Emerging Experts: Carceral Abolition
10:22PM Dec 10, 2020
Hi everyone, we will get started in just a few minutes, I'm just posting a link in the chat box this is a link to a live transcription of the event for anyone who wants to read along. Just to let you know and for awareness. These AI sort of like translation systems are not necessarily in tune for racialized voices often. And so there may be difficulty with the exact wording and we will try and fix that, to release an audio recording later on, but just so that you're aware that it might not be 100% but it's available if you need it. And we're just waiting for everyone to get in. We've got about 70 people registered so we'll see how many folks can show up live. But yeah, we'll get started shortly.
For those of you just joining us, we're gonna get started in just a second. While we wait to let folks in and I'm just recopying, a link that you'll see in the chat box. If I can do this properly. This link is to a transcription service so that you can read along as the presentation is happening if you, if you'd like to, and just to note that, again, these, These AI sort of platforms that translate what we're saying into written words are not always conducive for racialized folks and so just be aware that not everything will be 100% accurate in the transcript, but we will try to fix that for the audio recording. But in the meantime, it's available for you if you need it. and we'll get started in just a minute.
Okay, so I'm gonna get started. And we'll just add people in as they show up. I'm going to click record and just so that folks are aware of this recording, there will be no videos we will release an audio recording. After the event. Perhaps this weekend. But there will be no video in that recording. So I'm just going to start now.
All right, so thank you so much everybody for joining us and like I said we have quite a few people that registered so people might be in and out, which is great. But I hope that you find this event informative and helpful as we hear broader discussions around abolition. Oh, the NDP is calling me, I don't know why. Speaking of abolition... as we talk about abolition. And so today we are joined by Olson who I will let speak in just a moment but just to start off I want to tell you a little bit about leading in color and myself. So my name is Serisha Iyar I use she/her pronouns, and I am the Executive Director and Founder of Leading in Colour. Leading in Colour is an organization I started just last year in July. And it's basically a grassroots organization dedicated to peer to peer knowledge sharing as a form of training racialized youth and activism and I started it because I was pretty fed up with listening to all these old white people talk to me about my communities and what my communities needed, and quite literally just using us, for whatever clout that they could get and I got fed up of it and decided to build this and it turned into something bigger than I anticipated which is amazing. But one of our foundational programs, was the series that we have today called emerging experts. And that's where we bring together folks from across racialized communities where young people. Approximately under the age of 29.
And these folks get to learn from one another, between a specific advocacy issues. So for example, we've had folks talk about food insecurity gender based violence. A whole stream of anti poverty teachings and webinars, climate justice and looking at all of this from the lens of racialized communities, what does that mean to racialized communities, what does it mean across specific communities so looking at disproportionate things that disproportionately affect black and indigenous communities, particularly in Canada. And so we want to learn from one another and teach one another as opposed to trying to learn from institutions and learn from the people who claim to be for us when really they're not. And so that's sort of the background that I come into this space with. I'm currently located on unseeded and unthreaded Algonquin territory in Ottawa. And I know a lot of people think that it's very bizarre sometimes to say that on zoom meetings or we're talking over the internet. And so the reason why I say that is because I have a very deep connection, I think, to indigenous peoples that live in this country for a very particular reason. So my background is South African my family comes from as refugees to this country escaping apartheid. And it wasn't until I was about 22 and I'm now 25 that I learned that the apartheid system they escaped from was built after the residential school system, the past system. And the trauma that indigenous peoples in this country faced and so I feel a unique sense of solidarity and wanting to uphold that work. And so that's why I note that this is the land that I'm on and draw that connection to where my people are from. We also I'm the descendant of enslaved peoples and so my connection to the kingdom of the Zulu is also very incorporated verse, being being guests on indigenous territory there. So that's the that's the mentality that I bring to this work and that's why we do sort of emphasize that this is for racialized folks. But we offer this space for white allies as well to come and learn. And so, more often than not, you'll see that all of our events are free for racialized youth, and then we offer a donation or something. dependent on the events for for allies to come in and claim space. So the one thing I want to draw your attention to today before I invite Olson to speak, is that we started a winter support fund for racialized youth across what is currently Canada. And so what this fund is, is I'm just going to post it in the chat. Um, but basically people donate and we distribute the money to youth who are in need. People are really struggling because of the pandemic right now, but this is not meant to be a form of charity is meant to be a form of mutual aid, those who have given those who do not have are able to to request funds. We were able to raise $1,000 on Friday and distributed all of that money. And then over the weekend we've gotten now up to 95 additional requests. And so we're still trying to collect over the month of December to meet all the needs that we can. So if you have capacity we invite you to do that especially for allies, as something that you can do as a tangible form of ally ship and and for coming into this space. And now, with that, I'm going to introduce our educator for today. So Olson Crowe is a to s Mohawk trans Muslim organizer based out of Toronto, Ontario. They have both lived experience in the child welfare system and youth carceral system also later went on to study criminology and law at Ryerson University, and currently sits at the Two Spirit and transgender representative for the Canadian Federation of Students national representing over 250,000 students nationwide. Previously, they served as the vice president of equity for the Ryerson Students Union, a Youth Advisory Committee Member for Planned Parenthood Toronto, and they're passionate about social justice. Olson is a special is also specialized in indigenous alternatives to the carceral system and a staunch abolitionist, who in their free time likes to envision a future without police prison bars and punitive justice. So thank you so much for joining us, and I will pass it off to you.
Thanks so much for the introduction and thanks so much for explaining a little bit about leading in color that was super informative and exciting for me to learn. But as Serisha was saying My name is Austin crow I used a them, or he him pronouns, and I am a mohawk to spirit organizer based out of Toronto. Before I get too into it I do want to start off with a little bit of a land acknowledgement for where I'm situated. So I'm currently situated in Toronto, which is a mohawk word that means where the trees meet the water on Toronto is in the dish with one spoon territory and the dish with one spoon is a treaty between the anishnaabe Bay, the hood nashoni and the Mississauga is that bound them to share that territory and protect the land. Subsequent indigenous nations Europeans and non newcomers have been welcomed into that tree in the spirit of peace friendship and respect. I think a lot of times when we, when we talk about land acknowledgments it can be really easy for them to kind of become a an act of what we feel like we have to do this so we're just going to get it over with. And I think it's really important that we understand a little bit more about the land acknowledgments that we give. So for example, you will notice that I mentioned the dish with one spoon, and for folks who live in Toronto, I'm sure you've heard this, plenty, plenty of times, but the dish with one spoon refers to the idea that Toronto is a very naturally rich area and naturally rich in resources so there's the water there is a bunch of different opportunities for folks to be able to eat and live off that land so the dish was talking about the concept of a bunch of indigenous nations, being able to share that lands together in a way that was a neutral territory, oftentimes, when we talk about indigeneity settlers and mainly Europeans have this weird idea that we are somehow perfect in this weird mystical community but I am sure that's not the case as well, and Toronto was kind of unique in the sense that it was a neutral territory. So the reason it's the dish with one spoon and not the dish with one fork or one knife is to represent those different nations coming together in the spirit of peace with that. So like Serisha mentioned my experience and talking about the carceral system. Very much comes from personal experience and also academia. I am not someone who holds a lot of value in academia, I am not someone who thinks that that necessarily is shares their truths in the way they need them to be explained. So, When I approach these conversations I tried to do it in a way that is very simplified because I think oftentimes we talk about these concepts and the communities that are living these realities can't understand what we're saying and I think that's a great disservice to some of our communities. So what I'm going to do a little bit today is start with sharing my own personal story with the carceral system in the child welfare system, and then move into some of the more statistics based content, and academia based content. So a little bit about me is when I was a youth I was apprehended by Children's Aid services. So the child welfare system. Oftentimes when we talk about indigenous youth in the child welfare system we think about residential schools. We think about the millennial scoop, sorry we think about the 60 scoop. And I'm sure most of you folks have heard about the residential schools in 60 scoop before. But what a lot of folks don't know is that there's actually more indigenous youth in care today than there ever has been in Canadian history. So more than their husband at the height of the residential schools and more than there was at the height of the 60 scoop and I think that's something that's really important to recognize and Canada has a really good way of apologizing for things after they happen, but isn't so good at recognizing amazing that those systems of violence are concurrent and ongoing and yes so my thank you so much for that Serisha I would ask that nobody take my photo or share that anywhere just for my own personal safety concerns that I have. So when we talk about youth and the child welfare system we oftentimes think about the past and we think about those residential schools and we think about the 60 scoop. But again, knowing that more indigenous youth are in care than ever. Today we need to recognize the profound impacts of the millennial scoop. For example, if we look at the province of Manitoba 83% of the youth in care in Manitoba are indigenous youth. That's a staggering number, for me, for example, when I was in care.
I had never come into contact with a white youth. I actually thought one of the girls that I had lived with was white and recently I was talking to her and she had disclosed to me that she was matey So, again, we really realize what these systems do to indigenous and black youth, specifically in Canada. So I think some of those things are important to know as I go into this story. When we talk about residential schools. We talk about in a way that that violence is no longer ongoing. But when we talk about the child welfare system in Canada, namely the group home system. There is a for profit Child Welfare sector in Canada. We hear a lot about the for profit prisons in the United States for example and Canada is fortunate enough to not have for profit prisons, though, that doesn't mean they're any better. And that doesn't mean our legal system is any better, but we do not have for profit prisons in Canada but we do have for profit group homes, and I'm going to explain how those are kind of one in the same. But I'll get to that a little bit later. So as I mentioned I was apprehended as a youth, due to the fact that both of my biological parents had extreme substance abuse issues from some of that intergenerational trauma so my father is a residential school survivor. and my mother is someone who was an indigenous woman and the birth of so called Canada and the violence that comes with that. So I was apprehended and I was placed in the foster care and the group home system. What oftentimes happens with indigenous youth in the child welfare system is that Children's Aid specifically and purposefully tries to move you as far away from your home community as possible to kind of work on that distancing of culture, which is very similar to what we saw with the residential school era. And what we saw with the 60 scoop, oftentimes, use being sent to different provinces or even different countries and we look at the 60 scoop. But with the millennial scoop it's very similar where I was placed in a group home in wealth, my home community is Chatham Kent so not that far but about a five hour drive, I had never been to Guelph before I thought it was really funny word though, and I had never really experienced that part of the province. However, most of the youth that I lived with were from Manitoba, and we're from other provinces that are primarily have the highest populations of indigenous people. So when I was moved to these homes in wealth. It was told I was told it was because there was no foster homes in my area, and that I would be forced to go into the group home system. This is also something that happens with indigenous youth quite frequently. Because indigenous youth are oftentimes seen as more unruly as more unwell and at me be more prone with substance abuse issues that we know is rooted in racism and statistically and statistically not true. If you actually look at the statistics about groups of youth that are most likely to commit crime and have substance abuse issues, it is actually affluent white youth. So we know that again this is just upholding some of the racist stereotypes that we have about indigenous people in so called Canada. And what was really scary about the home that I was placed in, was that it was a privatized group home. And I promise you this all ties into abolition I will get, I'll get to it shortly. But the palm sector again replicates a lot of the same harms that residential schools do, and the sense that Catholicism for example is forced upon its residents. So when I was in group homes, they're technically legally supposed to give you an allowance. Once a week of $10, or more depending on what chores you do essentially but it needs to be a baseline $10, we would be denied our allowance and denied any money unless we attended Catholic Church at least once a week. We were also denied phone calls, we were denied use of the Internet. There was oftentimes we didn't have food, there is oftentimes we didn't have mattresses light bulbs would be taken away as punishment doors would be taken away as punishment. So the privatized group home very much mirrors the call carceral system in many, many ways. And then we know again that indigenous and black youth are disproportionately apprehended we know again that these youth are dealing with the systems have punitive justice for crimes they didn't even commit, and oftentimes faults that are not their own in these systems. So that's one thing. And again, if we look at the parallels of the residential school system, the isolation of community. The lack of being able to talk to your own family, we weren't allowed to speak indigenous languages, because the all white staff had to understand what we were saying at all times and we would be locked in our rooms if we didn't comply to that. So a lot of these forms of violence replicated.
But what a lot of folks don't know is that there's actually different laws and rules for youth in care than youth who are not in care. And that's kind of where that connection to the carceral system comes from. So I'm sure you folks have heard about the school to prison pipeline before, right I'm sure this is these are concepts that we've heard of. And for folks who don't know the school, the school to prison pipeline talks about the ways in which racialized youth primarily black and indigenous youth are surveilled in the classroom and punished in the classroom, leading to some of those more legal repercussions down the road. We see this in the states with laws around truancy for example, where oftentimes black and Latino x parents will be penalized because they're not able to afford to send their children to school, or have the means to send their children to school and will be penalized with carceral sentences on top of that, but with something that we don't necessarily talk about in the Canadian context is a youth in character prison pipeline which is honestly astounding. So I would say during my time in care I probably lived with approximately 60 to 70 different girls, and I say specifically girls because when I was in care, I was pre transition I very much identified as a woman, and looked like a young woman and live those systems as a young indigenous girl and I think when we have conversations about the way we police indigenous girlhood. That's also a part of an abolition, and abolition conversation and I promise I'll get to it. But these different laws that are set out for youth and care which we know to be at an 80 percentile rate indigenous youth really sets up a system where indigenous youth have different laws than white youth or otherwise racialized youth. So for example, when I was in care. I was never I was never a troublemaker and not that there's anything wrong with that, but I've always been a little bit softer, and a little bit shyer, and a little bit more emotional than other folks I am not sure if anyone's in astrology person but I blame it on me being a double cancer. Um, but essentially I didn't get into pa I didn't get into the issues very much when I was in care that was never really something that I struggled with about one night I decided that I wanted to volunteer for parent teacher interview night, I was the only youth in my group home that was actually allowed to attend public school because oftentimes you think care are forced to do section schools which essentially just means you go to school in the basement of your group home and a teacher comes in and works with youth of all different ages so you can see that the quality of education that people are getting is very low, which we know again will trap people into a system of poverty, which will then trap people into a system of incarceration, right. So when I had attended. Parent Teacher interview night I had special permission from my group home staff that I stay after school for a couple of hours till 8pm to volunteer, which was silly to volunteer for parent teacher interview night to a lot of people because I didn't have parents but you know I was always a little bit of a teenager, so I tried to try to do some of that stuff. And the group home said yeah that's absolutely okay that's 100% Okay, please don't worry. Um, I had came home, and it was 802 at the time that I was pulling into the driveway of my group home. And at that point there had already been three police cruisers waiting in the driveway. It's not infrequent to see police in group homes, I would say that we probably had a police officer in our group home arresting or harassing a youth, at least on a daily or weekly basis, it wasn't something that was uncommon. So I had figured they were for somebody else. So I had gotten out of the car and I was making my way up the driveway, when all of a sudden I was swarmed by approximately six grown and police officers who had their knees to my back my face was to the driveway I had almost fractured my arm, and I was arrested and taken to a juvenile detention center so he was carceral facility. I was really confused because I was like I don't know what crime I committed. And at that point, I didn't really understand kind of the heinous violence in which colonialism perpetuates on to indigenous youth. So I was I was extra confused. When I had been booked at the carceral facility I had asked why I had been incarcerated I didn't really have any answers I didn't really have any answers for about a week so I was still again very confused and very scared, as I'm sure you could imagine. And this is after spending a year, two years in the group home system where we would be lucky if we had dinner. More times than not, I didn't have a mattress. More times than not, I didn't have food. So a bunch of these different systems that kind of wear you down. And I had been arrested. At this point I had been questioning my gender identity so not only was I arrested but I was placed in solitary confinement so for folks who maybe don't know what solitary confinement looks like. That looks like spending like 23 out of 24, hours of your day in a cell.
There's a lot of questions around whether solitary confinement is legal in Ontario there's been multiple cases that have kind of ruled that it is cruel and unusual punishment. And all of these different things but again we know that laws and colonialism, don't necessarily match colonizers only apply laws when it's convenient for them and find ways around it when it's to police indigenous communities. So when we are having some of those sorry I got distracted I got a text on my phone. So when we're having some of these these realizations about the carceral system, this was kind of like an aha moment for me because I had found myself in the space, not knowing why I was incarcerated locked in a room for 23 hours because of my transness which I'm sure folks know but the gender binary is very much also a colonial imposition when Europeans came to so called Canada into so called America. They force the gender binary upon people to kind of get people to fall into those more European and Catholic and Christian frameworks of thought. So again, a colonial state seeing queerness and trans ness is inherently something deviant. And I had a bit eventually found out why I had been incarcerated, and it was because I had missed curfew. And I'm not sure how many of you have ever missed curfew before, I'm sure, one if not all of us have, I think it's a part of being an adolescence. But the rules for youth care are fundamentally different from the rules of youth out of care. So for example missing your curfew at home, it may be your mom's gonna bring you out a little bit. But missing curfew in a group home system is considered going AWOL. And because foster kids in group home youth specifically are usually regarded as more violent even though I had never been in a fight, never been involved in a situation of violence. I was inherently regarded as violent. And again, because we know whose bodies make up the system we know that this is inherently labeling indigenous and black bodies as a threat to the state as a threat to white populations and as a threat to the colonial fabric of so called Canada. From that missing curfew of two minutes, I was unfortunately incarcerated for a period of six months, all of which was which was spent in solitary confinement, which, if you I'm not sure if any folks study criminology or or if anyone's a little bit of a geek like me and also likes to research this stuff in their free time has profound mental mental health implications solitary confinement is something that is barbaric, and that shouldn't be happening period. So that's a little bit about my experience personally with the carceral system. And we see this happening with a lot of indigenous youth, specifically indigenous and black youth who are in care. We had gotten to the point that every single one of the girls that I had lived with had been incarcerated at one point or another during their time in the child welfare system. The way police background searches kind of work now is that necessarily I didn't commit a crime I never went to court that was never something that happened it was just seen as a punitive measure. And because it was a crown Ward which means a ward of the state which I'm sure you can imagine the concepts of being called called the crown Ward which literally means property of the crown as an indigenous person is really gross. Essentially implies that the Queen owns you and all of that disgusting stuff. People don't really care right like the only person who's looking out for you at that point is your caseworker some folks are fortunate enough to have their families that still look out for them. But oftentimes their families end up being in a place where they don't even know where we are anymore, because we've been so far removed from home, and social workers are upholding that colonial racist state. So that's a little bit about my personal experiences with incarceration and I think that kind of leads us to some of the stark realities in which indigenous youth, and indigenous adults, see in the carceral system.
So even if we break down statistics right we know that in the Canadian prison system around 48% of indigenous sorry of woman inmates for example in the women's prison system are indigenous woman. So if we look at that 48% opposed to the indigenous, the percentage of the population in which Indigenous women make is only 0.4% of the Canadian population. So if we look at those comparisons of 0.4% of the population to 48% of the prison population right we kind of start to see that these systems are inherently rooted in racism. So in so called Canada indigenous people make up the largest incarcerated population of any other racial category or group. Not to say that it's not bad for other folks. It definitely is. And again, black and indigenous people disproportionately represent incarcerated citizens in the so called Canadian framework. Sorry it's catching my breath. So when we talk about some of those statistics, it becomes very clear that the prison system, at least very clear to me and maybe I'm a little bit biased, but we see that these systems are not actually meant to seek justice but instead they are sought as a method, and as a framework of upholding Canadian colonialism so called Canadian colonialism. And when I say so called Canada it just because Canada is not real sorry I refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of Canada as a state. And when we look at across the board of colonial nations and the ways in which they continue to colonize their communities, the carceral system is a very very very prominent feature. I really appreciate sirico talking about apartheid for example in South Africa when we very much saw that was a system that is used and has been used in the past as well. Another example of a settler colonial nation that really really loves to incarcerates indigenous populations is the state of Israel, for example, where at least at least one person in every single Palestinian home lives, or has experience with incarceration. And if we look at Gaza, for example, we know that it's the largest open air prison and the only open air prison that exists in the world right now. So there's patterns of settler colonial states and of colonial states, using his incarceration as a way of maintaining or solving the Indian problem. Again, when we look at these stats, it makes it really clear that we know that indigenous people globally in in in so called Canada aren't actually committing more crimes. But they're being heavily surveilled, to the point where these are things that are coming up. But for example if we talk about, Even if those communities were committing more crimes. We know that almost all crimes are a result the poverty, right, with theft to being one of the largest crimes that the most prominent crime that we see in Canadian society. And I promise you that people don't just steal for the fun of it. More times than not it's because the need is not being met. And of course needs aren't being met when the when the Canadian system has been pushing down and blocking access to economics and blocking access to capital from indigenous nations from centuries. Also as a people who doesn't believe in capitalism. That kind of brings in some of those other things right so oftentimes, and I and I am a believer that no one is evil. No one is a bad person circumstances lead us to can have to make tough decisions on oftentimes what we end up seeing is Indigenous women incarcerated for theft for things like toilet paper or for things like food. For example, everyone in my, my biological family had been incarcerated at one point or another My mother was incarcerated when she was 15 for stealing toilet paper because her family was so poor that they couldn't afford. They couldn't afford it. My father was incarcerated after
he got out of residential schools for some other things for a very short period of time, which ended up just being like a misdemeanor that was a miss conviction so he didn't spend very much time there, but it was still it was still something that came up. And we see these cycles with indigenous communities and these cycles of car serration which makes it extremely difficult to pull yourself out of that position of poverty. Because we know right for most jobs they look for things like criminal records, and even if they don't, if there's a three year gap in your resume for example from a time you were incarcerated that's going to cause a red flag to an employer, so it creates the system of poverty which keeps creating the systems in which people need to commit crimes to survive. And I am also a firm believer that capital and capitalism is useless. I don't call myself a Marxist or socialist because most Marxists and socialists stole their ideas from indigenous people, but that's a story for another day. But we can see how some of these cycles lead to these this continuous incarceration and this legacy of incarceration that we see in indigenous and black communities in so called Canada. So that's kind of the issue that one indigenous people aren't actually committing the most crime, they're just the most surveilled but also, even if there was those numbers of crime happening, looking at the social causes for those crimes. And for example, if we look at the Indian Act and the way the Indian act made so many acts illegal so for example I'm sure we've all heard about the concepts of segregation before no lot of people like to think that oh Canada didn't really have segregation, or segregation ended in the 60s, but that's also again fundamentally not the case where it was actually illegal for indigenous people to drink off reserve until 1985, which is very recent, so I'm sure you can imagine if you're familiar with concepts of prohibition at all, that it's proven that prohibition only makes people. People substance use more unhealthy, right, because once you're told that you can't do something people want to do it a lot more. But also if you can't do it publicly because you know you will be penalized and you can be punished with incarceration, that you're going to do it more in your own home which is again going to create more of an unhealthy relationship with that substance. So we see some of those cycles as well. And again, if we look at the 60 scoop. Sorry if we look at the residential schooling system that generational curse reality started when indigenous parents would refuse to send their children to a genocidal system that forced them into doing so if and if they didn't send their children they would be incarcerated so again how are we sitting up this legacy of incarceration. When the last residential school closed in 1996, which is only a year before I was born. How do we move on from that because it's not like these are things that happened in the past, they're things that ended quite frequently. Quite recently but are still ongoing through some of those processes of the child welfare system in which I saw, and which I was mentioning earlier. When we talk about concepts of surveillance and the birth of policing even. I'm not sure if folks know and a lot of folks have heard of the concept of policing been invented in the United States because unfortunately a lot of United States political education kind of dominates Canadian political education, and oftentimes we don't necessarily learn about the roots of things in Canada and well we are super similar. There also are some fundamental differences. So for example, the police in general, like policing as a concept was invented in Europe during the Industrial Revolution. And this is where some of the criminology and academia part comes in, I apologize, folks. If anyone is academia adverse like I am, but the birth of policing came the industrial revolution in Europe, when
folks who owned. What is the word when people who own factories wanted to make sure that their workers were doing work. So originally police were invented as private security to uphold the capitalist systems of the Industrial Revolution in Europe, so they would just make sure that workers weren't slacking and redoing all of that stuff. That's the birthing of police period. Obviously it came to the Western world with colonization and policing in America was distinctly started as a slave catching movement right to catch the slaves that had been colonized and stolen from their own lands. And the black folks that had been stolen and colonized in their own lands to come here. And that was the birth of policing in America, and the birth of policing in Canada was very much to solve the Indian problem again we see concepts of solving the Indian problem across the Canadian system, pretty frequently, whether it be in the Indian act or any of those other things. And that's kind of how policing became commonplace in Canada, so I'm sure we all can appreciate and recognize that when police in general, were only ever started to uphold capitalism, to stifle incarcerate and murder indigenous people and to stifle incarcerate and murder black folks, we can see that obviously these systems are going to disproportionately affect these bodies and it only makes sense. So when we talk about that and how that has trickled down we haven't actually seen much policing change and reform or justice change and reform, because the prison system that we see now which is a punitive system not a rehabilitative not any of those other things, was again started so so so long ago in Europe and has not changed despite the massive amounts of research that have proven time and time again that incarcerating people only leads to higher crime recidivism rates. The only thing that has ever been proven to reduce crime is rehabilitative justice and I'll get into that in a little bit, but for example I'm sure we've heard the Conservative Party or the People's Party, which is not, not a real party but it is but I refuse to recognize it constantly say we need to be tough on crime, we need to do X, Y and Z especially in cities like Toronto which we know is just like the most racialized cities so people are like we need to control all these ridiculous racialized people that's beside the point. But these are the systems and way in which they were set up and people always say this tough on crime narrative, but the truth is if people actually want it to be tough on crime, they would all be abolitionists. Because to be an abolitionist is to believe in a rehabilitative system, which we know, statistically and humanely is the only option to reduce crime. And we also know that the only reason we haven't taken abolitionist perspectives to justice is because Canada as a settler colonial state and people love to brand us as a friendly country. I am going to tell you something which I'm sure you all know I'm sure you're all very bright people, but we are doing almost all of the same policies, the United States are in terms of our justice system. We just have Kinder words. It's all of the same, it's all of the same issues, though. More times than not, for example we hear about wild police brutality rates in the United States, but for example in the month of the month of March alone. The police just in one city just in Winnipeg, Manitoba killed three indigenous youth. under the age of 25. And we didn't hear about it, indigenous communities heard about it and I'm sure folks who are really tuned into social justice and things like that heard about it. But we don't hear about Canadian cases as much as we do American cases. And this is also a problem with the Canadian new system and all of these different systems. But three, three, while counting math was never my strong suit, but three indigenous lives were taken in the month of March. under the age of 25. And we didn't hear about it. Even when we look up more recent cases like the the case of Regis or schinsky per cat in Toronto. Again, we're seeing the police killing off an afro indigenous woman. And there was a 1000s of people at that rally it was, it was really beautiful to see, but we're seeing the same issues that we're seeing in the United States and we're seeing it at almost the same rate, a lot of people like to think it's drastically different our population is considerably lower than the United States so if you actually look at the population to police shootings were basically on par with America, it's quite. They're very very very similar numbers,
I forget roads going with this tangent, give me a second and I'll come back to it. But when we look at these rates of violence and we know that the police are only meant to uphold the systems of course they're not going to want to change it because the colonizers goal is always to eradicate the indigenous peoples of the land so they can have more access to that capital. And again, a lot of people talk about the privatized prison system in the United States and about how they invest in a bunch of products for example if you have a Samsung phone and made it. If you shop at Victoria's Secret and made you're an incarcerated person made your bra. x y&z like it's almost impossible to divest from prison labor for example, HP computers are made in the carceral system. But in Canada we also capitalize off incarcerated people's labor, and we don't hear about it as much because again we like have this weird idea and Canadian politicians and media have done a great way of kind of posing us as this utopia in a lot of ways, but we still invest in prison in the in the in the prison industrial complex through these ideas of labor, and we still capitalize off of that labor. So for example, I'll use the Grand Valley Institute for a woman, which is a prison for women that's quite close by Toronto I could be mistaken that it closed recently, I know one of the woman's carceral facilities close I apologize, I don't remember which. But essentially where workers are making about 25 cents an hour. Would you see that anywhere else in the country you absolutely would not. And these women are making making this money and there's also a concept and the woman cursor in the female carceral system facility in the carceral facility for women and femmes where when you're on your period for example, you are responsible for purchasing your pads and tampons. If you don't purchase your pads and tampons. And you free bleed if that's something that has to end up happening that you're making 25 cents an hour, you're probably only going to be able to afford your pads for the month and that's literally it, let alone food because as we know, many inmates in Canada are under fed, or fed food by companies like Aramark that purposely feed rotten food to inmates with maggots for example, there was an exquisite denim that I think it was about two years ago now. So of course people are going to need to buy other things and if you don't purchase pads or tampons for example and you free bleed that's considered unhygenic and you can get a write up which can again punish you with that solitary confinement. So again we're looking at communities that are most likely to be impoverished which in the Canadian colonial state is indigenous and black population so you're again criminalizing poverty. So again we're seeing some of those capitalist systems upheld by our prison industrial complex and the reason that the only reason we haven't stripped like gone towards rehabilitative forms of justice is because of some of those things is because the state capitalizes so so so so so much off the prison industrial complex. But again, if you look at the statistics around what is most effective in stopping crime, which crimes always going to happen. I'll let you in on a secret it's the oldest thing in the book. It also depends on what we view as crimes for example right like I am of the opinion that all drugs should be decriminalized, and x y and z because having an illness, such as addiction is not a crime. And we should be meeting those cases with compassion opposed to incarceration. So when we're talking about some of that rehabilitative justice it's really important that we talk about indigenous approaches to abolition and indigenous approaches should justice. Because in the year 2020, and what a year it has been there is no reason to not be an abolitionist if you're someone who is hard on crime, for example, okay we know the only way to stop crime. If you're someone who is oftentimes the arguments of like, well, what if someone is a murderer or someone who commits sexual violence, for example, again, sexual violence rates and violent crime rates, only go up with incarceration so if you're someone who advocates for that again incarceration is actually hindering that cause opposed to helping it. If you're someone who's interested in justice for survivors, again, putting someone in a carceral system is only going to mean they're going to reoffend and create more survivors so again that's not a solution right. So there's no reason to not be an abolitionist whether you're a conservative or you're liberal or you're somewhere in the middle or you're leftist, and the only argument that people can say for upholding carceral justice is really colonization and racism because at this point there is no other argument for why these systems should be upheld. And in common in recent months we've been having a lot of conversations about
abolition and conversations around abolition have gone a little bit more mainstream which I've been obsessed with. It's something that I've been really excited about a scholar that I look to a lot in terms of my abolitionist education and academia is Dr. Angela Davis. And it's been really interesting also to kind of see the fruits of her labor be recognized after so many so many years of of her labor and other black and indigenous women's labor not being not being recognized. And there's kind of been this big question where it's like okay we know we wanted to fund the police we know we want to abolish the police and we know that we should and has to abolish the prison industrial complex, but what's the solution. And this is a question that has been lurking irking my nerves. It's really been bothering me. And I say it's been bothering me because it's been a lot of white leftist and white social justice advocates being like we need to come up with the solution, and indigenous people have had the solution, we've always had the solution. It's not about finding a new alternative it's about going back to our traditional ways of practicing justice, so we don't actually need to find a new solution it's simply about processes of indigenizing the current cultures in which we live in. And I say indigenisation and not decolonization because I am of the opinion that decolonization doesn't exist. And I think that when a lot of folks, the term decolonization has been colonized. I can't believe that's a word that I have to say but it's very true, where I think the concept of decolonization kind of takes the onus off the colonizer in a sense that like the harm, and the genocide and all of those things can be undone. Were like my father can never not be a residential school survivor. I can never have my childhood back when not something that's been stolen from me from the carceral system and the youth justice system and the privatized group home system lands can never be decolonize buildings can be directed people can't just that intergenerational trauma can just be erased so I don't like to use the word decolonization because I feel like eradicates and erases a lot of those narratives because some harms can't be undone. And the harms of decolonization are so deep and hurtful that those crimes, and that harm cannot be undone. And to say it is is fundamentally disrespectful to those who've lived it. That's just my opinion. I won't say that's every indigenous person's opinion no community is a monolith, but that is very much of my framework of thought so I appreciate you hearing me out on that. So again it's not about and it's not about finding a new solution and it's not about going to these white saviors and white academics and white politicians to find those solutions. It's definitely not going to politicians who are upholding a colonial system to begin with no matter how progressive. I used to be someone who, who was very involved that was an NDP voter and NDP party member for example but I became a little bit disenfranchised for example when folks like jug meet Singh can Tweet at Justin Trudeau that climate leaders don't buy a pipeline but take a photo with Horgan, the next month which is the man that has been enforcing the RCMP on wetsuit and lands and so I become a little bit disenfranchised and I've learned to realize that no political system that upholds colonization is going to work for indigenous black or otherwise racialized communities in these countries because they've only been built to dismantle us and as the, the famous Audrey Lorde quote goes right but masters tools will never dismantle the Masters home, the Masters house right. I don't know what the solution is to getting there. If I, if I do I'll let you know but I don't think that is I don't think my capabilities go that far.
So this question of how we move forward, has always been there, and I think it's about going back to some of those traditional those traditional ways. And I don't mean indigenous approaches to justice like the glue courts for folks who don't know what the glue courts are it's a exactly how we need to use their own magic. The glue courts are a system that was put into place after the case of Cindy glue, which recognized that indigenous people face unique challenges in this country and some of those intergenerational trauma story should be heard before sentencing This is considered. And oftentimes that looks like indigenous people representing other indigenous people and all of those different things which I think is important but it's really important to recognize that as a band aid solution. It's not a be all and end all because it's still upholding a colonial system, and maybe indigenizing a colonial system a tiny tiny tiny bit. But it's still upholding a colonial system and I think the same thing for example, when we look at the. There's like a new native and child family services but like for me, for example I don't care if it's a brown person apprehending me or a white person apprehending me I'm still going to go into the same families. I'm still being taken advantage of by the same colonial systems as native and Child and Family Services has to follow the same policies and procedures laid by the province, which again is set by white colonial politicians right. The same way when we have like indigenous police liaisons I don't really care if it's a brown or a black cop handcuffing me and still being handcuffed so I'm not sure if that's something that matters to other folks but it's definitely not something that makes me feel better at the end of the night, because our people are still dying in jail every day. So how do we move forward and what do indigenous approaches to justice look like, oftentimes in our communities as I'm sure a lot of you folks know and I will just speak personally about my teachings as a mohawk person concepts of Pan indigeneity can be really dangerous. And that happens a lot. Also give you a little tip for the folks who maybe aren't familiar with talking about indigenous issues, the proper word is indigenous, please don't say anything else. First Nations only means nations in which fallen through treaties so First Nations, does not include matey or Inuit folks. So other things to keep in mind when we're just having conversations about indigeneity. But again, sometimes the ways we talk about indigeneity is very much from a pan indigenous approach. When all indigenous nations practice things differently. I like to tell people to kind of think about different indigenous nations like different countries because they were their own groups of people that had their own systems of justice and things like that. But pretty similarly across the board. A lot of our communities were matriarchal based systems. So basically kind of the way the hierarchy would work in a lot of indigenous communities. Is that grandmothers, and elders who were female identified and woman identified were at the top. Two Spirit people were kind of on par for folks who don't know I described myself as Two Spirit at the beginning to spirit does not just mean like queer or trans indigenous person, it is very much a cultural world, and just refers to the concept of having two spirits both that masculine and that feminine or whatever other spirits within you and carrying both of those. for me it looks like being a trans masculine person, and being a queer person and all those things but everyone's Two Spirit identity is different, but Two Spirit people had very specific roles in our communities such as people who decided justice for the community as healers, as medicine people as communal parents for example for for group home, what would be considered foster kids right or orphans. Two Spirit people would oftentimes fill the role of those families and that's kind of what my teachings around. Two Spirit identity look like so that's kind of the totem pole in which our community felt, followed by children followed by Mad Men were kind of at the bottom. Sorry guys.
So those are different things to keep in mind and essentially what would happen in my community, at least in the way my teachings go, is that people would the community would come together and decide on justice together. But what would happen is that the survivor or the person who was victimized would be the person who kind of led that search for justice. So it would start with the elder or whoever was leading the circle being like, Okay, what would make you feel better. And because we weren't a society that believed in punitive justice. It wouldn't be like, Oh, I want this person to die I want this person to be killed. I want the x, y and z. Because we recognize that as a community, oftentimes crime is committed because a need is not being met. So for example, if someone stole the question wouldn't be a wouldn't be you're going to be outcast for stop stealing it would be clearly the community hasn't cared for you enough or helped you with your needs enough so what can we do to make those needs met. And what can we do to support you better so you don't have to do some of these behaviors that harm other people which oftentimes theft doesn't actually harm other people as we know especially not in a colonial sense where it's like stealing from Amazon and Walmart, please shoplift, um, don't get caught, but you know steal from these corporations. So it's not a matter of this is something you did wrong it's a matter of we did something wrong as a community to not make you feel supported enough that that was something that you had to do. So maybe it's when we go hunting we provide you with some extra food. Maybe it's when we're smoking or meat that we're giving you some more of that. So it's about setting those systems up and recognizing that crime is actually not an individual's fault but oftentimes a shortcoming of a society. So it's really shifting that idea that someone who commits crime needs to be punished, but instead the society that is not meeting their needs is actually at fault for that crime. So I think that is a really fundamental aspect to that. So the person who was harmed again would be like this is what would make me feel better x y and z and that would typically only happen with violent crime because oftentimes indigenous communities in my teachings go that we don't necessarily believe in the concept of personal property so food wouldn't be personal property. Land is definitely not personal property. Nothing really belongs to us anyway it belongs to the community or belongs to the land. And then what would happen is that the person who caused that harm or who committed whichever Act would say this is what I need to be better supported by the community. And if those two things were really counterproductive. For example, if someone was sexually violent. And it was like a fourth or fifth or sixth time and this person wanted this person like the the person who was harmed wanted something really extreme and the person who caused harm wanted something really extreme what the elders and the grandmothers and the clan mothers would do, is that they'll try to come to a middle ground than that and try to see if there's that process for learning, because as we know, evil people aren't born harmful people are made, and that is at least my teaching in my my experience.
And again, no one is born, no one is born a bad person but oftentimes circumstances and trauma and poverty or other causes lead us to do the things that we do. So when we talk about how we move forward and when we talk about abolition as a concept and how, as we've learned and as we know the the prison industrial complex is nothing but a harmful system that upholds capitalism colonialism and racism. How do we move forward and I think it really goes back to having that compassion for people in our community. Moving away from systems of self care and moving towards methods of community care. And something that Europeans, fear, and something that colonial states fear is that concept of community. If you look across the board at any settler colonial state or even at Colonial states period. One of the main tactics of weakening a community is breaking down that community and we even see that with the structures that we live in. For example, my people, the whole nashoni, and any on behalf of. I lived in long houses. So it wasn't like you lived in just your little home by yourself the whole community lives together, and that created that process of. It created that process of community care and that process of caring for one another, and not just this is my home with my food and my family. It's our home. And our food, and we're all a family because we all care for one another. And I think those are some of those ways in which we can start to unpack some of these ideas that punitive justice is really the way to go because as we know, again it's failing all of us it's failing the folks who are harmed, it's failing survivors, it's failing folks who cause harm, it's failing all racialized communities, the only people it's really helping is rich white people, which has kind of been the trend for Canada in the United States as we all know, but I encourage folks, as we as we move away from this conversation to think about how you can practice abolition, and how you can practice kind of indigenisation and the ways to practice justice in your own interpersonal lives because when we talk about abolition. We of course mean the prison industrial complex, but abolition also looks like moving away from punitive justice period. It looks like moving away from kancil culture, right, because we also have to recognize that even if someone says the wrong word sometimes. We are privileged to know those right words. We are privileged to have that level of education. And when we cancel people that only moves people further to the right. That being said, it's never someone's job who's harmed like if someone's anti indigenous it's not my job to be rehabilitated for that person it's an ally job. But moving away from punitive justice and our personal relationships and moving towards rehabilitative justice in our personal relationships. So maybe that looks like instead of canceling our friends that caused harm. It means bringing that person in and teaching them what they call, how they how they harmed someone, and specifically for example I know I'm at 630 so I'm going to try to wrap this point up really quick. But for example if we look at sexual violence specifically it's proven that folks who commit acts of sexual violence are actually way more likely to reoffend if they're not supported by the communities around them, and I know it can be really hard to say to support sexually violent people. That's obviously something that's never a survivors job to do. But if you're a abusers friend or survivors friend, it can and should be your job to bring that person along to make sure that harm doesn't continue because as a community. We're not looking out for other people in the community than what are we doing right we're practicing punitive justice and carceral forms of so called to justice and I say punitive justice I don't obviously mean justice in our interpersonal relationships as well so abolition starts at home. abolition starts in our friendships abolition starts in our relationships abolition starts as a framework of mind. And then we move to those bigger systems, but with that being said, I think I'm out of time. If anybody has any questions I am going to put my email in the chat and if you have any questions at all please feel free to reach out to me it doesn't need to be this week, it doesn't need to be next week, it can be three months down the road. I'm here as a resource for you. and I would love to hear from any of you. Thanks for listening to me rant at you.
Thank you so much Olson and if maybe if it's a little bit easier if you're able to stay for like 510 minutes for questions and then we can compensate you accordingly for that, because it will be extra time of yours that we're taking. Um, if there's anyone who does have a question at the moment. If you click on the participants button there should be a space for you to raise your hand if you can't navigate that feel free to just type your question into the chat or oh I see a lot of people's hands up. Okay, cool. So I'll start with a cane. If you would like or kinchen bit if you'd like to unmute yourself.
I thank you Olson so much for your presentation. I don't know the right word for it. I feel like that's not it but you get what I mean.
I work on ch ro with the morning shift I was wondering if you'd be interested in like doing an interview, and I know I can email you this but like, as Serisha said I'd like you to get paid for the time answering this question.
Yeah, absolutely, shoot me an email and we can figure out where to go from there I would I literally love to talk about abolition anytime to anyone who listened to me so 100%. Amazing. Thank you.
Um, hi Olson thank you so much for your presentation. It was really informative and I just really wonderful. My question was, what are your thoughts on like he's like current claims to just defend the police not abolish but redirect the funds to other social services like social workers.
Yeah, and that's something that I've been doing a lot of introspective thought into. And I think we also have to recognize very much like police that the origins of social work in the Western world is also rooted in white supremacy. Some of the most racist and violent interactions I've had have been with the white woman social workers. I think defunding is is a good step because it kind of starts to have those conversations at an incremental rate, because as much as I would love to just abolish the police today we know that we can't do that right because majority of society isn't in that framework of thinking yet so I think it's a good step to start redirecting funds. But I think we need to be really careful about where we're redirecting those funds to and I think it does need to be to also grassroots organizations to organizations like Pakistan, for example, so the prisoners Advocacy Network, and organizations like that that are run by and for people with incarcerated experience because social work as a can sometimes be better. It can also uphold and does uphold colonialism and white supremacy for sure. I hope that answers your question.
Thank you. So I'm just going to jump to Christina in the chat and then I'll go, I'll call on Sam whose hand is up. So Christina says, I'm just going to try and paraphrase it a little bit. I'm new to abolition and Disability Justice and working through what it looks like to challenge and push for change in policies because there's policy change that's needed, but also grassroots work that's needed. I guess the is the question Christine, maybe like what is it look like to challenge those policies, and perhaps any guidance on that, feel free to write in the chat yes okay so what does it look like to challenge those policies.
Yeah, for sure. So, my, my day job is often working in policy and most of my positions have been in policy, and they think again. Ideally we eradicate a system where policies are needed, but I think in in the in the meantime that making some of those small incremental policy changes can be really important and I think it depends on who's at the table when those policy decisions are being made. Because oftentimes we have really well meaning politicians and I say well meaning with a grain of salt because I think to be someone who even runs and upholds a colonial system, there's a little bit to be said there. But I think that starting some of those policies small can be really important to work some of that incremental change. So I think yeah some of that stuff is definitely super important and how to be effective in policy change. I could talk about for hours, but a strategy that I usually do when I'm lobbying say I work in the student movement so when I'm lobbying different university administrations for policy change is coming up with a list of demands for example for a policy and putting in some really big and absurd things that I know they won't pass, like for example when I worked at Ryerson. I was like, I want you to change the name of the university and remove the statue. I knew both of those things weren't probably going to happen but I included other demands in that list that were like implementing indigenous language courses, implementing an annual powwow and because the university was so scared of not implementing implementing those big things they kind of caved for those smaller things, and ideally in society we shouldn't have to settle for those small things, but if we keep pushing and pushing and pushing little moves and little moves that can get us to that bigger place. That being said, I would love for us to just have a revolution go burn down some police stations and and F shut up and that way, for example, but I don't think our society is at a place where it needs to be for that type of justice unfortunately to happen.
And now I'll call on Sam and then just to double check. King if your hand is still up from before if you have an additional question. Sorry I didn't know to put it back down. Oh, that's okay no worries just wanted to check. But Sam Please go ahead.
Hi, Um, yes, thank you so much for this amazing presentation. I just wanted to. I guess clarify on group homes for profit, just because it's something that's so new for me that I've never heard of that we don't really talk about, if you could elaborate a little bit more on the profit side of it and how that works. So we know what more to like advocate for and fight for. Yeah, for sure.
So in the like use care system in so called Canada. There's public and privatized group homes for example and foster homes so they're their child care agencies. So if it's publicly funded that means they have to follow Children's Aid regulations and that's its state run, essentially, if it's privatized it means that you can essentially I could go out tomorrow. And if I had the money I don't I'm broken as indigenous, but if I had the money, I could go out tomorrow and say I'm going to purchase three homes, and I'm going to run a for profit foster care system and the way that works is that the state gives you like, depending on the identity of the youth which oftentimes black and indigenous youth, the state will pay more for people to house black and indigenous youth because they're supposed to be like for extra programming but what that ends up looking like because I'm sure you can imagine, is for profit systems being very predatory, and the youth that they're choosing to take in and that kind of again plays into very similar to the American privatized prison system, where people want more people to go to jail so they can make more money it's very similar with the child welfare system. So for example the system that I was placed in was a privatized system where our foster parents would get paid $500 per week per child, and they would have a house provided for them and they would have grocery money and gas provided for them and the car, which and you don't require any type of education which I don't think you need education to be a good caregiver anyway. But it kind of opens the system, the opportunity for a lot of people to be like, Oh, this is kind of my last resort job and brings a lot of not great people into that system right because they're like oh I can make a lot of money, and I don't really need any training. And it was really interesting because I've done a lot of research into the place that I was placed with because there's a couple of lawsuits with them right now home to the love But regardless of where they advertised for foster parents in the gwelf pennysaver, and it just says that like are you over the age of 22, and do you want to make money fast, and that was how they got people in so again it's not people who actually care about the kids right and what that ends up happening is that because it's not state run, because it's not government run it's a lot less checked in on and a lot less mandated so there's a lot less policies that they need to follow. So essentially we were supposed to be getting at least like some of that $500 was supposed to go directly towards us for things like winter coats, but they would purposely like for example the one foster home that I was with only dumpster dived for our food. They only bought groceries for them. So they weren't spending any of the money on us. I didn't have a winter coat I didn't have winter boots, all of those things and like wealth as cold. Wealth gets snowy, and we didn't have any of those things because they would profit that money and because no one was checking in on us and because children's aid workers in general don't care about black and indigenous youth. They wouldn't come check in on our homes either so they didn't actually know that those are the realities in which we were living. So those are some of the dangers with the privatized system, and another way, they kind of capitalize off of that is for example, they'll be like you need to provide us money to do like arts therapy programming, our arts their pre programming was a coloring book, and they said that they provided music therapy so they're getting 1000s of dollars to do music therapy, but it was just a white dude singing really bad Drake covers on a guitar once a week. So it wasn't at all the systems and the services in which we're meant to be receiving but because it's privatized and no one's checking in on them they're able to get away with a lot of fraud. And how's black and indigenous youth can steal black and indigenous youth to make that profit and again, normally, social workers are statistically white foster parents are statistically white, because if you're racialized you're usually not approved to be a foster parent. And yeah, that gets into the politics of and the issues of interracial adoption and all of those different things. But again, I won't take up too much time. I hope that answers your question. Yes,
thank you, thank you so much.
Thank you. And so I'll call on all of and then maybe just give a last call for any questions if you have any, please put them in the chat or raise your hand so you know to call on you too so we don't take up too much extra time. And also just put their, their email in the chat as well, very graciously. So I'll go ahead.
Hi, thank you very much for educating all of us, I just quickly wanted to ask. I hope this is not too personal but if it is, don't worry about answering just how the reconciliation process was like with your family. If you did wreck, like you know, come back to live with them and and how that was like you know after being away for so long. Yeah.
No question too personal for me I'm a little bit of an open book when it comes to this stuff. Only because I feel like some of these stories are important to be shared. I did try to like I know my family I know where they live, I know all of that stuff I know who they are, I know their names. I lived with my family when I was a kid so I'm fortunate enough to kind of have some of that information with me. But my family still struggles with addiction. Too much to the point that it is not safe for me safe for me to be around them. And some of their addiction issues led them to be like very physically and sexually violent. So that unfortunately was just not a space that I was safe to go back to. And for my own mental health and for my own healing I had to distance myself from them which is obviously like a very harmful harmful thing right like how do you reconcile the impacts of colonization, while knowing it's not their fault for the behaviors in which they have while simultaneously trying to keep yourself safe. And if it was safe for me at all I could deal with everything else but I can't deal with broken bones on a regular basis and things like that, but also now that I am, I'm independent, I live by myself. Some of those different things. But I was very fortunate. This year to kind of be adopted ish by a family, we're going to the process for legal adoption right now on it is a much healthier situation for me so I still have that connection to family and very fortunate that it is not an indigenous family to hear but an indigenous Palestinian family who kind of understands those issues of settler colonialism and what that ends up looking like. But yeah, I hope that answers your question. I still talk to them, though. Oh,
Okay, thank you very much.
It looks like those are it for the questions. So thank you so much Olson for sharing so much wisdom. I think this is exactly why I started living in colors like I could never hear a conversation like this in activist spaces that are just so white, and so not catered to you I'm so I'm very grateful that you agreed to have this conversation with us and for all the wisdom that you've shared. And thank you to everybody for joining us. I've just dropped again, the link to the winter support fund if you're a racialized youth in need of support. You can request funds. There's a big disclaimer of, we don't know how much we're gonna be able to raise obviously and and so we're trying our best, but for those who have capacity to donate, and at the, at the very least if anybody is able to please share it. We have upcoming next week actually our first. Our first event on diaspora dialogues, which is a new program that we're starting, and it's all about die sports activism and what the dice for is of different communities are doing in Canada mobilizing for their ancestral lands their homelands and their communities there and we have Sherry Wong who is Hong Kong or Hong Kong and Canadian who's going to be talking about Hong Kong's democratic movement and and how they mobilize on the ground here. That's also a free event we try to make all these events, free and accessible for racialized youth in particular, so you can check that out on our website. And thank you so much for for joining. Austin I will probably send you an email in the next like 10 minutes. But thank you everybody else and have a wonderful rest of your evening.