Notes From the Field

The Importance of Youth Engagement: A Reflection on International Youth Day

“Young people are on the frontlines of the struggle to build a better future for all. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the dire need for the kind of transformational change they seek – and young people must be full partners in that effort.” UN Secretary-General António Guterres

Insight Into Growing up Alongside a Sibling With a Disability 

The relationship shared between siblings is experienced by many. However, when one of those siblings has a developmental disability, it becomes something unique entirely. My older brother, Kyle, the oldest of four siblings, has a rare genetic syndrome known as Nicolaides Baraitser Syndrome (NCBRS).

Land Acknowledgements Part Two: Can We Celebrate Canada Day Respectfully?

On June 21st Canada celebrates National Indigenous Peoples Day as a way to honour the heritage, customs and contributions of Indigenous people’s native to these lands. However, fast forward 10 days and you will find a day dedicated to commemorating Canadian confederation and patriotism. Canada Day (July 1st) is a statutory holiday that is rooted in and often ignores the colonialization of the very peoples and cultures that were celebrated only 10 days prior.

Land Acknowledgements Part One: Your Responsibility to Treaty

Since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released their Final Report in 2015, institutions such as the University of Guelph have started to incorporate land acknowledgements into their practices, such as at the beginning of meetings or presentations. Individuals might include an acknowledgment in their email signature or at the beginning of a class they are teaching. Acknowledging the traditional territory we are on is important and can be a good step in learning about the history of the region. However, land acknowledgements run the risk of being insincere if no action is taken or if people aren’t speaking from an informed place, especially if they don’t acknowledge or do anything about their ongoing contributions towards land theft and erasure.

The Great Balancing Act!

My PhD journey began in September 2016. My start was probably a bit different from the average student’s. I pulled up to MacDonald Institute reminiscing about my graduate school days that I had finished a few years before. I thought about the classes I took and the friends I made during my MSc program in Family Relations and Human Development.

Our Knowledge, Our Voices Postcard Series

Violence against women1 is a pervasive and persistent problem, but too often it is an invisible problem. In family and community conversations, silence hangs over this topic, even though it touches the lives of most women and people who care about women.2 The reasons for this are complex, but stigma and backlash are among the reasons women do not speak out.3 Both the likelihood of experiencing violence and the risks of speaking out are intensified for women experiencing multiple forms of structural marginalization, especially disabled women, LGBTQ+ people, women, young women, and Indigenous women.4  The fact that violence against women most often occurs in private settings – “behind closed doors” – also contributes to its invisibility. With the loss of social supports and stay-at-home orders, the increase in violence directed towards women and girls during the COVID-19 pandemic has been called a “shadow pandemic” by researchers and advocates.5

Autism Awareness Day

The purpose of celebrating and acknowledging this day is to build stronger, more inclusive communities for people with ASD. For instance, strategies to promote inclusive environments include making public playgrounds accessible, having support in place at educational settings, promoting diversity in the workplace to include these individuals, along with many more.  

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