Beyond Lip Service to Inclusion: How do we meaningfully make room for those we aim to support?
Our University of the Streets Café public conversations are much like any you’d have with friends or family around a dinner table, except with more people, more points of view, and slightly more structure. Conversations are hosted by a volunteer moderator who is there to welcome everyone and keep things on track. To get things started, there’s a guest, or sometimes two, who get the ball rolling by sharing their ideas, experiences and questions. After that, it's all up to the participants.
Inclusion is frequently invoked in the context of spaces that are anything but. Is an expressed commitment to inclusion a good first attempt towards mutuality in our spaces? This public conversation considers whether it is enough to claim to be inclusive and what further steps are needed in order to substantially commit to those we claim to support. What is needed for expressed commitments to inclusivity to prevent opportunist positioning?
Wayne Robinson is a member of the Ojibway nation from the community of Biigtgong Nishnaabeg (Pic River) in Northern Ontario. He has worked within the social services for over 15 years with an emphasis on providing front line supports to indigenous and other racialized youth and community groups. He uses an asset based community development based approach rooted in anti-oppressive practice.
Stéphanie Gendron has contributed to community mobilizing over the past fifteen years, sometimes as an activist, other times as a community worker. She has a foot in Parc-Extension and another in Pointe Saint-Charles and holds a critical view of concepts such as inclusion, social mixing and diversity. She is particularly interested in ideas of direct solidarity, mutuality and active resistance to gentrification, assimilation and integration.
Nicolas Delisle’s political awakening occurred in Quebec City during a particular weekend in April 2001. Since then, he has been involved in a number of activist collectives and community groups, many of which in Pointe-Saint-Charles and Saint-Henri, where he has lived since his arrival in Montreal in 2002. Given the undeniable impact of gentrification in Montreal, his biggest concern is that neighborhoods remain sites of resistance to impositions on collective living. he has worked at the Carrefour d’éducation populaire of Pointe-Saint-Charles since 2009 and has been its coordinator since January 2017.
Zaina Ismail-Allouche's activism began in 1984 as a volunteer with civil organizations. Her profession started with UNICEF in Lebanon, and then as a communications officer in Yemen. She also managed an organization offering alternative care services with 140 staff and more than 3000 beneficiaries. She is an advocate for the right to origin and contributed performances based on testimonies of survivors of forced separation. Holder of a BA in Social Work , Master’s in Public Health, she is currently pursuing an INDI PHD researching forced separation in the view of the legacy of the Indigenous peoples in Canada.
Accessibility: The space is wheelchair accessible, but the ramp to access the main door is quite long, and the elevator to reach the 2nd floor where the conversation is held, can be finicky. There are gender neutral washroom adjacent to the space where the conversation will be.
1900 Le Ber street