Boingboing blogs from… Halifax

Cindy Blackstock Keynote, The Pathways to Resilience III Conference, Halifax, Canada, Wednesday 17 June 2015

by Angie Hart – Boingboing blogger

Greetings blog readers. Angie here. I’m at the Resilience Research Centre’s conference in Halifax, Canada. There are loads of the Boingboing gang here too, a great mix of community practitioners, young people, academics and students. We’ve been running from session to session and my head is buzzing with the great things I’ve heard, more of which at some point for sure.

We’ve been talking a lot about our Boingboing ‘fifth wave’ resilience approach – the idea that resilience isn’t just about supporting children and families (even with the help of others in their community) to combat disadvantage in their own lives. It’s also about challenging inequalities in the first place and working to get rid of them for ever. The aspiration of beating the odds whilst also changing the odds is something we’ve signed up to as a community and people here seem to find the concept worth thinking about. Got it on my mind right now; I’ve just listened to a keynote speech by Cindy Blackstock, a seriously brave lady from the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada. Cindy started her talk by saying that she didn’t want to just help children become resilient to racism, she wanted to get rid of racism. Here, here. Cindy you are striking a real cord with us, we’re riding it with you.

I heard Cindy Blackstock speak 10 years ago and was sniffling into my hanky as I listened to her shocking exposition of inequalities in child and health service provision to First Nations children in Canada. What’s she been up to in the meantime? With the support of thousands of children and young people, she’s just taken the Canadian government to court for injustices to aboriginal children. Cindy looks at the audience and tells us that her mentor gave her some advice which I just love – ‘don’t fall too much in love with your own organisation. And don’t fall in love with your own business card, as you might have to give them both up in the end to fight for your children.’

Cripes she’s brave. She ended up losing all her funding after filing that law suit against the Canadian government. Cindy tells us that the Canadian government has a ton of money to fight the case, and Cindy’s only got a bit. But she doesn’t seem to care. And it sounds like she’s winning anyway. How Boingboing is that? Amazing woman. I see what she means. Better put my business card back in my bag and sign up to her fnwitness campaign. To find out what this is, check her out on twitter @Caringsociety and on the web at www.fncaringsociety.com.