The Revolution Starts at Home


maroon” by Humphrey King licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Post by Hannah Barath, Co-op Student Assistant at Access & Diversity

It seems like there are certain acts of violence that someone is always willing to talk about. Murder for example – there is an abundance of books, songs, films and television shows about just this. Other types of violence are deemed as private issues that are best dealt with behind closed doors. This means that even having experienced a particular act of violence can lead to shame and stigma. Sexual violence and intimate partner violence are two examples that fall into this category. However, there are many activists who are doing amazing work in raising awareness about and destigmatizing these issues. This blog post will primarily focus on intimate partner violence, what it is and how it affects different communities.

A few months ago I read an amazing book called The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence within Activist Communities. As the title suggests, this is a collection of essays and reflections on intimate violence in feminist, anti-racist, LGBTQ2I, and activist communities. It was an incredibly powerful read and I learned so much about intimate partner violence, allyship, and accountability. The anthology is edited by Chin-In Chen, Jai Dulani and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. I was also fortunate enough to attend a talk with Leah during UBC Sexual Assault Awareness Month in January 2015. In this talk, titled Strong Communities Make Police Obsolete Leah talked about the activism that she has been involved with, the importance of self-care, and justice methods that offer an alternative to the police.

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Rule Out Racism 2015

Rule Out Racism bannerRule Out Racism is a week-long series of events that focuses on the need for greater literacy and conversation about race and racism within the UBC community in Okanagan and Vancouver. This year’s theme is “this is what anti-racism looks like,” and all events are from March 16-20. There are a wide range of events, from workshops, to panel discussions, to film screenings.

This year there will also be an evening featuring art that raises awareness about experiences of racism. Intercultural U is organized by UBC Equity Ambassadors and will have many interesting performers and featuring different types of art. Like all other events that are a part of Rule out Racism it is free to attend and open to everyone. Find out who is performing at Intercultural U and register here.

Rule Out Racism week is held in recognition of the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination which is observed annually on March 21. See below for a full list of events during Rule Out Racism 2015. Read more about each workshop and register at

  • Intercultural Fluency, Diversity, and International Peoples at UBC. Presentation on March 16, 12.30 – 2pm, in Irving K Barber Learning Centre.
  • Let’s Talk About Racism In Residence. Presentation on March 17, 12.30 – 2pm, in Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.
  • Where are we in the world? Film screening on March 18, 12 – 1 pm, in Neville Scarfe Building
  • Anti-Racism Toolbox Workshops
    • When standing in front of the room is not enough: Facilitation skills for difficult conversations. Presentation on March 18, 11 am – 12 pm, in the Food, Nutrition and Health Building.
    • More than Hammer and Nails: Having Difficult Conversations and Building Allyship. Workshop on March 18, 2 – 4 pm, in Buchanan Building Block D.
    • Addressing Racism: from deer in the headlights to effective engagement. Workshop on March 18, 2 – 4 pm, in Buchanan Building Block D.
    • Cultural competency in a diverse classroom: Critical analysis and practice. Workshop on March 18, 2 – 4 pm, in Buchanan Building Block D.
    • Revealing Conversations: an engaging tool for generating safe, meaningful discussions. Workshop on March 18, 2.30 – 3.30, in Buchanan Building Block D.
  • Intercultural U. Evening of art and awareness on March 19, 6 – 8 pm, Sty-Wet-Tan Hall at the First Nations Longhouse. Register to ensure you get food.
  • Value of Freedom: Academics VS. Expression. Panel Discussion on March 20, 10 am – 12 pm, Sty-Wet-Tan Hall at the First Nations Longhouse (Wayfinding at UBC)
    • Drawing from their own experiences and reflecting upon recent media attention on the topic, faculty will discuss the issues raised when engaging with controversial issues.

Intercultural U 2015

Intercultural U Web Banner 2015Post by Amanda Chiu and Melody Cheung, Equity Ambassadors
Edited by Hannah Barath, Access & Diversity Co-op Student Assistant

The UBC Equity Ambassadors are hosting the third annual Intercultural U on March 19th from 6-8 pm. This event was created to acknowledge and engage with the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Aiming to go beyond multiculturalism, i.e. different yet co-existing cultures, intercultural understanding focuses on making connections with and increasing our knowledge of each other’s cultures. In previous years, Intercultural U has included pecha kucha, roundtables, and panel discussions. This year we are presenting an evening of art and awareness to promote understanding between the rich varieties of cultures that every student brings to our campus.

The event is taking place in the Sty-Wet-Tan Hall in the First Nations Longhouse. By hosting Intercultural U in this space we would like to acknowledge that we are learning, working, and living on the traditional, unceded, and ancestral land of the Musqueam people. We hope that the history and beauty of the Sty-Wet-Tan Hall will help us open up a dialogue that enhances our understanding of how cultures intersect with one and another.

We would like to extend an invitation to those who are interested in attending Intercultural U and learning more about diversity and intercultural understanding. This event is open to the public and free of charge. Light refreshments will be provided. To attend, please register at If you have any dietary restrictions or need any other type of accommodation, please note these when registering. If you require accommodation please let us know at before March 5. Registration will remain open until March 16. No one will be turned away at the door, but we cannot guarantee accommodation or food unless you have registered. Make sure to check back for more information about performers and the program of the evening. Find us on Facebook and Instagram at “UBCEquityAmbassadors.”

List of performers:

  • The Forum Theatre Group, Changing the Lens
  • Spoken Word by Molly Billows
  • Spoken Word by Ivan Leonce
  • Song by Termeh
  • Original Video by Ewon Moon
  • Dance by Seri Malaysia Club
  • Paintings by Yuliya Badayeva, Pius Twumasi, Greta Taxis, Janna Kumi, and Yrenew J. K.
  • Origami Piece by Aaron Tong
  • And finally, Participatory Art by U!

Intercultural understanding… through art!

Post by Rachel Lee, Equity Ambassador and 3rd-year Sociology Student

At the start of a new year, everyone has something to look forward to…seeing your friends on campus, summer break, that concert you’ve been waiting forever for. Well here’s something to get excited about in March!

The UBC Equity Ambassadors are planning InterculturalU in celebration of the International Day to End Racial Discrimination, an event promoting intercultural understanding through your artwork!

Going beyond multiculturalism (i.e. co-existing different cultures), intercultural understanding focuses on making connections with, and increasing our knowledge of, each other’s cultures. In the past, InterculturalU included pecha kucha, roundtables, or panel discussions. This year, we hope to present an evening of art and awareness promoting understanding between the rich variety of cultures that every student brings to our campus. And we need your art to help make this possible!

Are you an artist in the broadest, most imaginative sense?
Are you passionate about ending discrimination and celebrating diversity using your art?

Complete an online submission form to showcase your artwork. The online submission process will close on January 19th, 2015.

Here are just few of the possible mediums that your art could be: song, dance, drumming, photography, painting, sculpture, slam poetry, improv, stand-up comedy.

We look forward to all your submissions! If you have any questions please contact us at

Hip vs Horrible Halloween Outfits

Really CultureNotCostume

Really CostumeNotCulture (download the card)
Post by Hannah Barath, Access and Diversity Co-op student.

I get very excited about Halloween. Without a doubt, my favourite part is seeing fun and creative costumes. The one part that has never appealed to me is the horror, because I get scared way too easily. Fortunately, I can usually avoid all things scary. Unfortunately, the most frightening sight is one that is more difficult to avoid. Culturally appropriative Halloween costumes are surprisingly common but also horrifying, and if you’re unsure why, then read on.

What is cultural appropriation?

Cultural appropriation is a tricky topic to navigate, but a fairly basic definition is the unauthorized use of practices, items or symbols from a non-dominating culture that has typically been (historically and continuously) oppressed and exploited. The person who appropriates belongs to a dominating or different culture than the one they are mimicking. In the context of Halloween, if a person wears a costume that depicts a culture they do not belong to, that person is appropriating. In even simpler terms, the costume is racist.

Although there are so many bright individuals at our university, racist and appropriative costumes are sadly something that is common, especially this time of the year. The problem with these costumes is that they often represent a culture as a (negative) stereotype. Stereotypes fail to acknowledge the diversity within a culture, instead conflating the culture into a shallow depiction of what it truly is, while trivializing the history and significance of practices, items, and symbols. Often these costumes are also sexualized, which adds another problematic aspect as historically, sexualisation and the demonizing of sexuality has been used as a tool of oppression again non-dominating cultures. While all culturally appropriative costumes are equally bad, considering where UBC is located I think it’s important to spend some extra time on discussing appropriation of Indigenous culture(s).

The context

Geographically, the UBC Point Grey and Okanagan campuses are located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people and Okanagan Nation (Sylix) Territories, respectively. Most members of the UBC community are uninvited visitors and settlers, and as such I think our obligations to the Aboriginal communities whose land we occupy have to go beyond land acknowledgements. It is also our responsibility to learn about the past and continued violence these communities face and actively participate in decolonization work. Reducing Indigenous people to a one-dimensional stereotype is just one example of the ongoing oppression, silencing, and violence that Aboriginal peoples face.

Unnecessarily sexualized Halloween costumes are in themselves problematic, but in combination with appropriating Indigenous cultures it is particularly so. Aboriginal peoples, especially women, have historically been constructed as sexually deviant, so costumes and stereotypes that reinforce Aboriginal women as heavily sexualized are both disturbing and upsetting. According to a statistical report from 2013, Aboriginal females in Canada make up 4.3% of the population, but make up about 11.3% of missing females and approximately 16% of female homicides. The effect of perceived deviance combined with other aspects of colonization has led to devaluation and disregard for Aboriginal lives. I think that everyone can agree that this is wrong.

Other popular costumes that are culturally appropriative are dressing as a Mexican, a geisha or wearing blackface. Each and every one of these culturally appropriative costumes have real and damaging consequences for these groups. Although the intent behind wearing a costume that is culturally appropriative may not be malicious, it is still a choice that stems from ignorance, privilege, and racism. As part of a university that aims to “value and respect all members of its communities,” offensive and oppressive actions should be opposed by all members of UBC. Cultural appropriation erases the real life challenges that non-dominating groups face and is an inherently violent action that perpetuates negative stereotypes and oppression of these communities.

So what can you personally do? First of all, never wear a costume, on Halloween or otherwise, that is culturally appropriative. If you’re still unclear on why cultural appropriation is bad or if your costume is appropriate there are many online resources. Take some time to educate yourself, and then educate your friends by sharing this or other articles, or by talking to them. If it feels safe to do so, call someone out on their racist costume. In summary, keep talking and eventually the culture of acceptance toward cultural appropriation will shift.

Before wrapping up I want to acknowledge that cultural appropriation is not isolated to Halloween or dressing up. Incorporating practices, items or symbols that have a significant meaning from another culture into your own is also a form of cultural appropriation. Please take some time to educate yourself on respectful ways to appreciate other cultures, and what the difference between appropriation and appreciation is.

If you are interested in learning more or if you have any questions regarding cultural appropriation, make sure to attend the panel discussion that the UBC Sociology Students’ Association and Anthropology Students’ Association are hosting on October 30.

Multicultural Women Support Program

The Multicultural Women Support Program is restarting  on Friday, April 11. The MWSP is for women who are new to Canada and are looking for ways to make new friends and learn about Canadian resources and culture. The program runs for 9 sessions, from  10:00am to 12:00pm at The Old Barn Community Centre.  For participants coming from outside UBC, bus tickets are provided as well as child minding. The cost for the whole program is $25.

Program Poster

For more information regarding the program and the event, please contact

Call For Proposals – Intercultural U 2013

The Intercultural U 2013 Organizing Committee is inviting proposals for presentations related to intercultural understanding.

Intercultural U is an exciting, two-part event developed with the support of the UBC Equity Office, Access and Diversity, the Liu Institute for Global Issues, and the Faculty of Graduate Studies. It will offer concurrent panel presentations in the afternoon Colloquium and fast-paced presentations in the PechaKucha format in the evening. In between the two events, we will have an opportunity to talk with each other and share dinner (dinner is provided.) We welcome submissions of academic work, community involvement or personal experiences on topics related to intercultural understanding.

Date of event: Friday, March 22, 2013 (Colloquium 1:00-5:00pm, Dinner provided 5:15-6:15pm, PechaKucha 6:15pm-8:30pm)

Place: Liu Institute for Global Issues, UBC Campus (Point Grey)

Deadline for proposals: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 by noon

Proposals are now being accepted for both the academic colloquium presentations and the PechaKucha presentations. For more information and to submit a proposal, please visit the Call for Proposals page. If you have any questions or would prefer this Call for Proposals in Word format, please contact Anne-Marie Long at or 604-822-4859.