Activism with Affirmation, Attention & Intention, and Passion & Vision

Allyship in Action!

The Canadian Centre for Gender + Sexual Diversity.

Activism with Affirmation, Attention & Intention, and Passion & Vision by Christepher Wee. August 9, 2017.

Thank you to the Coast Salish peoples of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations whose unceded territory we live, visit, work, play, and are present on.

Write in one to three sentences who you are.

Hold on to your introduction. You may write notes on it, doodle on it. We will be revisiting it later.

I am a compassionate and loving human being determined to live an authentic & happy life and to seed my imprint into the lives of others. I am an enthusiastic educator with an educational philosophy rooted in nurturing social transformation and good citizenship & leadership. I am a passionate social advocate excited to inspire positivity and interconnectedness in people. I am 王崇偉 Christepher Wee.

Raise your hand if you are a mentor at this conference, raise your hand if you are a leader or coordinator of a school or community diversity group like GSA, if you are a member of one of these groups, if you are a member of a community youth council, if you have ever been a part of a march or pride parade, if you have ever used your voice and action to stand up to unjust behaviours, if you have been to a diversity conference or workshop.

STAND UP. Look around you. You are all activists in your own way.

Turn to one person you do not know well, introduce yourself using your written statement and tell them you are proud of them.

Let’s here a few of your self descriptions/introductions.

Did you tell your new ally you are proud of them? How does that feel? Hearing someone say the words “proud of you” must feel good and hold a sense of affirmation.

Affirmation. Do you do what you do WITH affirmation? There’s a difference between doing something FOR affirmation and doing something WITH affirmation, i.e. postings on social media to seek for likes or followers vs. postings for personal message/voice/interest(s).

The sense of affirmation for what we do feels great but I think what we do WITH affirmation puts the soul into our work.

Attention & Intention. Do you do what you do with attention & intention? What do you think this means? Give me an example of doing something WITH attention; WITH intention. Noticing, listening, and acting with attention and intention place the self and other in the heart of our work.

Passion & Vision. Do you do what you do with passion & vision? Share with your new ally what you do with passion & vision.

I think these are key elements to enhancing ideas, initiatives, platforms, self & other, interconnectedness & relationships with others, and living in general.

Thích Nhất Hạnh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist, teaches about noticing, listening, and being present to the self and other with attention & intention. Our practice of understanding, seeing, and feeling requires our attention and intention.

Though the following mantras have a relationship emphasis, the same principles can be applied to how we interact as allies and beings.

All of you stood up with affirmation of your participatory efforts in some form of activism. You are all already there, making a positive difference; however, how can you put attention & intention and passion & vision into your efforts to nurture and foster greater impact?

Narratives and autobiographies. We all have them. We all live them. Our stories and what we do with them with affirmation, attention & intention, and passion & vision are our personal, enriching activism efforts. Each of our authentic reality is the soul in our individual and united activism.

For me, it was my work as Mr. Gay Canada i.e. McLaren Housing Society of BC, Surrey Pride, OUTShine 2015 & 2017, and HIM campaigns.

In education, it’s my activism in school and my classroom i.e. refugee dance & plate units, E.R.I.C., WE Day Club i.e.Team Finn, Bike to School Week.

As a community of activists, we are each other’s allies and shared stories. During this conference, you have bonded with new allies, got reacquainted with others, and/or deepen your connection with current allies. This coming together and going apart in various ally configurations make our collective, cohesive journey in activism so empowering and power. With each coming, going, and configuration, we consolidate diverse existing/new/renewed strengths, knowledge & understanding, personal & community interconnectedness, and the potential of imagination and possibilities.

John Muir, an environmental philosopher, once said, “The power of imagination makes us infinite.”

Who thinks and feels, by a show of hands, that they can be a better advocate, activist, or human being?

How do we align ourselves with that “infinite” Muir alludes to? I leave you with this question to ponder upon.

Form groups of 3s. What initiatives or advocacy efforts have you been a part of? Write ONE down using a black marker then write down 2 positive aspects of this initiative or advocacy effort using a red marker. Share what you wrote with your group.

Brainstorm and discuss 2 improvement or “infinite” ideas with your group and write them down in green.

Each micro-group pick one to share with the entire group and let’s have a conversation about it.

Do you think that your new enhancing ideas are achievable? Do you have an idea of how to turn these ideas into actuality and with whose assistance?

I am going to show you two videos by Pink Dot Sg. The first filmed in 2011 and the other in 2017. Let’s share what improvements have or have not been made and the potential possibilities that these videos create.

Rewrite your self introduction to embody your personal affirmation, attention & intention, and passion & vision.

Here’s an inspiring thought to help you formulate your self introduction.

“I Am” video with pastor Joel Osteen on Oprah.

Share your “I am” introduction with the first person and talk about what has changed from your initial. Let’s have 3 people share their “I am” introduction and how it has changed.

I hope during our time together, you had some form of “ah-ha” or positive insight.

Thank-you for listening and interacting with me. Thank-you to Amanda, Jeremy, and The Canadian Centre for Gender + Sexual Diversity for inviting me to dialogue and connect with all of you today.

Let’s stay in touch and let me know if I can be an ally in your advocacy efforts.

Now shake hands, high-five, or hug 3 different people and tell them you are proud of them.

On your way out, give me a high-five or hug and share with me one thing you learned or enjoyed during our session.