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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Martin Luther King: Resilience and His Message for Canada Then and Now

Martin Luther King: Resilience and His Message for Canada Then and Now  

Patricia Trudeau, MSW, MEd, Candidate for UU Ministry, Emmanuel College, University of Toronto
Wilburn Hayden, PhD, Professor, York University School of Social Work
Donovan Trudeau Hayden, BA Student,  Third Year, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Hamilton
January 14, 2018

Intro by Service Leader: Mary Ellen Scanlon
Resilience is the word that comes to my mind when I remember MLK. A common understanding of resilience is the ability to overcome risks and being able to move forward in a right direction of positive and progressive change.  There are three presumptions associated with resilience: that it can be acquire by anyone if they follow a prescribed course of action; that equality exists amongst all individuals and communities; and that anyone can learn to take the right action.  With these presumptions comes an understanding that people living in marginalized or racialized communities affected by social barriers should be able to foster individual resilience just as easily as people living in privilege communities.

Understanding resilience in this way places responsibility on the individual to overcome risks and disadvantages in spite of societal barriers. King’s work asked us to think differently about resilience. Our Second Principle: justice, equity, and compassion in human relations, also ask us to include an understanding beyond individual responsibilities and efforts.

King asked us then, and now to see resilience as a tool in addressing racism and discrimination of blacks and others living within our marginalized communities. He challenged us to go deeper in our use of resilience to see racial issues through systemic inequalities. He demonstrated a need to shift resilience away from individual change or charity work to addressing racial structural barriers. By reconceptualising resilience beyond the individual, he directed his actions toward creating racial change at societal level rather than at individual blacks living within marginalized communities. King advocated for change in social arrangements and traditions, legislations, public accommodations and commerce to affect structural inequality rather than placing blame and responsibility onto individuals.

 Having coming of age as a black activist, I skipped past King’s Civil Rights struggle going directly to the radical black struggle. At the time, I had no time for MLK approaches. In retrospect, the two approaches were closer to each other than any of us knew. Especially, in how our strategies related to resilience as a tool for creating racial change.


Friday, December 22, 2017

Hamilton 1st UUC, 170 Dundurn St. South, Hamilton January 14, 2018 

Service Leader: Mary Ellen Scanlon 
Speakers: Pat Trudeau, Wilburn Hayden and Donovan Hayden

Celebrating the Life of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Words and Song 
Martin Luther King’s inspiring words and actions remind Unitarians everywhere to work for racial, economic, and international justice. We remember MLK’s words as we stake our claim in opposing racial inequality and racial oppression in Canada. We sing in honour of the civil rights movement lead by King. 

Joining Pat Trudeau, Hamilton 1st Intern Minister are York University Social Work Professor, Dr. Wilburn Hayden, and Donovan Hayden, third year undergraduate student at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Upstate New York. The two Haydens have written a chapter on Canadian slavery for an upcoming University of Toronto Press book. 

Pat Trudeau is serving at Hamilton 1st as Intern Minister.  She is a seminary student at Emmanuel College in Toronto and UU Candidate for Ministry.  Pat enjoyed previous careers in social work, academia, and children’s religious education before hearing the call to ministry.  She and her family have been active in Neighborhood UUC in Toronto.   Pat has a wealth of skills and interests in pastoral care, social justice (particularly focused on her work in diversity and building skills as a white ally), teaching, and dance.

Wilburn Hayden has been a university professor and social worker since 1973. He teaches and writes from critical race and anti-oppression perspectives. Growing up in the segregated south, he knows of the racial injustice struggle in the USA and Canada first hand. His practice experiences include being the chief social worker in a state prison, organizing within
disadvantaged communities, directing a human services agency, and involvement in political campaigns in North America. His teaching has taken him to South Africa, Kurdistan (Iraq), Nigeria and Guyana. He is the author of a book on Black Appalachia and is currently researching the lives of blacks in Canada (from the past to the present). 
Donovan Hayden is the son of Wilburn and Pat. He is a third year student at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY, double majoring in Africana Studies and Sociology. In February 2018, he heads off to South Africa for the winter semester at Rhodes University.  YOUTH PERSPECTIVES | RACE IN THE TRUMP ERA: COMING TO GRIPS WITH CANADA’S OWN RACIAL PAST AND PRESENT” for The Exchange by YouthREX 
For the past two summers he worked with YouthREX as an intern, and posted a blog in November:
http://exchange.youthrex.com/blog/youth-perspectives-race-trump-era-coming-grips-canada%E2%80%99s-own-racial-past-and-present. The ideas were excerpted from his talk “Upholding Our Second Principle: The Myth of Canadian Multiculturalism” at NUUC (Neighbourhood Congregation) in summer 2017 and were recently brought to the attention of the CUC Board. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Race in the Trump Era: Coming to Grips with Canada's Own Racial Past and Present

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Youth Perspectives | Race in the Trump Era: Coming to Grips with Canada’s Own Racial Past and Present
Posted November 16, 2017 InracismdiversitymulticulturalismamericaprivilegeOBYAP

 by Donovan HaydenYouthREX Summer Intern and BA student, Hobart College

   "I'm moving to Canada!"
As a Canadian attending college in the United States, this is a phrase I’ve heard many times from Americans. They seem to always threaten to move to Canada when things are not going their way. I had gotten used to telling Americans that I was Canadian and hearing them joke about moving to Canada. I would laugh and follow up by making a comment about free health care. During the election season last year, I began to hear this phrase, “I’m moving to Canada,” more and more as Donald Trump gained momentum and then surprisingly became the 45th president. His anti-immigration stance and refusal to disavow White supremacists only heightened the sense that Canada could be a beacon for Americans seeking a more racially and socially just society.  Then I began to take exception to Americans making this proclamation.
What made this time different was less about what was happening in the US and more about how Canada was being portrayed as a sanctuary of liberalism, inclusivity, and above all multiculturalism: the very antithesis of Donald Trump. When I would return to Canada over breaks, Canadians seemed to take pride in being the new liberal saviour of the world. 
I was often asked, “So how is it being in the US during the current political climate?” Sometimes the person sincerely wanted to know what it was like to be immersed in living history, akin to being a teenager during the late sixties. Most of the time, Canadians were really asking, “As a black person, do you feel safe in a racist country?” with the expectation that I would gratify them with a response along the lines of, “It’s hard, I’m glad to be back in Canada where I am safe and respected”. That is the answer Canadians want but it is not the answer I give.

Frankly, I find it infuriating that Canada is being self-congratulatory while Black Canadians are being forgotten, undercut, and oppressed by our racist systems. Canada is imagined as an inclusive and benevolent nation; a safe haven for marginalized groups as the world becomes increasingly more exclusive. Toronto is praised as the epicenter of multiculturalism. Privileged Canadians – more often than not, White and/or middle to upper class, heterosexual individuals – constantly speak about the exchange of cultures that occurs in Toronto through festivals and living in proximity to other ethnicities. But if this is an exchange, then Black people have been, as Somalian youth would say, ‘kawaled’. Ripped off.

Plainly stated, the benefits that White Canadians receive from multiculturalism,
Black Canadians do not. 
To those defending multiculturalism I ask, how did multiculturalism protect Dafonte Miller, a black youth a year younger than me who lost his eye after being beaten with a metal pipe by a police officer? Where was Canada’s benevolent multiculturalism for Charline Grant, a black mother that was called ‘N-----’ by a trustee of the York School Board while trying to advocate for her son? How are newcomer Black Canadians benefiting from multiculturalism when they are deskilled by a discriminatory labour market that refuses to acknowledge their previous employment experiences because it is not Canadian experience? All these examples of racism occur right here in our “inclusive multicultural city”. Toronto’s multicultural exchange is, more often than not, one-sided. 
Multiculturalism does not address systemic racism but it does provide labour, entertainment, and the allusion of culture to “real Canadians”.  Multiculturalism does not address systemic racism, nor does it allow for the space and language to talk about racism and oppression. Instead, we are forced to 'celebrate' our cultures in often superficial and essentializing ways. 

Yes, the president of the United States is an orange, racist demagogue that has a base of White supremacists but these racial issues have always existed. Trump just helped to shine a light on them and magnify them. The country is now forced to face these racial issues. As white supremacists become increasingly bolder in their hatred, the boldness of resistance has increased as well. 

Just like in the United States, anti-Black racism is a part of Canada’s fabric too. 

Trump’s presidency does not make us Canadians progressive by default. We rightly abhor the rhetoric of Donald Trump and his supporters but wrongly ignore our racial past, pretending that racism stops at the border. So how did our inclusive multicultural nation react when that same White supremacist rhetoric was being used within our borders? We passively addressed it and continued turning our attention southward. In Canada, we attempt to keep racism at an arm’s length. That is a luxury White Canadians have, to say, “I don’t want to be around all that racist stuff”. Dafonte Miller didn’t have that choice; Charline Grant didn’t have that choice; I don’t have that choice; the black people in this country don’t have that choice. It’s time for Canadians to take action. 
In fact, I am hopeful that most Canadians have good intentions, but are simply not as aware of Canada’s own racist history, and how racism and oppression are still prevalent today. This summer was reassuring for me that there is political will to address these systemic issues as I attended and participated in community-engaged sessions organized by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services as part of the recently launched Ontario Black Youth Action Plan, a four-year, $47 million plan that will address the disparities in outcomes from anti-Black racism that Black children and youth in Ontario experience. 
I am looking forward to coming back to Canada after college and helping build a country that could truly be a world leader in inclusivity and diversity.  But as for multiculturalism, you can forget that. I want more for all Canadians. I want justice, equity, and compassion in our human relations.

1 I acknowledge that other marginalized groups in Canada, such as Indigenous peoples, also face significant oppression within Canadian systems. This blog post is a personal reflection, and, as such, is focused on the black experience.  

Friday, November 10, 2017

Sunday, November 19, 2017 @ 10:30am
"Fish and Black Slaves: The Canadian Maritimes and the African Slave Trade"
Wilburn Hayden
Service leader: Melanie

http://www.ufnwt.com/tp.gifWhile residents of Maritime Canada may not have owned large numbers of slaves, the enslavement of Black people did occur there and in other regions of Canada before Britain ended slavery within the colonies in 1834. Not a great deal is known about the transportation and sale of Black men, women, and children in the Maritimes during the days of the British Empire, but an examination of shipping records from this period reveals that this transportation and sale was indeed an important form of commerce. This talk, based on records of ships that docked at ports in the Maritimes, will shed light on the arrival of Black human cargo into Atlantic Canada during the 16th to the 19th centuries.

http://www.ufnwt.com/tp.gifDr. Wilburn Hayden, Jr., is a Professor in the School of Social Work at York University. He earned his B.A. from St. Andrews University, his M.S.W. from the University of North Carolina, and his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. Wilburn has taught at nine American and Canadian public universities. He is a social work educator and practitioner, a community organizer, and an Appalachian Scholar. Currently, his major research interest is the slavery and early history of black Canadians.

55 St. Phillips Rd.
Etobicoke, Ontario
M9P 2N8
Tel: 416-249-8769

Wheelchair accessible.

Monday, July 10, 2017

#7 – Biracial Families Resisting Racial Microaggressions: Stories and Experiences of One Family
Oberlin College, Ohio, July 9 - 15, 2017

Patricia Trudeau, MSW, MEd, UU Ministerial Candidate. Intern Minister, First Unitarian Church of Hamilton, ON patrudeau@Hotmail.com
Wilburn Hayden, MSW, PhD, York University School of Social Work Professor. whayden@yorku.ca

Multiracial families are increasing in our society. The Pew Research Center has found that one in seven new marriages in the U.S. involve spouses from different racial groups. Some of the best guides—and those closest at hand—on the journey toward a multiracial society may be members of our congregations who are living in biracial marriages or relationships. This workshop will share stories of microaggressions and resistance as challenges that affront biracial families in negotiating daily life in a white hegemonic society.

Patricia Trudeau (white Canadian) and Wilburn Hayden (black Canadian-American) have been married for nearly 25 years and raised their biracial son in both countries. They have been members of Neighbourhood UU Congregation in Toronto since 2007 following nine years at First Church Pittsburgh. Patricia is completing a Masters of Divinity Degree at the University of Toronto, Emmanuel College, a candidate for Unitarian ministry and Intern Minister, First Unitarian Church of Hamilton, ON. Wilburn is a leading expert on Black Appalachians and Professor at York University, School of Social Work.

Day 1: Introduction; Demographics and Trends; Stories; Defenses to Racial Microaggressions; Transracial Adoption; Definitions; Microaggressions Categories; and Discussion.
Day 2: Images in the Media: Ads, Television & Films - Exerts from “Loving” and Discussion.
Day 3: Biracial Microaggressions; Examples of Microaggressions toward Multiracial Persons and Families; Group Exercise; and Questions.
Day 4: Growing Up Biracial - Donovan Hayden; Group Exercise and Discussion.
Day 5: Group Presentations, Addressing Microaggressions in UU Congregations and Final Discussion.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Interracial Families Resisting Racial Micro-aggressions

Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly
New Orleans, Louisiana • June 21 – 25, 2017

ID#: 106 PROGRAM TITLE: Interracial Families Resisting Racial Micro-aggressions
SCHEDULED DATE & TIME: Friday 6/23/2017, 1:30:00 PM - 2:45:00 PM
 FACILITY AND ROOM: New Orleans Convention Center -- 220
 PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: Workshop presenters (Wilburn, Social Work Professor, & Patricia, Candidate for UU Ministry) will share stories of micro-aggressions and resistance as challenges that affront interracial families in negotiating daily life in a white hegemonic society. Methods of interpersonal communication will be offered to address racial slights and insults that perpetuate exclusion.