What is the Opposite of “Racism?”

White Privilege. Racism. Black Lives Matter. REDress Project. Colonization.

Conversations about these topics are necessary and uncomfortable.

Why does seeing these words make us initially feel uncomfortable? 

Feel Guilt? Feel Shame? Feel Hurt? Feel Injustice? 

Perhaps the gift of being asked to stay home for safety from COVID-19, has also given us time to slow down and spend time in our spiritual home inside ourselves. By making time to check-in with now, it is obvious the old “normal” we previously accepted is ready for an update. In the safety of our internal homes it is my hope we can re-imagine a new “now” that is inclusive, peaceful, and accepting of one human-race.

The last few days my newsfeed has been full of close friends, fellow athletes, and neighbours sharing their personal stories and experiences of racism, fear of police, teaching their children safety, and their experiences being judged because of their skin colour. As a female, white, Canadian I can more than ever feel and be aware of the white privilege I have. In hearing the stories and injustices both abroad and in my own backyard, I also feel guilt and shame, that I have not leveraged my privilege to improve the environment for those around me, and that I am not more educated. To those I have let down, I am deeply sorry. 

The heaviness, the pain, the injustice, the fear, the racism. Thank-you to the bravery of those sharing their story, telling it straight. I hear you. I see you. I am trying to stand up for you. I feel my own ignorance. My choice and privilege to not have to know. It is my intention moving forward to no longer choose ignorance. Racism is not a subject that is only happening south of the border, or far away. Racism is unfortunately also prevalent in my own back yard in Canada. On the prairies. Towards Immigrants. Black Lives Matter movements. Indigenous Communities. Refugees.

It hurts. It’s frustrating. It’s painful. 

How do we make this right? What actions do I take? How to implement change? How does my community begin healing? 

I am flooded with questions. How to undo generations of learned hatred? How to teach love, kindness, acceptance, compassion? 

How to educate and start the conversations of such sensitive subject matter? How to create a safe space for healing when it has been repeatedly demonstrated racism is tolerated?

 How does the awareness start? It already has. 

Residential Schools. Colonization. Indian Act. REDress Project. Highway of Tears. 

Black Lives Matter. Security. Justice. Fear. MLK Assassination. 

Racism is not a new problem. These last few days I am reminded of the embarrassment of my own ignorance. Rather than repressing and ignoring this emotional reaction and surge of public interest, I am acknowledging the elephant in the room. Racism. There is a lot I do not know. This means there is a lot I can learn. The research has begun. Writing is how I make sense of chaos, it’s how I get grounded and reconnect to my self. I feel shame for my silence, my ignorance. I want to be better. Today I am writing and sharing this in an effort to start conversation. To acknowledge there is a lack of education, and accepting now is when this healing and awareness need to start. 

What’s next? 

After the recent outpouring of news and stories of racism, I found myself wondering, What is the opposite of racism? My own list was: Acceptance, Inclusive, peace, human-race, together.

I am disappointed at how short this list is and that the answer was not immediate. Hoping for more, I decided to ask Google the same question, what is the opposite of racism? The results:
Anti-racism, tolerant, multi-cultural, fair, impartial, unbiased, open-minded, equitable. In a quick search on my phone, it was difficult to find an antonym for racism, meanwhile endless examples of synonyms and definitions of racism populated my search. I did however, find there were others who shared the same question- but also lacked a satisfactory answer. There was unanimous agreement, the problem is racism. The next step, and my question, is identifying and taking action towards the solution. I am left concerned the solution is not as clear as the problem. Is it acceptance? peace? Inclusion? Or is it time to innovate new diction?

I want to honour the injustices of cases like George Floyd, the missing indigenous women of our Canadian community, and other long list of people who have been lost to racism. But I feel crippled in that I do not know how. I am still learning the best way to do this. For me, at this time, it makes sense to share my own learning curve, ask for guidance, and hopefully inspire helpful conversation and dialogue.

Actions to take now: 

– Education. The first step to solving anything is knowing what needs to be solved. 

– Read. Most of us have access to Google. And access to a library full of written literature and media. Search any of these key words. The resources already exist. 

– Listen to those sharing their stories locally. Do more than hear them. Listen. Demonstrate Compassion. Be Kind.

Choose Vocabulary. Think about the dialogue passing through one’s own lips. What am I saying? Is it helpful? Is it harmful? Is it a joke? At whose expense?

– Stand up and correct ignorance from family, friends, colleagues, teammates. 

– Have public conversations outside of social media. 

– Research. Investigate locally, how to make a tangible, positive change.

– Ask, does this feel right?

I realize I am not an expert. I realize I am only one person. I am trying to learn. I want to be better. I am certain this could have been written much better, but it reflects where I am at today.

Is there hope? It is my belief hatred is a learned choice of behaviour. Because it is a choice, this means there is also the choice to choose love. 

Changing behaviour is undoubtedly difficult, but I remain hopeful it is possible. Let’s make better choices. Together. 

Starter Resources:

http://www.redressproject.org/

https://www.obama.org/anguish-and-action/

https://www.oise.utoronto.ca/abed101/what-is-reconciliation/

ibrary.ca/services/reconciliation

Team Canada will not be at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

This is a powerful headline we received from the Canadian Olympic Committee last night. 

Throughout today more news has come through:

1) Athletics Canada has made the difficult decision to postpone the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Track and Field Trials. This is the follow-up information we received at 12:30pm this afternoon by e-mail

2) IOC member Dick Pound released information the Olympic Games are likely to be post-poned. (Future Date: TBD). This is follow-up information received at 2:30pm this afternoon by CBC, Flo Track, and Social Media.

Today’s post takes a look at my less than 24 hour roller coaster ride of emotions in processing how these decisions affect me as a Canadian Athlete:


Continue reading for my full reflection:

Some of my initial emotions reacting to an uncertain future included:

(1) Disappointment: (of the EGO) This was year #5 of working towards my goal representing Canada at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, it feels disappointing to consider the opportunity may cease to exist.

Reality: This is a gut-check. Clearly I care about reaching my Olympic goals, especially going through the mental drill of having this 2020 opportunity taken away rather than post-poned.

Reflection: As much as I care about my opportunity as an identified athlete to this Olympic team, I know I care more about the well-being of my friends, family, and human-being’s in general. Although the decision is direct, I agree with it, and am proud to be part of a sport body that prioritizes Global Human Health over the Olympic Games. 

(2) Fear: (FOMO) What if the International Olympic Committee (IOC) disregards Team Canada’s Choices and 2020 Tokyo Olympics happen without the Maple Leaf?

Reality: This is a risk COC has taken on behalf of all Team Canada athletes and there are 3 scenarios that result from yesterday’s decision:

1) 2020 Tokyo Olympics proceed – without Canada

2) 2020 Tokyo Olympics cancelled

3) 2020 Tokyo Olympics post-poned.

Reflection: These are not decisions I have control over. Seeing my options listed as such, I am hopeful for a Tokyo 2021 Olympics, but understand patience and flexibility will be required should this outcome come into effect. 

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(3) Guilt: The “What-if scenario”: If I was an athlete who participated in 2020 Olympics as is, I am certain I would feel guilty competing knowing I would likely be contributing to the second wave of this pandemic while putting my own, and others’ health at risk to testing positive with COVID-19.

Reflection: Even though the idea of giving up the 2020 Olympic dream feels like a bummer, I am extremely well off. I am healthy, at home, and fully supported by my family. As more information and decisions are provided, I am grateful to escape “what-if- scenario’s” and finally begin moving forwards with solid decisions. As the day continues, I also feel more deep emotions of:

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(4) Relief:  I can finally relieve the pressure to properly balance prioritizing my Tokyo Olympic Goals and the my Global Goals of:

1) COVID-19 Relief and 

2) Restoration of Global health

Reflection: Like most people, there are numerous people in my core support circle of family and friends who have been heavily affected by the actions taken in response to COVID-19. None of which have been easy for anyone to digest.

On a personal note, Both my Mom, cousin, and many friends work in the hospital. They already know COVID-19 is now here in the province of SK, know they will be coming into contact with it, know the risks of this virus, and have been informed (in hindsight) they will likely run out of PPE (personal protective equipment), ventilators, and potentially space for patients while caregiving. Yet they show up, putting themselves at risk, to deliver the care all humans are worthy of receiving. These people mean so much to me, the thought of more time to support while they navigate this as frontline workers brings me immense relief.

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(5) Hope + Motivation For Tokyo 2021,

As I was writing this reflection, the IOC released information early that the Tokyo 2020 games may be postponed. This means athletes will not be in Tokyo this Summer. Instead we will be with our families and building our community stronger in lieu of the COVID-19 Global Pandemic. Once we achieve our Global Goal of Good Health, then you will see us back in our appropriate competitions. This is an idea I believe in. 

Reflection: When my surroundings feel murky, I constantly check-in with WHY I do what I do. Like every other day, I’m sticking to my Why: 

The daily opportunity to be and achieve Greatness- both as a person and an athlete. 

Ultimately, my Why is pro-actively making the choice live my life as a journey in the pursuit to be, and facilitate greatness.


In Conclusion:

Thanks to all who read through my emotional roller-coaster. Information is empowering, and I am motivated to begin seeing light at the end of the tunnel. 

The modified Olympic Dream is tentatively Tokyo 2021. Like you, many plans have and will continue to adjust, but I am ready to lean in and embrace the chaos. 

Step #1: We’re all in this together, let’s Flatten the Curve:

– Wash your hands 

– Embrace physical and social distancing are a must

– Be Kind

Step #2: Shift gears into tackling Global Health to then plan for a magical Tokyo 2021:

– The Journey Continues!

#Tokyo2021

Much love, 

Adrea


Rebrand: Canadian Women & Sport

In Fall 2019, I was invited to the CAAWS team and joined the Canadian network as a trained Workshop Facilitator to help create gender equity between men and women in sport.

Today I am pleased to congratulate and introduce the rebrand of CAAWS as: 🎉Canadian Women & Sport🎉

http://www.womenandsport.ca/

For more information on my involvement with Canadian Women & Sport continue reading below:👇

When I moved home to Regina, SK this fall, I was greeted with an overwhelming welcome home to my Saskatchewan sport community. As I reconnected with both Sask Athletics, CSCS, and Fast and Female I was invited to contribute to and join the SK-based CAAWS team.

Welcomed home to a Fast and Female Event – Saskatoon, SK

What is Canadian Women & Sport?

Canadian Women & Sport is a non-profit, “dedicated to creating an equitable and inclusive Canadian sport and physical activity system that empowers girls and women—as active participants and leaders—within and through sport. With a focus on systemic change, we partner with sport organizations, governments, and leaders to challenge the status quo and build better sport through gender equity.” (CAAWS Website)

According to “Fuelling Women Champions” Initiative, a March 2016 Report was published which unveiled some unsettling statistics regarding gender equity in Canadian sport. Unfortunately, there is a significant drop off of female participation in sport at adolescence and a dire need for female role models in leadership positions. (See the link below for more statistics from this initiative)

https://www.caaws.ca/gender-equity-101/facts-and-stats/

What does a CAAWS Facilitator Do?

As a CAAWS Facilitator our goal is to empower women as leaders to have opportunities to reach the same finish lines as their male counterparts. The research already shows that women are starting at a different start line than males, and we believe we have identified contributing factors to this setback. Rather than dwelling on the staggered start line, we are focused on the creating the same finish line for women and men, in gender equity through sport.

Our team believes tackling this problem begins at the top. We want to normalize our young girls to seeing females in positions such as CEO’s, Board Members, Officials, Coaches, and Community Leaders in our Canadian culture. To help facilitate this, we offer Workshops to educate and connect communities, teams, and workplaces with tools and resources to empower female success.

As Facilitator’s, our SK-based Team delivers Workshops to empower communities in topics including:

  • Leading with Confidence
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Effective Communication
  • Influencing Change
  • Work/ Life Balance, and More

CAAWS CEO, Allison Sandmeyer-Graves comments, “Since 1981, CAAWS has been a crucial partner in establishing and advancing a sport environment where girls and women excel, not only in competition, but also as strong leaders in their communities,”

Previous Logo: Canadian Association of Advancement of Women in Sport (CAAWS)

What’s Next?

Today, I am grateful to be in a position to contribute to a safe, healthy, and empowered environment for females in and beyond sport; especially in a time where my fellow Canadian athletes and colleagues are taking brave actions to make this equitable environment a normalized and accessible reality.

To shed some light and hope after a heavy few weeks of news in my Canadian track community, I am pleased to congratulate and bring awareness to the rebrand of CAAWS as:

🎉Canadian Women & Sport🎉

Please enjoy the video below, and please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions you may have 🙂
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsqj9eqFDms

Much Love,

Adrea