme of the workshop, presented by interim co-Directors of the lab, Kathy Dobson and Ghadah Alrasheed, included the importance of knowing what you want to say, how to say it, and the critical role of targeting your writing for a specific audience. The workshop also included storyboarding – a powerful component of telling stories ‘digitally’ through video.

“The participants have so many fascinating and important stories to tell,” says Dobson, “we can’t wait to share them with the readers of ALiGN, and beyond.”

Alrasheed was also impressed by the level of interest in telling their stories through video, and looks forward to future workshops to help them showcase some of their work.

“It’s wonderful how eager they seem to offer some insight about their lives in the camp and we’re really excited to help them do that.”

One of the participants in the workshop, Pascal Zigashane, who also helped organize the group in Nairobi, says the workshop was really helpful in several practical ways. Zigashane says the group especially appreciated being given a platform and opportunity to control the narratives about themselves, and write their own stories about some of their lived experiences.

“The workshop was so useful to us as young refugees because we’ve been dreaming about how to change the perceptions about refugees through our own storytelling.”

Zigashane says it was helpful to do a workshop on the steps necessary for learning how to focus on a specific topic and then be able to reach a large and broad audience. He added that having control of their own narrative – their own stories – also gives them hope.

“The ALiGN workshop helped shine a light of hope for all of us by giving us the skills and knowledge on how to write our stories, and how to share them with others in Canada, and beyond.”

Zigashane is looking forward to future workshops with ALiGN,and having his work published with the lab.

The workshop series is part of ALiGN’s commitment to offering a platform to some of the missing and silenced voices from around the globe, as the lab continues to strive to create as many opportunities for members of oppressed and marginalized groups to be heard as possible.

If you would like to learn more about Dobson’s and Alrasheed’s Media Training and Writing Workshops for your own group, please get in touch. You can reach them at the lab at alignmedialab@gmail.com

Friday, March 13, 2020  |  Categories: CommentaryNews
Post tagged with Align media labdigital literacydigital storytellingmedia trainingrefugeerefugeesstoryboardingworkshop

Writing Workshop For Kakuma Camp Refugees in Kenya

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I’m looking forward to seeing some familiar faces from Nairobi at the writing workshop being hosted by ALiGN Media Lab at Carleton University. I met several of the participants when I interviewed them last August in Nairobi. They have some incredibly powerful stories to tell. Has digital media ever helped you tell an important story?

Niagara Falls Writers’ Festival

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I’m looking forward to presenting a memoir writing workshop later this month at the Niagara Falls Writer’s Festival. I hope to see some familiar faces! This is open to the public. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about how to share your story, please join us!

Going to Kenya this August!

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Up until recently, it still didn’t seem real that I’d be going to Kenya, after being invited to attend a special training camp examining regional forced migration at the Kenya School of Government in Nairobi.

Then I went to a special travel clinic for a bunch of vaccines, including one for Yellow Fever, applied for a Visa, booked the flights, and filled a prescription for an anti-malarial.

I expect it’s going to be one of the most interesting and unique opportunities I’ve ever been fortunate enough to have been offered while in grad school.

I’m on a Panel at The Blue Metropolis Festival in Montreal next Month!

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I’m feeling super honoured and excited to have been invited to be part of a panel at The Blue Metropolis Festival in Montreal next month. I’m hoping I’ll have a chance to talk about some of the most popular myths and false narratives about people in poverty, along with some of my research about poverty in Canada.

Here’s a blurb about the festival from a PR Release:

BLUE METROPOLIS 2019 HIGHLIGHTS SOCIAL INEQUALITY, INDIGENOUS VOICES AND THE HEALTH OF OUR PLANET

Montreal – The 21st edition of Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival takes place May 2 to 5, 2019. The planet is suffering. Inequality is an all too common reality in our society. Indigenous peoples grapple with trauma, reconciliation and cultural appropriation. Literature tackles all these issues, issues that provided inspiration for our 2019 programming.

Blue Met 2019 presents a remarkable selection of writers and thinkers, from 20 countries, who are changing the world: novelists, poets, philosophers, economists and musicians coming together to discuss such powerfully evocative topics as the struggle against social inequality, Indigenous literatures worldwide, feminism and ecology.

The 2019 Festival will also highlight several important anniversaries, including Woodstock’s 50th; one year since the death of the brilliant Israeli writer Amos Oz; UNESCO’S International Year of Indigenous Languages and the UN’s International Year of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

https://bluemetropolis.org/our-brochure/