TNM’s Anti-Racism Direction – Update and Opportunity

February 12, 2021

Hello TNM Community, 

Since our last update in November, a lot has been cooking behind the scenes that we would like to share. 

For those who participated in Disable the Label 2020: Reconnect & Reconvene and the Open Forum: Why is it so hard to talk about race in our network? at the end of 2020, you know we were planning on launching an anti-racism program this month. We want you to know that we haven’t stopped, and our commitment still remains that we will continue to embed anti-racism frameworks into all our network’s advocacy work and community. 

This is the first important thing we want you to know: we have learned that by  going fast and by not thinking and feeling through things, we create problems and contribute to existing problems. A part of our learning about being anti-racist is to slow things down. This is also why we haven’t started meeting again as a network. We’re not quite ready enough. 

We decided that we needed to take a step back before we planned more conversations with everybody. We did this for a few reasons. 

We know that we’ve built trust when it comes to our annual programming such as Disable the Label, asking you to step into the unknown feels somehow comfortable at times because the vision, intention, and outcome is clear and is being held full heartedly by our hosting team. That took many years to build. We need some time to really develop our work before we ask our network to step in. 

We want to slow down the processes in order to do it with intention. In order to deliver Disable the Label 2020, Disable the Label 2020: Reconnect and Reconvene, and the December 2020 Open Forum we had to move at a pace that was so quick it didn’t allow us to really communicate the purpose, goals, and plan of our work. It also didn’t leave space for the emotional labour of our work. 

We are now working with an advisory team of folks who are familiar to the network to hold this work and build the container for it. They are Duane Hall (known as lighthaüs), Devonna Munroe (known as Devynne), Jenny Katz, and Vanessa Reid.  

We know we will make mistakes, and that there will be roadblocks along the way – we are not striving for perfection – we know that with this group and engagement from our network, we will create something that allows our network to go deep with our anti-racism conversations and hold the space needed to host this important work. 

The goals of this advisory group is to: 

  1. Evaluate, reflect, and create documentation that highlights our journey thus far, lessons learned, things we would continue to do (timeline of this reflection is May-December 2020) 
  2. Develop 1-3 actionable strategy for TNM to embed anti-racism frameworks into our advocacy work and network culture

We would like these two deliverables to be completed by April 2021. 

We are now catching up with all that we’ve learned since June and in the past on the topic of TNM and racism and our efforts towards anti-racism.

We need your help. 

We need our youth and adult allies’ wisdom and reflection – youth will be compensated for their time, energy, and knowledge through honorariums.
*Please contact us before submitting to confirm honorarium. 

Here’s a way to get involved. If what you read below isn’t what you want to do, but you want to be involved in some other way, let us know!

Reflect on: 

  • DTL 2020 (and/or DTL 2018, 2019), and/or 
  • DTL 2020 Reconnect and Reconvene and/or 
  • December 2020 Open Forum 

We want your real, honest, and raw account through:

  • One word or sentence or longer
  • A piece of art
  • A poem
  • A song
  • Multimedia
  • A video
  • A conversation with Mary-Anne or Fizza (let us know who)

Here are some examples of things to tell us about:

  • What was comfortable?
  • What was uncomfortable?
  • What worked?
  • What didn’t work?
  • What did you love or what excited you?
  • what do you never want us to do again?
  • What did you learn? 
  • What did you learn about yourself?
  • What did you learn about others?
  • What did you heal? 
  • How did you get hurt? 
  • How did you deal with that?
  • What advice or ideas or insights do you have for next steps or even far into the future?

Please send us your reflections pieces by: Monday, March 1, 2021. 

Email Mary-Anne, TNM Program Manager at mary-anne@thenewmentality.ca and/or Fizza Abbas, Network Coordinator at fizza@thenewmentality.ca  

If you have any questions, concerns, feedback please reach out. 

With gratitude, 

Mary-Anne & Fizza