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Arbiter’s of corporate professionalism deem particular topics “off-limits” or "taboo" for discussion in the workplace. The history and ongoing violence between Israel-Palestine is often one such topic. People’s reactions to this discussion are often so strong that many avoid the conversation altogether. 

When we stay silent or lower our gaze from discussions that feel like too much, we fail our Jewish, Muslim, Israeli, and Palestinian colleagues. And in many ways, we further the existing tension and divide. When it comes to such conversations, Feminuity likes to think of our approach as that of a bridge-builder. 
 
We’re inspired by this beautiful essay, written by Frances Lee, about what it means to build bridges.

Building bridges asks us to go further and engage in messy, emotion-filled, complex conversations. It asks us to get comfortable with the uncomfortable and be willing to have conversations with people we know will disagree with us and acknowledge each other's humanity anyway. 
 
In this way, we can be bridge-builders or facilitators around crucial conversation, rather than the holder of absolute "truth.” This is especially important in stressful and fraught times when it becomes difficult to find common ground.
 
Lee puts it perfectly when they state: “As people who are called to do bridge work, how do we do so now, in the time of quarantine, global pandemic, and personal, communal and global grief? If the ground beneath us was muddy and tenuously shifting before this time of crisis, now it is just thin air, the nothingness exposed. How do we regain footing on solid ground, or stay put and build the solid ground beneath our foundations to keep bridging?”
 
These are all good questions. So, what are the answers? Well, there are many things we can do in our everyday lives to build bridges. That is, if we have the time, resources, and curiosity to spare.

AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Month

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The 2021 theme is “Recognition, Resilience, and Resolve.” During this month, we recognize the valuable contributions of Asian people to our social, political, cultural, and economic landscape and openly celebrate their rich heritage, culture, and arts. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in increased violence against AAPI communities. Although anti-Asian racism has been present in Canada for centuries, it is particularly rampant now. In Vancouver, Canada, hate crimes against Asian people rose by 717%, according to The Representation Project. As you can imagine, this takes a toll on the community’s mental health and is exhausting.

We must continue to spread awareness about these crimes, challenge racism, educate ourselves, and strive to be allies in building an anti-racist Canada. We are not the epitome of multicultural bliss that we think we are. White supremacy is very much instituted into the Canadian framework. 

Two Vancouver men fight anti-Asian racism using practical and poetic means

Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Canada 

May is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month. We must work to build safer spaces for all—whether they be workspaces, classrooms, social media platforms, on the street, or otherwise—and provide necessary services to those affected. But what can you do? I’m glad you asked!

Stand Up is an awareness and training program against street harassment, developed by L'Oréal Paris in partnership with the expert NGO Hollaback! They have a free training program for bystander intervention. It will give you some helpful tools to intervene without compromising your own safety.

Stand Up Against Street Harassment

Instagram and LinkedIn Put Pronouns in Bios


You can now add your pronouns to your Instagram and LinkedIn bios! The two platforms have formally integrated spots in user bios to designate pronouns. This is an important effort in affirming people’s identities and realities. Hopefully, other organizations will follow suit.
  1. Go to your profile page and click “Edit Profile.”
  2. Explore the list of items for an empty Pronouns field (this is different from the one deeper in “personal information settings”).
  3. Tap that and you can pick what you prefer to be called by–up to four items.
Keep in mind, the feature does not allow users to just type in whatever they want–presumably so the field is used for its intended purpose and not for gender-related “jokes.” You will find most of the pronouns on the predefined list. Whatever you choose will appear next to your name a slightly darker type. There’s also the option to show this only to followers for those who do not wish to share such information publicly.

Instructions for adding your pronouns on LinkedIn:
  1. Go to your profile and click the little pencil icon.
  2. You will notice a new section entitled “pronouns”. There will be a drop-down menu for you to select one of four options: “She/Her,” “He/Him,” “They/Them,” or “Custom.”
  3. If you select “custom,” a new box will pop up where you can type in your desired pronoun. You can also make it visible to just your network.
  4. Don’t forget to click save!
LinkedIn noted in a blog post that recruiters and job seekers have said that knowing a candidate’s pronouns is an important part of the hiring process and to being respectful of the job seeker’s identity. We definitely agree!

Digital Land Acknowledgement

Feminuity was founded on land that is the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples and is home to many First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples.  

As a remote team, we encourage our team members, clients, and partners to reflect on colonialism’s enduring legacy and engage in reconciliation meaningfully. We encourage everyone to action the Indigenous learnings of this web page and this Indigenous Ally Toolkit by Dakota Swiftwolfe.

Creator Feature 🎵 

Digging Roots is a Canadian, Juno winning musical group consisting of partner duo Raven Kanetakta and ShoShona Kish. Their style blends folk-rock, pop, blues, and hip hop with the traditional sounds of Indigenous music. Sho-Shona is Anishinabe, from Batchewana First Nation, but grew up mostly in what is now called Toronto. Raven is Anishinabe and Mohawk, from Winneway, Quebec.

Check out their music
P.S. If you’re having difficulty centring diversity, equity, and inclusion
within your organization reach out at hello@feminuity.org.
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