Upon the cream surface racial slurs and swastikas surrounded the home. “Pakis Go Home” were the words that will never leave my mind.
I was seven and it was the late 80’s in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. At first I thought, “how stupid of these people, we are Indian, not Pakistani.” I could feel my dad’s shame. It crawled onto my skin and became my own. It wasn't until over a decade later that I began to understand how this moment had shaped my life. There would be countless moments of similar effect where I was offered a stark reminder of how my family, my skin, “my people” did not belong. Perhaps because of all of these moments I am called to seek justice and healing.
In the past 10 years I have engaged in anti-violence, anti-racist and anti-capitalist organizing that has now converged into a practice of decolonization. These are the perspectives that I bring to my political organizing and paid-work. It is through this lens of decolonization that I am able to examine institutional oppression, and how it manifests in all relationships, both personal and professional.
Over the past decade I have worked in a professional capacity as a clinical coordinator for an Assertive Community Treatment Team, as a support worker for survivors of sexual assault, as a researcher using Participatory Action Research methods, with survival sex trade workers in Vancouver, as a support worker to marginalized groups in the Downtown Eastside, with at-risk youth of colour and with migrants and refugees. In doing this work and through my studies I have come to recognize how institutional violence can replicate itself in service provision and in organizing contexts, especially if our work is not rooted in a strong commitment to social justice and anti-oppressive practices.
For me, the personal is political and I feel compelled to understand the ways that I have internalized dominance. I also seek to understand how I may, unintentionally, engage with the world in ways that oppress others. Stemming from my commitment to justice I strive to transform my own personal and professional relationships while engaging in larger systems change.
This is why I was drawn to the work of the Inner Activist. I believe there need to be more spaces for individuals to engage in personal reflection and transformation in order to better serve our social change movements. I believe we first need to reflect and heal in order to understand what really needs to change. I see that creating safe and healing spaces is the essential first step towards lasting social transformation.
What inspires me about the Inner Activist is that we are creating an opportunity for individuals to better understand how we are connected to the larger system. From there we can look at how we are connected to this structure and how can we transform ourselves as a first site for change. I often ask myself, how can I be in alignment with my values so that my actions are a reflection of the change I hope to see? I feel hopeful that the space created through Inner Activist courses we can help us strengthen our movements and build powerful relationships that fight for dignity, justice and hope.
I am excited and honoured to be working with a powerful group of change makers, facilitators, organizers and friends at the Inner Activist. I look forward to engaging in personal transformation and growth in order to strengthen my vision and actions for social change.
Check out more about inner activist courses here or email me!