Aelya Salman / The Silhouette

McMaster frequently plays host to a number of incredibly talented speakers, and this was shown on March 8 when Human Rights and Equity Services welcomed the multi-hyphenated activist speaker Kim Crosby to McMaster, in what proved to be several hours of engaging with some difficult but crucial topics.

Crosby refers to herself as a “daughter of the diaspora.” Her multi-hyphenated identity comes not only from her heritage – she is Arawak, West African, Indian, and Dutch – but also from her professional titles as an artist, activist, consultant, facilitator, and educator.

Crosby facilitated a workshop on anti-racism and later delivered a keynote address in Convocation Hall, summarizing the workshop content and discussing the power of women.

The topics covered included rape, masculinity, the dismantling of debilitating institutions, and solidarity amongst the marginalized. She reminded the audience of the importance of undoing internalized behaviours that arise from years of problematic ideologies.

Crosby’s aim was to draw attention to the various ways that oppression can arise, and how multiple oppressions come together to create a more inclusive picture of any one individual.

A key topic touched on during the workshop was the dismissal of activist efforts within certain spaces, particularly academic spheres. The university, Crosby rightfully pointed out, is an institution that often operates on us without our consent.

She was quick to remind her audience, however, that change is more than possible.

In her own words, these systems, including schools and financial institutions, for example,  were created, but as members of these systems have the ability to un-create them. She illustrated this by explaining, for instance, that we undo capitalism every day in the gestures we perform for others out of good will.

“You don’t give your friend a bill, asking them to pay for what you did for them, do you?” Crosby asked her chuckling audience.

The breadth of topics and their various nuances cannot possibly be covered in one sitting, and that was most visible when Crosby seemed to run out of breath or looked as if she had more to say but couldn’t due to time constraints.

While this workshop along with others like it are not the be-all-end-all of activist discourses, they provide the necessary catalyst for real changes to occur on campuses nation-wide, including and especially McMaster.

After all, difference begins with education and what better place to begin our education than on campus?

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