The Centre for Gender Advocacy is hosting a four-part speaker series entitled “Thick Skin: reflections on race, gender and political resistance.” The first talk will begin on Jan. 30 and will continue until Mar. 27.
Maya Rolbin-Ghanie from Promotions & Publicity at the Centre for Gender Advocacy explains that the talk is a “discussion of responses to Islamophobia in Quebec, media representations of Muslim women and current manifestations of Islamic feminism in Quebec in relation/response to the Quebec Charter.”
The speaker for the first talk, Leila Bedeir, is an activist and active member of the Fédération des Femmes du Quebec. She is a founding member of the Collective des féministes musulmanes du Québec and teaches humanities and women’s studies at Vanier College.
According to Rolbin-Ghanie, the series is more pertinent today than ever because we live in a society purely constructed of racial and gendered dynamics that are oppressive in endlessly subtle and blatant ways.
“Some of the issues that arise from this ever-present racism and sexism in (Quebec) society are issues we aim to address with this event series: the indirect yet unavoidable targeting of Muslim women in particular under the proposed Charter of Values; the racial profiling of Montreal youth of colour by the SPVM; the ever-present and still-rising epidemic of missing and murdered women and the failure of the government to take action — to name a few.”
The Centre for Gender Advocacy is organizing these talks as popular education events. The aim of the series is to start a broad range of difficult yet fruitful discussions among people with the ultimate goal of effecting the way people think, what they do, what they say, and how they interpret corporate media.
The Centre for Gender Advocacy wants people to develop a critical mind when it comes to these very “integral, very central issues of race and gender,” because many people who are aware of the politics of their own identity often fail to notice them.
According to Rolbin-Ghanie, “when we deal with issues in isolation, we leave out very important steps and very important people in the process, and we end up replicating the exact same power imbalances that we seek to overcome.”
The keynote event of the series is a talk by poet laureate El Jones on “Black Consciousness, Art and Resistance.” Jones is traveling down from Nova Scotia, so the Centre urges people not to miss the chance to hear her speak on Feb. 6. More information is available on their Facebook event page, or through their website.