It has been a full month since I launched the rebranded tea line, after a summer full of lumps, bumps, and ups and downs. Once again, I am totally blown away and humbled by the amazing support of the community. Not only have I personally felt so loved and supported during this time, but we are about to drop off our biggest donation yet to our community partner. I find myself sitting, as I write out a cheque for over $500 to Awo Taan, and I can’t help but feel completely blessed to know and engage with so many incredible souls. You will change the world mark my words.
What does it mean to stand in respectful solidarity within and with communities? What does it mean to be Indigenous? What does it mean to be an ally or accomplice? These are all questions I have and continue to grapple with. As a mixed race, Indo-Caribbean woman, my family has undoubtedly been affected by colonialism and ongoing racialization. Yet, my family has still be afforded privileges that other marginalized communities have not. .
Sitting with my grandmother, we often talk about the need to stand in respectful solidarity with Indigenous and other marginalized communities. Our legacies are not the same, yet they are intersecting and multifaceted, thick with complicity and accomplicity. I believe we have to work together, and learn from each other, when we think about how to overcome our separate legacies of trauma.
The first murder victim of the year, in New York City, was a young Indo-Caribbean woman. Her husband, in what has been deemed a murder-suicide, killed her. Domestic violence, and violence towards women, is a pervasive force within my own community – something that many are working hard to overcome. Similarly, I see gendered violence as a large and growing issue that seems to transcend borders, racially, geographically, and socioeconomically. So many communities, so many cultures, are shifting – fighting for healing, and beginning to create change. I believe that it is going to take us all to create the change we so desire.
So, what are the ways that we can support each other? What are you already doing in community to build bridges of solidarity? I am continually inspired by the work of both the 4R’s Youth Movement on cross-cultural dialogue and The Alex Community Food Centre on food as a medium for health and healing. I have been exploring the idea of cross-cultural medicine. As some of you may have read, Sarjesa started out on the premise that every culture has tea and that it can be a powerful product that brings communities together and educates them about the local land and community. To me, it is the perfect combination of ingested goodness and digested knowledge.
My challenge to you, as we move through the next cold months, is to share a cup of tea and conversation with someone else. They can be a neighbour, a friend, a loved one, or a complete stranger. Talk about the work and initiatives that are going really well, and talk about all that we can be doing better!