To be seen and heard – a fundamental human right. If your privilege has given you the luxury of never having to think of being bypassed on either – know, not everyone has the privilege.
Thanks to the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB), the Wood Buffalo Community Foundation (WBCF), and The Fort McMurray International Airport – I See You: Sawubona Exhibit is coming to Fort McMurray on November 14 through November 28.
A “powerful storytelling tool that includes a collection of video stories of individuals who have lived experience of discrimination based on their socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, religion, race, disability and other grounds of discrimination,” the exhibition is a revelation. Sawubona is a Zulu word which means “I See You.”
The community is invited on November 16, coinciding with the International Day of Tolerance, to not only view the exhibit, but for the Vital Conversation: Supports for Immigrants and Newcomers event at the Airport – from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Arrivals level. Both events are free.
“The RMWB will start the event off with a proclamation to recognize the International Day of Tolerance and introduce the I See You: Sawubona exhibit. It will be followed by The Vital Conversation, facilitated by WBCF board member, Dr. Sandra Efu. Our goal is to bring people and organizations together to start a conversation on what is going well and start the discussion on where the gaps may be.”
“Funding for the event came about from the Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo Ukrainian Support Fund and the collaborative work the WBCF has undertaken to flow this funding to Ukrainian families making Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo home,” explains Gaylene Weidlich. Executive Director, WBCF, which is the “hub between donors and local social profits. We steward over $5 million in endowment funds and every year provide a variety of granting opportunities to local social profits.”
Weidlich has been with the WBCF since May, 2020 and became the executive director in September, 2020.
Angie Goredema, RMWB Social Planner adds:
“The I See You: Sawubona exhibit has been showcased at different events and conferences in Fort McMurray and some rural communities. Its grand appearance was at MacDonald Island Park in 2019. It also travelled to other cities around the province. It’s been to Edmonton, Medicine Hat and this year Red Deer hosted the exhibit for the past two months.”
“The exhibition is happening to raise awareness on issues of concern and to create a path defined by conversation and social cohesion. We are expecting community leaders, community organizations and residents from diverse backgrounds, therefore, attendees can look forward to meaningful and inspiring interactions. The exhibit is made up of many pieces including life sized portraits, quotes and iPads that allow exhibition visitors to see through someone else’s eyes by watching and listening to videos of survivors sharing their realities. The stories that are shared are not only impactful, but they are significant because they represent voices from our region.”
Denean Robinson, CFO and Interim President & CEO, Fort McMurray Airport Authority says:
“We are excited to host our partners and friends at YMM on November 16. As a gateway to Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo, members of Team YMM are often the first to greet newcomers and immigrants arriving in our region, so it’s a great fit for us to host the International Day for Tolerance proclamation. We look forward to continued collaborative work, to identify new opportunities to showcase our region’s diversity and promote inclusion.”
Light refreshments will be served. Please contact WBCF if you need transportation to the event. Parking for this event is free. More information on the WBCF can be found at www.wbcfoundation.ca
About the author
Kiran is a national award-winning communications specialist, freelance journalist, and social media consultant. She loves telling community stories, and is a strong advocate for inclusion, diversity, women’s rights, and multiculturalism. Got story ideas? Contact her via Twitter: @KiranMK0822.