As we digest the tragic, racist, deplorable events that have occurred over the past several days, namely Trump’s recent immigration bans and the terrorist attack at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec that took six lives, we have been trying to situate ourselves and Overlap to better understand the role we play in all of this. Sometimes we like to be smug and pat ourselves on the back for our strong liberal values and our acceptance and appreciation for diversity in Canada, but Sunday’s terrorist attack shows us we have a long way to go before those values ring true for all Canadians. We have work to do.
At Overlap, we believe that better is absolutely possible—it’s a vision we hold onto tightly. On Monday, we cohosted a Design Lab with kids and parents in Ottawa where we asked them what the year 2030 should be like in Canada. Kids imagined a future where they have fun, they’re excited about their many opportunities to learn, they have jobs to support themselves, and they have robot dogs. They designed a robot that teaches French and English to kids who are new to Canada; they designed self-driving, flying cars that protect kids from road accidents; and they imagined a robot that would help get rid of air pollution. Those kids are excited about their 2030 and they already know how they want the future to be better.
Our growing and changing nation needs leaders to start building that better future now. Noam Chomsky says that “optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so.” Especially to my fellow business-leaders out there—we are just that: leaders. We hold more power than we sometimes realize, and it’s important to use that for good when we can. Below are a few things we hope you’ll join us in doing to bring us to a better future.
…to the families of the six men who were killed at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec. Below are two ways you can donate:
2. WRITE TO YOUR MP
- In Canada, we have something called a “Safe Third Country Agreement”, which prevents us from accepting refugees who are turned away from the United States. Read more on that here.
- Canada also has a “Designated Countries of Origin” list that prevents American citizens (along with citizens from over 40 other countries) to claim asylum in Canada. This was deemed discriminatory in 2015 by the Federal Courts but remains in effect.
- Find out who your MP is here
3. ENDORSE ONGOING INITIATIVES THAT STAND UP FOR THE RIGHTS OF MARGINALIZED GROUPS
- The National Council of Muslims has drafted a sophisticated Charter for Inclusive Communities.
Sign the charter as an organization or an individual and share with your networks to draw attention to Islamophobia and commit to building more incluse communities together.
- Sign a petition here demanding to rescind the Safe Third Country Agreement and allow consideration for humanitarian and compassionate reasons for entry to Canada.
4. VOLUNTEER FOR OR DONATE MONEY TO A LOCAL ORGANIZATION THAT WORKS WITH REFUGEES
It’s especially helpful when the organization is run by people of the same faith-group and same cultural background as those they are supporting.
- The Federal Government provides information to help you do so on their website here.
- A few organizations that do fantastic work with refugees in the Kitchener-Waterloo area include:
5. TAKE PREVENTATIVE MEASURES
- Build bridges by participating in local events hosted by local organizations representing minorities (see above).
- If you are a leader of an organization or corporation, create and implement an action plan like this one from JFK Law Corporation to foster a safe, healthy, and diverse space inside and outside of your offices.
6. Share what you’re doing with others to drive action
- Show your friends and family what they can do to support their Muslim community and the broader refugee community by sharing what you’re doing and asking them to join you. Please comment below if you have ideas we haven’t included here and share your ideas and actions on social media.
At Overlap, we strongly believe that diversity is an incredible asset, and we structure our workshops, facilitations, and research projects to harness the diversity of perspectives in organizations. But diversity can only be a strength when we can all feel safe and proud in our differences…
|Brock Hart||Lisa Grogan|
|CEO||President and CRO|