Copyright © 2021 Federation of Students, University of Waterloo operating as Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association
Xchanges: RAISE’s First Annual Conference
Xchanges: The Complexities of Intersections, Racial Advocacy for Inclusion, Solidarity, and Equity (RAISE)'s first annual conference, opened up discussion on intersectionality and race among students on campus on March 23.
“Intersectionality is important to consider within every field of study, and we are trying to emulate this within out workshop offerings and keynote addresses at Xchanges,” said RAISE Advocacy Director Ethan Candler. “Engaging with these ideas of power structures, and bringing the knowledge of brilliant scholars into our everyday lives, we can use an intersectional lens to analyze everything we do in hopes of creating an equitable campus.”
Intersectionality is a concept that applies the unique and diverse experiences of people with different identities to work done in every field. For example, when considering the experiences of women, it is important to take race into account as well, since women of different races can have very different experiences.
“It's crucial to first understand the ways intersectionality impacts the lives of marginalized folks before trying to create a campus/institution that's equitable and inclusive to all students,” said Candler.
The event featured two keynote speakers: Kitchener Centre MPP Laura Mae Lindo, who is also the NDP Anti-Racism and Citizenship and Immigration critic, along with University of Waterloo Cognitive Neuroscience PhD student Robin Mazumder.
In addition, participants attended up to three workshop sessions where experts in a variety of fields such as politics, urban planning, activism, education, and health hosted talks on topics related to the main theme of the conference.
“I hope attendees of Xchanges are able to learn, share, and then create change in their own lives that works to address racism and xenophobia on campus and further,” said Candler. “Knowing that events like Xchanges, and all the work RAISE does, will leave lasting impacts on our campus that make the lives of future students better is the whole reason for doing this.”