Conversations on Racism

hosted by the Japanese Garden Society
with assistance from the Salt Spring Foundation

“Conversations on Racism” is a series of free online conversations designed to explore the history of racism and colonialism on Salt Spring Island. We will hear from activists who have brought to light histories of injustice and who are challenging current manifestations of systemic racism. The first of three spring conversations will focus on stories about recovering silenced histories of Black settlers and Japanese Canadians (April), the second will be a conversation between three BIPOC activist women (May), and the third will focus on the Asian immigrant experience (June). The series will continue in the fall. These conversations will support a wide understanding of racism in our community, then and now. They will offer inspiration through activist stories, and provide examples and suggestions of how to challenge systemic racism.

This forum series was made possible by a grant from the Salt Spring Foundation. 

Bridges of Love: Unearthing Histories

April 20, Tuesday 3 – 4:30pm

A conversation with Evelyn White, Joanne Bealy, Rumiko Kanesaka and Brian Smallshaw
moderated by Maggie Ziegler

Click here for more information.

Please register from here : https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMof-qspz8rHdJrKZiYT-fJDXjuZ1BjM1-l

 

It Takes a Village

May 12, Wednesday 7pm – 8:30pm

A conversation with Sharyn Carroll and Molly Murphy
moderated by Shamana Ali

Please register from here : https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0oceCqrjstGdyp6jUVb5YJAhPP0gKn-E4l

Click here for more information.

Where Are You Really From? Questioning the Question

A conversation with Asian Canadians Living on Salt Spring Island
June 2, Wednesday  7pm – 8:30pm

Please click here for background reading and information for the spring series of the Conversations on Racism. 


Bridges of Love: Unearthing Histories

April 20, Tuesday  3pm – 4:30pm

A conversation with Evelyn White, Joanne Bealy, Rumiko Kanesaka and Brian Smallshaw
moderated by Maggie Ziegler

Registration link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMof-qspz8rHdJrKZiYT-fJDXjuZ1BjM1-l

In this time of escalating racial hostility, in our immediate community and across the world, the work of bringing to light history and historical racism is critically important to making sense of the present. This conversation features two couples who, in addition to having made significant contributions in unearthing history and building bridges to the past, have chosen to do this work in relationship with each other. Evelyn White and Joanne Bealy contributed to making visible the history of the Black community here, while Rumiko Kanesaka and Brian Smallshaw have been involved for many years with projects that unearth Japanese Canadian history. “Bridges of Love” inspires with stories about learning together about the place in which you find yourself, and about how building bridges within intimacy and community enriches connections and understanding at multiple levels.


Evelyn C. White

Evelyn C. White is the author of Every Goodbye Ain’t Gone: A Photo Narrative of Black Heritage on Salt Spring Island (2009) and the acclaimed biography Alice Walker: A Life (2004). A former resident of the island, she revelled in her ballroom dancing classes with Mearnie Summers (1927-2017) who was instrumental in the creation of the Japanese Garden Society. She also learned how to swim while living on Salt Spring and especially enjoyed her seniors’ yoga class with Celeste Mallett-Jason. 

Joanne Bealy

Joanne Bealy is a writer (mostly poems, also stories), a photographer (mostly portraits, also nature), and a gardener who tries to convince her neighbourhood that it’s easy to grow food. Joanne moved from Salt Spring Island to Halifax nearly nine years ago and likes it alright.

Rumiko Kanesaka

Rumiko Kanesaka moved to Salt Spring Island from Tokyo in 1994. One of the founding members of the Japanese Garden Society, she has worked tirelessly to make public the history of Salt Spring’s Japanese Canadian community. She has organized various educational exhibits, talks and research projects about the island’s Japanese Canadian history.

Brian Smallshaw

Brian Smallshaw lived for many years in Southeast Asia and Tokyo, Japan, where he met Rumiko. He has studied and written about the history of Asian settlers in Canada. His book on the dispossession of Japanese Canadians on Saltspring Island, As If They Were the Enemy, was published in 2020. He is the grandson of white prairie settlers.

Maggie Ziegler

Maggie Ziegler, has been involved in many Salt Spring community projects and organizations over the past twenty years. She is a facilitator, educator and retired psychotherapist who has worked with individual and collective trauma for several decades.

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It Takes a Village

May 12, Wednesday 7pm – 8:30pm

A conversation with Sharyn Carroll and Molly Murphy
moderated by Shamana Ali

Registration link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0oceCqrjstGdyp6jUVb5YJAhPP0gKn-E4l

Shamana Ali will moderate a wide-reaching conversation with Sharyn Carroll and Molly Murphy about the impact of systemic and historical racism in their childhoods and as adults and parents on Salt Spring Island. They will explore how the events and movements of the past year have created internal shifts and led to a deepened activism. Sharyn and Molly will speak about their work challenging racism, including a focus on their involvement with a BIPOC committee addressing racism in the school district and the recommendations in the committee report. The panelists will share their hopes and their thoughts about how islanders can contribute to a dismantling of racist society.

Molly Murphy

Molly Murphy is a renegade builder, a flailing mother of three, and an advocate against oppression wherever she finds it. At the moment she splits her time between fighting for old growth forest and the BIPOC community on Salt Spring.

Sharyn Carroll

Sharyn Carroll is a mother, daughter, sister, auntie, feminist, educator, trained midwife, and a community organizer. She has worked on the sexual assault response for the Southern Gulf Islands and is the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator for Islanders Working Against Violence. She is a founder of the Salt Spring-based BIPOC Community Collective, which is working with SD64 to dismantle racism within the school system.

Shamana Ali

Shamana Ali is a singer, writer, and photographer, who has been a gender and race activist since the mid 1980s. In the 1990s, she became a lawyer to deepen her activism, and ultimately burned out 25 years later. The recent emergence of authentic race dialogue in mainstream conversation persuaded her to breathe into this effort again.