We have all come a long way since we signed up for this alternative assignment back in September. The road to the benefit night was a great and exciting journey, which we all learned from and gained valuable life lessons. Through individual and group participation, we all worked together to create a successful event, which not only raised funds for rural Ghanaian students but also raised awareness. Furthermore, through the engagement of this social justice event we made a difference in the lives of the many deserving brilliant, under privileged Ghanaian students.
We started off by communicating with Ms. Gifty and other members of the Ghanaian Canadian Association of British Columbia (GCABC). After acquiring information of the cause and the event, we began taking initiative by going out into the community to seek donations and raise awareness about the upcoming event. We contacted all of the African businesses listed on the GCABC list, however only one business was able to provide support: Taste of Africa was able to donated delicious donuts for the night. We proceeded to delegate tasks to individual group members, which included: the distribution of posters, tickets, promotional water bottles, and the creation of a promotional facebook event. Furthermore, through contact with Ten Thousand Villages, three group members participated in an awareness event at the store which lasted 4 hours. It was a successful in that Ten Thousand Villages donated 15% of the total profit for the day to our event. When we received notice that the premise of the event had been changed, we need to re-strategise to ensure that the event would be entertaining. To make the event more enticing we included prizes that would be worthwhile for people buying raffle tickets. Some of the group members were able to have prizes donated, and we also had to purchase the prizes as well. Also, we contacted many musical acts, and were successful in booking one band. After everything was finalized, we met up at both the Langley and Surrey campuses to promote the event through a second round of ticket pre-sale as well as raising awareness by handing out flyers and more promotional water bottles.
On the day of the event, we met up early at the conference room to set up for all aspects of the night. We assigned roles to each group member to ensure the night would go as smooth as possible. As a last minute addition we were lucky enough to have Bonnie Sutherland as a guest speaker at the event to educate the crowd about the work that Afretech does. We felt that this was the most valuable part of the event because people got to see what is happening in some under developed parts of Africa and how they could contribute. We appreciated that this organisation was strictly non-profit, and had little to no overhead to ensure that every dollar goes directly to improve African communities.
To us, social justice means raising awareness of inequalities, injustices, and being active in the community to help take a stand. The important thing that we took away from the event was the positivity associated with getting involved in social justice events for a greater cause. We learned that it`s possible to make a difference to matter who you are. As we learned in class, silence is deadly, everyone`s voice counts. Motivation and dedication leads to a change and if we all participate, then we can see great progress.
In class on December 12th, we watched a video on racism. The point of the video was to temporarily put the the blue eyed (White) people into a situation of discrimination that brown eyed (Aboriginal) people face on a daily basis. My group found this video very eye-opening because it showed that many people are racist even without actively thinking about it. It also discussed how easy it is for the blue eyed people to do nothing about racism they witness, which is a major cause of the problem.
Recently in class we learned about oppression. We learned that it is possible to be both an oppressor and a victim of oppression at the same time, based on your separate roles in society. The example that my group came up with is male with dark skin. As a male he may be oppressing females, while also as a person of colour, he may be oppressed by “white” people.
In class recently we learned about how the elite gain from the existence of minorities. My group discussed the effects of cheap labour from minorities. We figured that because of the minorities who find it difficult to obtain employment, they are willing to work for cheaper which allows the elite who own the companies to save money in labour and turn over a larger profit.
In class in November 14th we watched the video Race: The Power of Illusion. After watching the movie, our group discussed how interesting we found it that most of the students DNA sample was genetically more similar to members of other “races” than those with similar looks. We found this very surprising because like most of the students in the video, this was not what we expected.
On the first day of class, on September 12th, we were asked to discuss in small groups what we thought society was. My group came up with the ideas that it was the relationship between all the members of a community. We thought that the way the members worked together, and the norms and traditions they established created the society.
My name is Mikayla Francis and I graduated from North Surrey Secondary last June. I am currently in my first year at Kwantlen University studying General Sciences. My goal is to transfer to UBC where I plan to study Dietetics. I decided to study Dietetics because I believe that eating well is a major component of leading a healthy lifestyle, and I would like to assist others in discovering and maintaining a healthy diet. In the future I aspire to work as a Dietitian at a hospital, working with the patients to ensure they are getting all the nutrients necessary for their situation. I first discovered I was interested in the study of nutrition while taking the Fitness Theory course at the community center, in order to certify myself to teach Aquacise classes at the local pool, where I work as a lifeguard and teach swimming lessons.
The issue of Social Justice has always interested me, although my knowledge of many social issues is currently on a surface level. I recently watched the movies Hotel Rwanda, and Blood Diamond, and was disturbed by the brutality of the films. I researched the subjects and discovered that these awful events were really occurring in parts of our world. However disturbing the information was, it inspired me to want to help diminish global conflict. This is why when asked to choose a Social Science course, as a prerequisite for the Dietetics program, I jumped at the opportunity to expand my knowledge and understanding of Sociology. I am eager to learn more about society and cultures, as well as prejudice and racism. I expect the chapter “Race and Ethnicity” to be the most interesting and valuable chapter to me. I have never experienced any severe form of racism towards myself, but am angered when I see it towards others. I am looking forward gaining more knowledge and insight into these subjects from different perspectives.