Are we bringing people together or pushing them farther apart? For every move we make towards breaking down barriers -- eliminating choice based on age, gender, sexual orientation or cultural dissent -- do we put another wall up?
The answer to all of these questions is yes.
On a grassroots, human-to-human level, we are trying to make change individually in our communities and in areas of our lives we can impact. Yet, for all the progress we have made in our communities, progress at a higher level often seems stalled.
Formality, policy and bureaucracy seem to drive the divide. Separating people into cultural communities as well as gender and sexuality-based groupings.
Over the weekend, two people with big ideas and aspirations - Justin Fenton and Kyle Vandermey - brought communities across Halifax together in the Four Nations Celebration of Talent. The event was planned to celebrate diversity and unite communities, allowing people to be themselves. The free program showcased spoken word, a variety of musicians and DJs spinning beats.
The organizers had food from a wide variety of cultures available to attendees, collected food for the food bank, and provided canvases for area artists to display their craft. It brought people of all backgrounds, income brackets, and ages together to forget about all the things that separate them, and focus on all the things that can unite them.
So while on the individual level, people are trying to eliminate differences, on a larger level, we are still fighting to be the same.
On the other coast of Canada, a group of female ski jumpers are fighting for that same consideration. They are asking for someone to give them the same rights as their male counterparts. Imagine spending years developing your skills, only to find yourself unable to compete in your sport at the highest level of competition because someone has decided the female version of the sport isn’t viable at an Olympic Games.
As Canadians, shouldn’t we be pushing to achieve more equality and diversity at our Games? Can we be the first completely equal Games? We don’t have far to go, there are currently only two sports lacking a female competition: ski jumping and Nordic combined, which has an element of ski jumping in its criteria. Isn’t it time that we lead instead of follow?
As Canadians, we need to keep doing what we do best, invite people into our lives and our communities based on their morals, values, needs and desires -- regardless of their background. We also need to push our representatives in government, our city and province to embrace these same ideals when they make decisions.
Christina Biluk is a member of FUSION Halifax. Visit fusionhalifax.ca to find out how you can get involved to help make Halifax a better place to live, work and play.