Stephen Thomas Ltd and its Green Team take to the streets, Toronto has a few less cigarette butts on the ground.
October 1st, 2017. I turned 27, naturally I decided it would be a great idea to throw my body out of a plane. Or more accurately, I decided it would be a great idea to voluntarily be pushed out of plane while strapped to a man with a parachute. I digress.
I’ve never been a thrill seeker or an adrenaline junkie, but I have to admit it did make for a few good photos.
As I shared these photos on Facebook this past week, I realized that my decision to partake in such an extreme sport may have seemed impulsive and out of the blue for most people that know me. Rest assured it wasn’t. Skydiving is something that I had been thinking about, and it was something I had silently put on my To-Do list several years ago.
You may be interested in the following supplementary statistics:
- You are 24 times more likely to die in a car accident than while skydiving.
- The number of skydiving fatalities in Canada averages 1-2 a year, this number has been consistent since 1996.
- In Canada, the last tandem passenger fatality occurred in 1991. It’s been 26 years.
So there you have it. Skydiving is relatively safe in comparison to driving a car. My own instructor, Oleg, had completed this jump over 10,000 times. The odds were in my favour.
But you may be wondering why. This is a little harder for me to explain, but it was a combination of the below:
- It’s important to face your fears. I don’t necessarily believe exposure rids you of them, but facing your fears is empowering. Up next is to face my fear of water.
- I partially did it for the experience. You really do only live once.
- I’m an anxious person. My anxiety has been getting the better of me lately, so I needed to do something to regain control.
- In the end, I did it because I can, so I did.
So there you have it, my eff you to my human condition. Happy birthday to me. Be bold. Be brave. Here’s to the next 27.
I was originally introduced to this book through a workplace training session about Unconscious Bias. The training session introduced forms of bias (read as racism, sexism, ageism, etc.) that lead to stereotyping, which further led into a discussion about how these biases affect behaviour and expectations of behaviour – at work and outside of it. While quite often I find that training sessions on these heavy, not-openly-talked-about-or-admitted, topics are usually basic and serve more as introductory sessions, I still find myself compelled to share.
I’ve been to a number of professional development sessions – some useful, some not. (One I attended, at a different workplace, informed me how to match my stockings with my skirt. The course was aptly titled “Developing a Professional Presence.” No thank you.) This session on biases, however, definitely has real world implications.
As a QPOC, any topic that admits to racial and gender discrimination has my attention. It’s easy to place blame and succumb to the practice of “othering,” but Blindspot takes a different route. The authors, Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony Greenwald, invite readers to test themselves by taking implicit-association tests (IAT) that measure our automatic associations. Of interest is the fact that often our IAT results reveal the opposite of the values we consciously have. Our explicit responses are often at ends with our implicit actions. Despite having egalitarian beliefs, many people still hold the automatic response of white/Caucasian=good and black/dark-skinned=bad.
I invite you to try some of the tests yourself, you may be surprised:
So what does it mean? First of all, it means that everyone’s a little bit racist (and that’s not okay). Despite our apparent progress in the realm of equal rights, we still have much work to do as a society.
Secondly, we need to acknowledge that progress has been made. And change is possible.
Third, it will take continuous conscious effort on our part to effect and maintain that change.
So, happy change-making, friends.
As the Oscar’s Best Picture kerfuffle wrapped up awards season last week, I thought I’d share this curated list of short films I put together for my previous workplace’s Diversity Month.
Each week for the month of June, we featured different films or videos focusing on the theme of embracing diversity. My goal was to raise awareness of the challenges faced by different groups including, but not limited to, people of colour, LGBT+ communities, and Canada's Aboriginal peoples.
The list below features the films I selected showcasing the challenges of people who are differently-abled. Please click through to view the film.