Legacies of the Komagata Maru: Letters to Our Elders
FREE workshops for self-identified youth of colour, Indigenous and mixed-race youth
Monday evenings, 5-8pm || Feb 27 - Apr 2, 2012
Including workshops on various forms of storytelling (writing, digital, theatre, movement, oral and visual) and anti-racist arts education
Culminating in a collective stage performance with opportunities to travel with the performance to various communities
between April - June
377 Dundas Avenue (across from the AGO)
Venue is not wheelchair accessible - see note in application regarding accessibility
APPLICATION FOR PARTICIPANTS: SEE BELOW
five things I wish I knew about my history
- I wish that as a child growing up, I knew that my history wasn’t something to be ashamed of
- I wish I knew more about the histories of organizing and resistance (feminist, anti-imperial, queer and labour struggles) of the place my family comes from (West Bengal, India)
- I wish I could connect more to elder generations who were involved with anti-racist and anti-colonial organizing in the 90s, 80s, 70s in the place I live now (Toronto/Mississauga of New Credit Territory) – to share stories, insights, hardships, feelings, strategies
- I wish I knew how to articulate things about history that I can’t always find language for: how trauma and violence is passed down through generations and how many of us carry these experiences in our bodies; how different historical violences and oppressions are connected and depend on each other rather than are isolated, random happenings like we are often made to believe (and so much more that I don’t know how to say…I can only feel, and can begin to imagine how to create new language for)
- I wish I knew more of my grandma’s stories and experiences, I wish I could see a picture of the memories behind her eyes that quietly stare out her window
These five questions about history are currently occupying my mind, and many other ones like them have always been running around speedily in my brain. History has always been important to me, even when I was younger and convinced that I didn’t want to learn history because it was useless and irrelevant – ie that shit’s done and in the past, let’s move on! I know now that I didn’t like history growing up because it was taught to me in a way that was racist, sexist, heteronormative, ableist, colonial; it made invisible real things that made me who I am; it forgot to pay attention to all the small stories that inspire and energize us in big ways.
For all these reasons I am continually grateful to have the chance over the past few years (largely through Asian Arts Freedom School) to help create space where youth can learn the awesome radical things that make our knowledge dangerous, where can learn from each other, share our stories and create expression and art from the explosive things within us.
In that vein, I wanted to let you know about a workshop series I’m helping to organize, as a part of the larger Brown Canada project (organized by CASSA – Council of Agencies Serving South Asians). Through this series I’m really excited to work with some amazing facilitators and arts-educators in the city, and connect and learn from/with inspiring youth and develop ourselves artistically, politically, educationally.
Tentative workshop breakdown:
Learning and Un-learning History (Feb 27)
-the things we were taught about our histories and what are our actual experiences and stories
-things we wish we could have learned about our histories and questions we want answered
-exploring internalized racism and resistance to it
Migration and Movement (March 5)
-why do people migrate?
-how is migration forced upon us? how is it policed?
-exploring personal and collective migration/movement stories
Nationality and Identity (March 12)
-contextualizing the Komagata Maru: white nation-building, anti-Asian riots, precarious labour, residential schools, racist immigrant exclusion…
-what was going on in Canada in the early 20th century, and how does it all fit together?
-what are the consequences for today?
Violence, Apologies, Healing (March 19)
-looking at official government apologies for the Komagata Maru incident and other instances of historical violence
-what are the purposes of these apologies, what do they accomplish or leave out?
-exploring apologies and healing in our own lives, and the connections to larger events
Memory, Forgetting, Silence, Expression (March 26)
-what are the gaps of what we know of the Komagata Maru and other histories?
-what do we remember and forget in our own personal/familial histories?
-what can we imagine about what we don’t know? What can we create?
Collective Storytelling (April 2)
-bringing our individual stories and work we’ve been developing over the previous weeks and creating a collective performance
Get in touch with any questions, concerns, comments, or to stay in the loop! email@example.com
*All applicants who are self-identified as youth of colour, Indigenous, and mixed-race youth will be admitted into the program. This application is to gather some basic info/needs as well get a sense of where each person is at and the group dynamic.
*if you would like to be emailed an application or require other arrangements, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Note: This workshop series is a part of the larger creative component of CASSA’s Brown Canada history project. Other parts of the project will involve developing alternate and travelling creative workshops that are specific, relevant and accessible to ethnic, social/cultural groups and individuals unable to attend this series. If you are interested in being involved in these workshops, but have needs and requirements not reflected in this series, please contact email@example.com for more information.
Name: (given, chosen, or alias)
Preferred Contact Info: (email, phone, indicate whether there is a good time to call or if leaving a message is okay)
How do you identify? (in your own words)
What brings you to the program/what are you hoping to get out of it?
Are there any particular interests or skills that you bring to the program or want to develop?
Do you have any specific needs or requirements to make your participation fully possible? Any scent/food allergies or restrictions the group and/or facilitators should know about?
Can you attend all the workshops and performance? If not, which days are you unable to attend?
Anything else you’d like us to know?
RETURN APPLICATION FORM BY FEBRUARY 17, 5pm