White Privilege Conference

Last week I was privileged, yes, that's the right word, to participate in the first ever Canadian version of this at Ryerson University.  It was challenging--moving, draining, inspiring, anger-inducing, revelatory--as it gave me yet another way for us to look at ourselves, our world, its inequities.  The effects will seep through my ministry over the months and years, but here are a few "clips" from the week.

Shirley Cheechoo, Chancellor of Brock University, founder of the Weengushk Film Institute (for Indigenous Youth), and Sixties Scoop Survivor:  "I think of the roaming souls of children who escaped Residential Schools and died, the Shadow People whose souls will roam until the Pope apologises." "We cannot make change if we choose to be wrapped in a cocoon."

Desmond Cole, Toronto Journalist and Activist:  "Speaking about White Privilege without speaking about White Supremacy resets/repositions/reinforces privilege." "Are you going to use your White Privilege to talk about privilege or to speak about White Supremacy?"

There were White Supremacists picketing outside the Conference.

Yusef Salaam, one of the Central Park Five:  "When you try to bury me alive don't forget I'm a seed."

It was an event no one wanted to plan

The vigil at Mel Lastman Square Sunday evening was a moment this city should cherish as a time of healing and demonstration of our determination to break down the boundaries between us.  In the words of my colleague, John Ryerson,

"The vigil looked and felt like Toronto. An inclusive city connected by love." 

I hope to post pictures at some point, but I am content with replaying, in my mind, everything from the Red Circle Drummers to the final removal of the lamps representing the lives of the ten people we lost.

I also hope that you are continuing to pray for their families, the alleged driver of the van, and his family who know a different, terrible sorrow.