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Hana Shafi

Ryerson Journalism graduate (2015)


Black and white photo of Hana Shafi wearing a scarf with short hair and hoop earrings
Photo by Nakosi Hunter.

"I think that solidarity is, it's a combination between listening and acting. A big part of solidarity is listening to the stories of others, just because a lot of people, they wanna talk and they wanna put their 2 cents out there, but solidarity is also like, listening to what others have to say and hearing how they define their experiences and not how you define it for them. The second part of solidarity is action. What will you do in order to show your solidarity? And there's a lot of things people can do. Whether that's showing up at rallies or donating money or trading content, that expresses solidarity. For me, a big part of my solidarity is creating content that shows my support and that shows visibility. In particular, in my affirmation series, I tried to create very diverse images to show lots of people in my affirmation because there's just so much affirmation artwork and positivity artwork thats just like, white, straight, able-bodied. So, I try to show different types of people and different types of bodies, to show that healing is not just for one person or the other, that it's for everyone and that it looks different for everyone. Part of the actions that I take to express and demonstrate my solidarity is in creating work that is acceptable to people and that where they can see themselves reflected in it. And also just to be someone who listens and who supports artists of other backgrounds who are doing really important work and helping to support them."

Sarah Dennis

Second year Anishinaabe social work student

A close up of Sarah Dennis, a second year Anishinaabe social work student
Photo by Nakosi Hunter.

“I guess what I walked away with, and I’m still feeling like, you know, I’m here, right, and I’ll still be involved in doing work that creates change and, you know, continuing to hold our president’s office accountable for the promises that they made, the agreements that they made, for both Indigenous Students Rising and the Black Liberation Collective. Also, I just want, you know, to see faculty and students doing work to create a relationship with Indigenous community. And I really think it’s important to always remember that, and I’m so grateful for the community and space that we do have here. I think that RASS (Ryerson Aboriginal Student Services) is like the best place ever, the AEC (Aboriginal Education Council) doesn’t exist anywhere else in any other institution, and the work that folks are doing is, it’s heavy, it’s a huge load, and I want to see everybody pitching in and doing their share because that is what our Dish With One Spoon talks about and I’m just so happy that I get to be a part of it…”

(from Truth and Reconciliation Across Campus panel discussion)

Susanne Nyaga

First Black woman president of the Ryerson Students' Union

A close up of Susanne Nyaga with a big smile
Photo by Alanna Rizza.

"With all activism work there is also an important aspect of intersectionality. This is to realize that some individuals may share identities but we also differ in the identities we share. I cannot access the feminist movement if it does not hold space for Black women. Trans women cannot access the feminist movement if we do not take off the pink "pussy" hate and realize that women have different bodies. Muslim women cannot access the feminist movement if we do not realize that we all have the right to choose what we want to wear and there is no room for shaming those who dress with modesty or wear a hijab. Women living with disabilities cannot access the feminist movement if we do not make our actions accessible. Women with a lower socioeconomic status cannot access the feminist movement if we do not address classism experienced by femme bodies. Intersectionality strengthens our movement, it adds voices and ensure that we are inclusive of ALL women. It allows us to expand the definition of women and refuses the patriarchy from dividing our movement."

Victoria Anderson-Gardner

Indigenous female filmmaker and activist

A close up of Victoria Anderson-Gardner with a moody lighting
Photo by Nakosi Hunter.

"We had like weekly meetings, and I was already really interested in sharing the story somehow or getting involved because I wanted to do something because when I originally saw videos of Standing Rock from like online I really wanted to go to Standing Rock to be with them, but I just couldn’t with school and work, and so with this opportunity revealing itself, it really sparked something in me. We started developing the idea more, and then we decided it would be a good idea to have the youth share their actual experiences with the public, and then also just to be a part of the documentary as well. So we started organizing for the film and also the event, so that was a lot happening for me, because I had never organized an event like that before. But so, we kind of based the idea for the film around sharing their stories and the most important thing for me to show was like the youth who were doing everything. It was their stories that were important, and that it’s important to keep these stories in the media just to keep the conversation going. A lot of it is along the lines of decolonization, because the actual, it was important to what they were doing in regards for like resisting against the pipeline, but it also represented a whole lot more than just the pipeline. One of their things was “existence through resistance”, so it’s kind of just going down the lines of decolonization as a whole. Kind of, I guess the main overall theme of the film was to profile the effects that settler colonialism and to encourage Indigenous resurgence."

(on her documentary about youth experiences at Standing Rock)

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