Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I want to go back to Vegas

Weather took a nasty turn last night. Short windy run today. Because of my busy schedule I only ran a little over 2 miles (406.5 miles) . What a change from the sun and heat in Las Vegas. I want to go back and return only when there will be NO MORE SNOW!

Skender and I attended the Rebels With A Cause awards ceremony and fundraiser tonight hosted by the Elizabeth Fry Society. It was a wonderful event that honored five inspiring women. Hearing about their struggles for social justice only reinforced what I already knew, Saskatchewan is home to many strong, talented and "rebel" women.  These women spend their lives fighting for the rights of all women, but particularly those women living on the margins of society. It is easy with all life's distractions to avoid participating in this kind of work, let alone dedicating ones life to the struggle. It was very cool to see this dedication and good work honored.

Skender and I got a bit carried away at the silent auction and ended up with a two night stay at the West Edmonton Travel Lodge, a DVD of Legends of the Fall signed by Tantoo Cardinal, theatre tickets, a couple pillows, 3 teddy bears and a soft cuddly blanket. The prizes were actually in 4 prize packages so we are really not the crazy bidders we may appear to be. It was fun and for a very important cause. 

Violet Naytowhow and her brother Joe (a friend of our little family) sang two beautiful songs, one coming out of a very innovative research project that put the voices of women from a research study into a song. Colleagues and friends of mine, Colleen Dell, Sharon Acouse and Jenny Gardipy are behind a lot of this good work. It is innovative and important research that privileges the voices of marginalized women so we can learn from them what they need to improve their lives.
A speaker from the Elizabeth Fry Society told us of the challenges that Canadian women who serve jail and prison time face. Sadly many of the crimes they commit are related to their impoverished lives, domestic and street violence they experience, and to a chronic lack of stability and security in their lives that most often begins in their childhood.  While we are commonly quick to judge those who commit crimes, most crimes committed by women are not violent crimes but crimes that are the direct result of social disparities. Even when the crimes are violent, they are often acts committed against partners who have abused the woman over long periods of time.

Pictures are of Skender with his very cool look, all his own. He loves Burack Obama and hats. Other photos are of folks from Arts and Science at the University of Saskatchewan. We were generously hosted last night by the Dean of Arts and Science, Jo-Anne Dillion and Associate Dean (Social Sciences), Harley Dickinson. The last two photo are of Jenny Gardipy, her partner and Donna Gamble (an amazing woman who has come and spoke to my students about addictions, social justice and Aboriginal women's rights), and of Skender with Tantoo Cardinal. 

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