Brave Spaces: White Privilege

As a continuation of the first Brave Spaces session held in October, we continue to explore the existence of racism, this time with a focus on white privilege. 

Attendees will have an opportunity to ask panelists questions at the end of the session.

Questions we'll explore in the session:

  • What is white privilege?
  • What can we do as individuals and a College to raise awareness and keep alive conversations about racial tensions that move us closer to “living” diversity, equity, and inclusion?

Panel members:

  • Margaret Hearnden grew up in a small village in the north of England, where anyone whose family had not lived in the area for decades (including Margaret’s) were considered ‘foreign’ and ‘outsiders.’ Through living in London (UK), then travelling around the world after graduation, spending three years living in Japan, followed by 7 years working and studying in Toronto, she came to a very different understanding of diversity and also what it means to be white.  For the last 8 years she has been lucky enough to call Vancouver Island her home, working as the Global Learning Facilitator for NIC. She continues her life education on a daily basis.
  • Daruna Jean was born in Haiti and raised in the Dominican Republic and currently lives on Denman Island. Daruna is a former NIC Tourism student, and describes herself as determined, passionate and hard working. She stands strong against social injustice, inequality and follows her heart, morals and beliefs. She’s currently working multiple jobs in the Tourism & hospitality management field but has much bigger dreams for the future which includes continuing her education.
  • Mike Martin was born and raised on the West Coast of Vancouver Island in the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation.  Mike spent his younger years growing up in the community of Opitsaht.  Located directly across the harbor from Tofino, Opitsaht is the longest continually inhabited location in North America, with the Tla-o-qui-aht people living in this exact location for over 10,000 years.  Mike comes from a large family of traditional knowledge holders and is, himself, a skilled carver of traditional canoes and paddles. Mike spent his early life as a commercial fisherman and has been a member of the RCMP for the past 20 years.  He is currently stationed in Campbell River in the Indigenous Policing Services section.
  • Laurie Michaud grew up in the traditional and unceded territory of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.  Laurie is the Associate Dean of the Faculty of Health and Human Services at North Island College and has been a nurse for the past 21 years.  Laurie is currently in the process of completing a Doctoral degree, through Western University, with a research focus on fostering authentic antiracism allyship within organizations.  A particular area of focus in Laurie’s research is considering the unique reconciliatory context and responsibilities of organizations that have historically participated in the oppression of BIPOC individuals.
  • Bill Parkinson is a 15 year NIC employee and in that time he has taken on several different roles and responsibilities in both faculty and administrative positions.  He is currently the Interim Director of Enrolment Planning and he is striving to become a more conscious human being, more aware of his privileges and potential unconscious biases.
  • Mackai Sharp is an artist, advocate and high school student living in the Comox Valley - “Visual arts quickly made its way to the forefront of my life as a way of expressing myself and showcasing my perspective. I strive to capture authenticity and vulnerability in my art. I started taking portraits of my friends during high school and it has since evolved into why I wake up in the morning; to tell stories”.



What is a Brave Space?

brave space is a place to come together to have healthy yet challenging dialogue around important issues facing students and global citizens today A brave space is a place for the respectful sharing of thoughts so we can all gain a better understanding of each other’s perspectives, encourage critical thinking, and to learn from each other.