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George J. Sefa Dei [Nana Sefa Atweneboah I] Humanities, Social Sciences and Social Justice Education OISE, University of Toronto

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Presentation on theme: "George J. Sefa Dei [Nana Sefa Atweneboah I] Humanities, Social Sciences and Social Justice Education OISE, University of Toronto"— Presentation transcript:

1 George J. Sefa Dei [Nana Sefa Atweneboah I] Humanities, Social Sciences and Social Justice Education OISE, University of Toronto BUILDING RESILIENT COMMUNITIES FOR THE FUTURE: CHALLENGES AND POSSIBILITIES

2 I. INTRODUCTION a)Recognitions: Our Ancestors, Elders, and this Land. b) Thanks. c) Mapping The Terrain. Understanding resilience as more than survival; learning from our collective histories and resistance struggles to build communities of the future. It is not what one is called that is most important but rather what one responds to. Any community is as good as we collectively work to make it!

3 d) Words of Caution. It is not important that everyone agrees with Fanon. It is more important that his work gives us a pedagogical foundation to interrogate, to decolonize, to reconstruct ourselves, our beliefs, our supposed normalcies. (Bimpong, 2012).

4 II. SHARING AFRICAN PROVERBS Akan Proverbs, Ghana 1.If you want to know how heavy a bag of salt is ask the one carrying it. Wo pese wuhu nkyene mu duro a bisa dea eso nno. 2.The arrogant goat knows the limit of its arrogance in front of the butchers shop Abirekyie a wommu adea no enye dankwasere nni aboboo ano. 3. The beard came to meet the eye lashes. Bodwese betoo aninton nwi.

5 Kiembu Proverbs, Kenya 4. You will end badly if you dont start well. Igatura na kinatha twa ria murago. 5. A good name keeps somebody. Njamba ndieiwe kwao. 6. Short cuts are not always the safest. Kava ndaca ikinyia

6 Igbo and Ukwani Proverbs, Nigeria 7. It is only the adamant fly that follows the corpse to the grave. Ijiji na-enweghi onye ndumodu na-esoro ozu laa nili. 8.Stealing a drum is very easy but where to play it is the problem. Izuru gba d mfe ma ebee ka a ga-an k ya. 9. Crabs legs cannot be stolen and eaten in secret. anaghi ata okpa nsiko nulu.

7 III. WHERE COMING FROM? a)The Personal, Political and Intellectual Subject Location. b)The Power of Neo-liberalism and the Creeping Survivalism). c)Connecting Identities and Social Movement Politics (e.g., Indigenous struggles). d) Anti-Colonial Intellectuality (i.e., scholarly activism). e) Becoming a distinctive Voice; a voice of difference.

8 IV. RETHINKING THE IDEA OF COMMUNITY AND COMMUNITIES. i) We create communities [we want]. ii)Communities are about differences and sameness; shared experiences are never singular. iii) The unilateral fragmentation around difference; conscripting idea of fractured communities to deny responsibility and accountability. iv)The community as a site and place of learning and healing; repairing wounded souls and spirits.

9 v)The challenges of communities coming into a global public sphere (e.g., transnational migration, family reunification, community development, Land, governance and sovereignty rights). vi) The community as a local cultural resource knowledge base. vii) Tensions of splitting the individual and community. viii) Unity as a means to an end = POWER.

10 ix)Building a Local Capacity Building for Leadership. x)The Role of the [Racialized] Middle Class and the Intelligentsia - investing in families/communities. xi)Not pitting our own fears and anxieties over the pains and sufferings of others. xii) Connecting Global Diasporas and Communities.

11 V. CREATING RESILIENT COMMUNITIES: OUR SHARED RESPONSIBILITIES Reclaiming knowledges about our authentic selves. Developing the courage to challenge and resist the ways our histories are taught to us. Asking questions about the omissions, negations, devaluations, and absences in our institutional settings.

12 What is social justice/equity? – (i.e., engaging questions about power, race, gender, class, sexuality, disability, and social oppression). Developing multiple lenses of social inquiry (i.e., we read our worlds differently). Working to create learning communities with a community of learners in schools, workplaces, etc.).

13 VI. ASKING NEW QUESTIONS a)How do we frame an inclusive [anti-racist/anti- colonial] global future and what is the nature of the work required to collectively arrive at that future? b)What sort of education should be taking place in our schools, workplaces, etc. today? c)How do we re-fashion our roles as learners to create more relevant understandings of what it means to be human or to claim personhood?

14 d)How do we challenge the de-politicization of inclusion and the domestication of culture and diversity? d) No one tells the full story, so how do we tell multiple stories in order to get the complete story? f)How do we bring a humility of knowing to our work and the search for knowledge?

15 VII. PRINCIPLES OF BUILDING RISILIENT COMMUNITIES a) The Idea of a Messy Utopia. b) The Future is being Contested (i.e., designing own futures). c)Acknowledging and Addressing Our Collective Implications and Complicities. d)Addressing Our Sense of Entitlement Without Matching Responsibilities. e) Rethinking the Liberal Notion of Inclusion.

16 f)Rethinking Conventional Understandings of Social Justice and the Universal Subject. g) The Question of Representation and Meritocracy. h) Redefining Success Broadly. i) The Limits of the Culture of Survivalism.

17 j)The power of naming oppressions – (e.g., race/racism, sexism, homophobia, etc). k) The Creation of a Trialectic Space (see Dei, 2012) – connecting body, mind, spirit & soul. l)Towards a Philosophy and a Pedagogy of Hope (Dei 2010) something else is possible

18 VIII. LESSONS OF SUCCESS: CONTEMPORARY SOCIAL MOVEMENTS Communities of resistance - connecting struggles and aspirations. Working with communities of differences. Understanding challenges of coalition politics [how power/privilege work]. Power sharing. Networking and information sharing. Needs assessment of communities. Goals and agenda setting (e.g., education, employment, immigration and family reunification, health, etc.). Public advocacy role. Influencing public discourse and social policy.

19 IX. CONCLUSION a)We must ask ourselves: How do we speak from our race, class, gender and sexual embodiments in social justice work? How is our integrative anti- racist work contributing to shape social policy? b)In anti-racist and anti-oppression work we must always be aware of the sensation of moving while standing still! b) Dont Just be Here!.


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