One of the activities that people participated in during the June General Meeting was tracing their hands and then decorating those hands with images or words that emerged for people out of the guest speaker’s address and the small group discussions. People were also asked to reflect on what they had to creatively offer to community.
Below is a link to a short powerpoint of some hands people created.
As part of the plenary session, participants were invited to add the fruits of their hand to the TCDI tree. The roots signified strengthening TCDI. The trunk embodied TCDI communication such as the newsletter or website. The branches held possible projects for TCDI such as community education workshops in local communities.
Community worker by profession, drummer by vocation and artist by compulsion
Nation began by recognizing the sacred nature of coming into space where we were there to open a dialogue and inspire ourselves to action. He teased us with the line “When I was 20 something happened to change my life” and continued with that promise of yummy-ness throughout our time together.
Nation engaged us in a highly participatory talk. He guided us to experience how art opens a space where we can create harmony between seemingly disparate discourses. Simply put he divided us into two groups. He set up one group with a rhythm to be clapped out and then gave a completely different rhythm to the other group. No, that was not enough. He also changed each group to different patterns. After a few more changes, he joined in with some drum beats on a instrument borrowed from Yahya. Brilliant way to have us experience a theory of how art becomes change.
He shared examples of exciting and transformative opportunities that he has been a part of bringing into fruition through his work at United Way Toronto. In particular he spoke of 14 youth who came in with an idea and received $10 000 and support to guide their project. He spoke of the difference it makes in the lives of youth living on the margins to have someone say I believe in you. He spoke of the significance of having youth build their own sense of agency through learning and acting instead of having professional experts define the real problem and craft a solution. He spoke of the necessity to create opportunities where youth can walk through the door and find a chance to become themselves.
He ended by sharing a story of himself as a young man. He shared how walking through the doors of Dixon Hall provided him with creative opportunities that made it possible for him to be standing in front of us as the Director of Youth Initiatives at United Way Toronto. A chance to teach drumming to other youth, an opportunity to paint banners for Growing Up Healthy Downtown’s eight partner agencies, and a program manager who believed in his creative potential open up a different future for him.
Nation leaves us with the challenge of opening up worlds for each other.
You can download the full flyer using this link: General Members Meeting flyer