Photo Credit: Markus Spiske via Unsplash
This week, Brock Human Rights and Equity (HRE) will be hosting an online panel discussion with award-winning journalist Eternity Martis regarding her memoir, They Said This Would Be Fun: Race, Campus Life, and Growing Up.
The book documents the sexism and racism encountered by Martis during her time at Western University. Drawing on her experiences, Martis will outline racial and gender issues present in Canadian tertiary education while also facilitating conversations on how students of colour can navigate university life on predominantly white campuses.
Jermaine Marshall, Gender and Sexual Violence Events Coordinator at HRE, believes that the event will serve as a good opportunity to not only discuss the book, but also how social change can happen at Brock.
“It’s good that we have [Martis] coming to talk to our campus community so we can discuss many of the issues students of color here are going through and how can we create a campus and community culture that addresses their needs,” said Marshall.
The event will take place this Friday, November 27, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m through LifeSize. It will see Martis joined by a number of student activists, club executives and community leaders who will be discussing a variety of social justice issues in a panel format. By hosting the event through LifeSize, individuals who attend will be able to not only watch but also make contributions to the discussion in real-time and interact with the panelists.
According to Marshall, HRE’s goal in hosting the event is primarily to raise awareness of these on-campus issues. He is hopeful that the individuals who attend the event will leave with a greater understanding of the issues faced by students of colour at Brock and other universities across the country.
“One of the first steps to fixing a problem is becoming aware of it and figuring out what exactly the problem is and where it is coming from,” said Marshall. “I think once people have that knowledge they can use that awareness to start radically changing problematic behaviours, institutions and cultures.”
Brock HRE is the office on campus that deals with many of the human rights and equity issues at the university. Their goal is to ensure that members of the Brock community have a safe and protected campus experience, free from discrimination and violence. As such, HRE also hosts a regular series of educational workshops on a variety of human rights topics. Marshall encourages students to engage with HRE and continue learning about many of the social justice issues relevant in today’s society.
“There is no one perfect workshop or event that gives someone full education on all the issues. It’s a gradual learning process that takes time and commitment. It’s my hope that people will start and continue along this educational journey with Brock HRE,” said Marshall. “Change starts with us and if we’re not working towards making the institution and community better for those marginalized students, then we’re part of the problem.”
Students who desire to keep up to date with the workshops and events coming from Brock HRE are encouraged to follow them on Instagram @brockhre. Additionally, students can monitor ExperienceBU for postings of the department’s upcoming events. You can register for the online discussion with Eternity Martis by visiting: www.eventbrite.ca/e/eternity-martis-at-brock-tickets-129022956135.