“What is heteropatriarchy?”
“What is oppression?”
“What does queer mean?”
“How does one practice consensual solidarity?”
“What’s the difference between a person who is transsexual, transgender, and genderqueer?”
These are just some of the questions that were covered at the Professional Development and Training Day for Jer’s Vision staff, volunteers, and co-op students.
I think it’s important that all the staff are trained not just in understanding what oppression is and the history of colonization in Canada/ Turtle Island, but also how their work at Jer’s Vision is situated on an individual, cultural, and institutional level in making a difference.
Besides familiarizing ourselves with basic terms, we also discussed how to be in solidarity with communities that we didn’t belong to but desired allies in their struggle. In the middle of the day we had a fabulous, tasty potluck that had gluten-free and vegetarian options (as well as my leftover vegan faux-turkey from the Harvest weekend). We ended the training with team-building exercises on understanding our work personalities and learning styles, and then taking photos with the “drag queen pumpkins” that Jeremy had brought in and that I continued to decorate throughout the day. (The 3 pumpkins even had names and personas: Trixie was the life of the party, Moe was the too-cool-for-school unsmiling one, and Divina was one of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.)
All in all, a fantastic success! I can’t wait to plan the next Professional Development Day. It’ll be in February, so maybe we’ll have snow unicorns this time and expand into topics like community accountability and deeper into the history of queer politics on a national and global level.
Thanks to all that participated!
Faye C. Estrella
The international Day of Pink (April 11, 2012)