42 posts categorized "writing"

May 12, 2011

Giving Birth to Your Activist Self: Finding Your Voice as a Mother Activist

Workshop Handout for

 

Giving Birth to Your Activist Self:

Finding Your Voice as a Mother Activist

International Conference on Motherhood Activism, Advocacy, Agency

May 13-15, 2011 - Toronto, Ontario

 

Presented by

Sharon Aschaiek and Ann Douglas

 

  • Awaken. Hear your activist voice.
  • Respond. Know what to do with that call to action.
  • Collaborate. Form meaningful connections with other activists (online and in real life) to reduce isolation and maximize your effectiveness.
  • Communicate. Connect with the public and generate media interest in your cause.
  • Lead. Achieve consensus and inspire your fellow activists to action.
  • Succeed. Learn from successful activists. Discover what takes some movements over the top?
  • Sustain. Avoid activist burnout, which zaps your energy and enthusiasm. Fuel the fire within. Self care, professional development,  and sabbaticals are ways to nurture your activist self.

 

Books

Ansell, Jeff. When the Headline is You: An Insider’s Guide to Handling the Media. Jossey-Bass, 2010.

May, Elizabeth. How to Save the World in Your Spare Time. Key Porter Books, 2007.

Moyer, Bill et al. Doing Democracy. The MAP Model for Organizing Social Movements. New Society Publishers, 2001.

Sussman, Amanda. The Art of the Possible: A Handbook for Political Activism. McCelland and Stewart, 2009.

 

Websites

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)’s Media Activist Kit

The Citizen’s Handbook: Practical Assistance for Those Who Want to Make a Difference

Campus Activism.org: Movement Action Plan by Bill Moyer

Campus Activism.org: Event Planning Worksheet

Campus Activism.org: Four Core Elements of Strategy

Campus Activism.org: Organizing: Lessons Learned

 

Useful Social Media Tools and Platforms

Appbistro:  Directory of apps for Facebook Pages.

Bit.ly: URL shortening service (useful for Twitter).

Facebook: Social media platform

Flickr: Photo-sharing community.

Klout: A measure of social media influence.

LinkedIn: Showcase your resume and connect with others.

ManageFlitter: Manage your Twitter followers/following.

Oneforty: A directory of business-oriented apps for Twitter.

Posterous: An easy way to publish to multiple channels.

Storify: Combine content, including chat tweets.

Twitter: Social media platform.

YouTube: Video-sharing.

 

Sharon Ashchaiek

Sharon Aschaiek is a mother to a five-year-old boy with autism, a professional writer and an autism services activist. Sharon leads Autism Resolution Ontario, a grassroots, non-partisan, parent-run advocacy group protesting against Ontario’s severe autism services gaps, and working to achieve appropriate treatment and social justice for kids with autism.

Ann Douglas

Ann Douglas is active in the democracy movement and the women's movement, She volunteers with Citizens Advocating Political Participation and serves on the Board of Directors of YWCA Peterborough Victoria Haliburton. She is an author and mother of four. www.anndouglas.ca and www.onewomanoneblog.com

June 11, 2010

Was It Something I Said?

My letter about proposed changes to the copyright act triggered this rather bizarre response from a member of Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro's staff:

From: DelmaD0@parl.gc.ca
Date: June 9, 2010 9:59:03 PM GMT-04:00
To: Ann Douglas
Subject: Re: Copyright - Bill C-32

Please confirm and advise it has been passed on to Dean.
Even though she is not respectful we will be.
Alan.

***

From: Ann Douglas
To: Del Mastro, Dean - Assistant 1
Sent: Thu Jun 10 09:50:19 2010
Subject: Fwd: Copyright - Bill C-32

Alan -
I think you intended your note for someone other than me.
Best regards,
- Ann Douglas

***

On 10-Jun-10, at 9:54 AM, DelmaD0@parl.gc.ca wrote:

Simply: whether a constituent constantly attacks the member or not we will serve and accept input from all.
Alan. 

***

From: Ann Douglas
Subject: Re: Copyright - Bill C-32
Date: June 10, 2010 10:07:50 AM GMT-04:00
To: DelmaD0@parl.gc.ca

I am pleased to hear that you welcome feedback from all constituents. That is what I would expect from my Member of Parliament and his staff.

Best regards,
Ann Douglas

I hope I never have to ask my MP to assist with an urgent matter affecting the well-being of my family. I have a feeling that the experience would be uncomfortable to say the least.

Related:

My Visit to MP Dean Del Mastro's Office - And What I Learned

June 09, 2010

I Write Letters: On Democracy, The Copyright Bill, and The Gun Registry

I've been in letter-writing mode over the past few days. On Saturday, I fired off this letter to the editor of The Peterborough Examiner, which appeared today:

Re: How well do you know your politicians? (Fri. June 4)

Thank you for taking the time to survey local citizens to find out how many knew the name of our MP, Mayor, Prime Minister, MPP, Premier, Federal Opposition Leader, and Provincial Opposition Leader. (The survey revealed that local citizens are far more likely to know the name of our current MP than any other local politician.)

Citizens can't make informed choices at the ballot box on election day unless they have the opportunity to get to know all candidates on the ballot. For that reason, I would like to encourage The Peterborough Examiner to challenge itself to look for new and innovative ways to extend editorial coverage to the non-incumbents at all levels of government, so we can discover what they stand for and what they have to offer our community.

I would also like to challenge The Peterborough Examiner to take things one step further by asking area citizens what they want and need from all levels of government. Too often, politicians are allowed to set the agenda and determine what issues get discussed in our media and in our communities.

We are the people. The politicians work for us and are accountable to us. The more information we can obtain about how well our politicians are doing - and what other candidates have to offer - the better choices we will be able to make each time we head to the ballot box.

The media plays such a vital role in a functioning democracy. Thank you again for this important article.

Ann Douglas

And tonight, I wrote a letter to Peterborough Riding MP Dean Del Mastro, urging him to send Bill C-32 (the much-talked about copyright bill) to committee for some further work because it doesn't adequately safeguard the work of Canadian writers.

To:  

Dean Del Mastro, MP, Peterborough Riding
Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Heritage James Moore


Dear Dean Del Mastro:

I am writing to you to express my concerns about Bill C-32, which does not adequately protect the rights of Canadian writers or other creators.

The Writers' Union of Canada and the Professional Writers Association of Canada are just two of the writers' organizations which have issued press releases expressing serious concerns about Bill C-32 since it was tabled last Thursday.

I am urging you to vote to send Bill C-32 directly to committee to study, rather than allowing the Bill to proceed to Second Reading first. The Bill will require extra committee time because there are two different departments involved -- both Heritage and Industry -- and the changes being requested by Canadian creators are likely to be considerable.

I am also concerned that Second Reading approval might limit the kinds of amendments that might be possible.

Thank you for hearing my concerns.

I look forward to hearing back from your office to confirm safe receipt of this letter.

Best regards,

Ann Douglas

cc. Deborah Windsor, Executive Director, The Writers' Union of Canada
cc. Sandy Crawley, Executive Director, The Professional Writers Association of Canada
cc. Tanya Gulliver, President, The Professional Writers Association of Canada
cc. Stuart Harrison, Manager, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce
cc. Alan Wilson, Advisor to Dean Del Mastro

I also wrote a letter to a handful of NDP MPs, (on behalf of YWCA Peterborough Victoria and Haliburton, where I serve as a member of the Board of Directors) urging these MPs to shift their vote on the gun registry:

Dear Malcolm Allen, Charlie Angus, Nathan Cullen, Claude Gravelle, Carol Hughes, Jack Layton, Jim Maloway, Peter Stoffer and Glenn Thibeault:

Did you know that long guns and rifles are used in over 70% of domestic gun homicides, deaths that have clearly declined since the long gun registry was created?

With the RCMP in charge, the registry now costs $4.1 million annually to run and police search it over 4 million times a year.

It’s time to stand with the RCMP and Canada’s police associations. Time to stand up for vulnerable women and defeat Bill C-391. Your vote can save a life. 

Please search your heart and do the right thing.

Thank you.

Ann Douglas
Board Member
YWCA Peterborough Victoria and Haliburton

Lynn Zimmer
Executive Director
YWCA Peterborough Victoria and Haliburton

Theresa Butler-Porter
President, Board of Directors
YWCA Peterborough Victoria and Haliburton

March 19, 2010

The Invisible Woman

I haven't been blogging here a lot in recent months, but my political roots have been showing over here and over here. Just thought I'd let you know I haven't gone totally AWOL. Hope to be back to posting here more regularly soon. I just need to wrap up a big project first. See you on Twitter.

January 07, 2010

Do You Think it Was the Ventriloquist Dummy Analogy That Got My Letter Spiked?

It appears that The Peterborough Examiner isn't going to publish my Letter to the Editor, so I thought I'd have my say here instead.

What kind of country has Canada become when the Prime Minister is more concerned about holding on to power at any cost than showing any type of leadership, moral or otherwise; and Conservative MPs function as ventriloquist dummies, dutifully mouthing the messages of the puppet master?

Harper must go. The opposition parties must defeat the Harper government on a motion of non-confidence at the first opportunity. They must also pull together to offer Canadians a progressive alternative at the ballot box: one that spells out a vision for Canada that transcends party lines. The problems that face Canadians globally and across the country demand visionary, collaborative problem-solving; not narrow, partisan thinking.

I urge the leaders of the opposition parties to be bold and daring. Too much is at stake for caution or inaction.

And speaking of Letters to the Editor, I thoroughly enjoyed Alissa Paxton's letter, which ran a few days ago. Some of the other letters on the subject of prorogation (specifically from the pro-prorogation camp) haven't proven nearly as link-worthy, but this one, from a fellow anti-prorogation enthusiast, made me smile. (I like a letter to demonstrate logic and/or original thought. How about you?)

Note (added Mon. Jan. 11): It turns out my letter did run in the end -- on Fri. Jan. 8. I didn't receive my usual call from the newspaper's fact-checker verifying that the letter was mine, so I was surprised to see it in print. (Perhaps they saw it here and took that as confirmation. I don't have a problem with that as long as they still go through some sort of process of verifying the authenticity of letters. If that goes, there will be total anarchy when it comes to letters to the editor.)

Related:

Suspending Parliament Puts Focus on Games: MP

January 15, 2009

Books Run in My Family: What I'll Be Talking About at Frontier College at Trent University's 9th Annual Literacy Conference, Sat. Jan. 24th

FCTU Brochure09FINAL

I'm the keynote speaker at Frontier College at Trent University's 9th Annual Literacy Conference later this month. Here's the scoop. (Be sure to tell your friends you read it here first!) The conference is being held at Peter Gzowski College at Trent University (Peterborough, Ontario) on Saturday, January 24th.

The event runs from 11 am to 4 pm and will feature a variety of guest speakers throughout the day. You can register online. Admission is FREE.

I'll be presenting from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm. I'll speaking for between 30 and 45 minutes and then answering questions for the remainder of the time.

The topic I've chosen is "Books Run in My Family" -- all about the way books and the love of reading have been passed up and down my family tree. (There are quite a few published authors in my family. I'll be talking about that, too.) If you've ever heard me speak, you already know that I have a pretty chatty style. I'm big on sharing personal anecdotes, life lessons learned (particularly anything learned through the School of Hard Knocks), practical tips and advice -- plus as many from-the-trenches author war stories as I can possibly fit in. (That's the whole reason to come out to an event like this, isn't it?)

If you do come out, be sure to ask me about my worst-ever book event (it's pretty awful) and the worst event any author ever had (it's about as bad as you can imagine -- but, thankfully, it didn't happen to me). I hope to see you on the 24th. Be sure to bring a friend or two -- or your entire book club. The more the merrier, after all.

December 29, 2008

Fabulous job in fabulous city at fabulous mag. Get paid to make fun of Stephen Harper

JeffGaulin.com: Jobs.

Here's a cool job for the right person -- a writer/editor position based in Vancouver. Adbusters is seeking someone who is a "passionate political junkie with an activist twist and several years of professional writing experience."

November 10, 2008

Building Bridges and Delivering Trains: Can Del Mastro Do It All?

"The Kelowna Accord...there is no such thing. It was nothing but a press release."
-
Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro,
newly appointed Parliamentary Secretary
to Heritage Minister James Moore


Figurineandclock It will be interesting to see how other members of the Peterborough community respond to Dean Del Mastro's appointment as Parliamentary Secretary to Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore.

We've already heard from the arts community, but cultural workers aren't the only ones who will be affected by Del Mastro's appointment.

Canadian Heritage is responsible for arts and culture, citizenship and identity, international activity (international events, international expositions, trade and investment), diversity and multiculturalism, sport, and youth. See this comprehensive A to Z index for an overview of everything this Ministry oversees. 

The Peterborough business community will no doubt be enthusiastic, looking for opportunities to benefit from trade and investment opportunities abroad.

And the sports community will be delighted to have sports being overseen by someone based in Peterborough. (Peterborough has long claimed ownership to anything related to the world of hockey, as any local can attest.)

But as for those parts of our community affected by government decisions related to diversity and multiculturalism; citizenship and identity; and youth -- they may not be quite as enthused.  Along with arts and culture, there are many parts of the Canadian Heritage file where Del Mastro has more learning and much bridge-building to do.

It sounds as if Del Mastro is going to be busy. Very busy. And yet he told the Peterborough Examiner that he won't be too busy to deliver the goods as an MP: "Ultimately I won't allow it take away the focus away from delivering the many things I have been working on for our riding."

Good thing. On top of all his new responsibilities, he still has to follow through on his promises to deliver the train, the battery plant, the Little Lake resort, and the legislation guaranteeing property rights. Etc.

No MP Left Behind

Radar Dean Del Mastro's big news wasn't the talk of Toronto, and because that's where I was this past weekend, it wasn't until this morning that I got the scoop on the second biggest news story in Peterborough: that Dean Del Mastro has been named Parliamentary Secretary to Heritage Minister James Moore. (The really big news in Peterborough these days is that Serena Ryder's second album is due out tomorrow.)

Harper certainly works in mysterious ways. It wasn't that long ago that Dean Del Mastro was at the bottom of the learning curve on this file. And now he'll be one of the key influencers.

No MP left behind.

The response from the Peterborough arts community has been less than enthusiastic, as you might expect. It seems that the only one around town who is gushing about this appointment is Del Mastro himself. Surely Del Mastro wasn't expecting much more. This is the same community, after all, that

The Peterborough Examiner's coverage of Del Mastro's appointment included these comments from ARTSPACE Executive Director Iga Janik, who generally acts as a spokesperson for the broader Peterborough arts community:

Artspace director Iga Janik expressed concern that Del Mastro is too inexperienced and not involved enough in the local artistic scene to handle the file: "I don't know how qualified he is considering I don't see him at any of the cultural institutions or events in Peterborough," Janik said. "In light of all the cuts to the arts that the Conservative government have made, Del Mastro and Mr. Harper have a big job ahead to rectify the situation."

Janik made reference to the $34 million dollars in arts funding cuts. That's how much the Conservative government cut to cultural and heritage granting programs such as the Heritage Sustainability Program, Canadian Independent Film and Video Fund and the National Training Program in the Film and Video Sector on the eve of the election. Moore has since announced the Harper government has no plans to reverse those cuts. What's more, the spin-cycle of carefully crafted political messaging about arts funding has started up again.

The strategy is consistent with what we saw before the election -- attempt to confuse Canadians by talking about the entire Canadian Heritage budget, which includes arts, culture, sports, and recreation funding -- rather than sticking to the arts funding portion of that budget when arts funding is being discussed.

Here's Del Mastro quoted in the Peterborough Examiner (November 8, 2008):

"I'm proud to say that no government in the history of Canada has put more money into the Department of Canadian Heritage than ours has, that includes direct funding of arts and culture and promotion of arts and culture in Canada."

This kind of political double-speak does not bode well for Del Mastro's relationship with members of the arts community, local or national. Why not just talk about what you've actually spent on the arts -- and just the arts -- when that's the issue on the table?

Here's the thing. Artists are a tell-it-like-it-is kind of crowd with very finely tuned spin radar. They don't have a lot of respect for double-speak and carefully crafted political messages that dance around the truth

That's why musicians, artists, writers, filmmakers, dancers, singers, songwriters,  and every other kind of cultural worker you can think of rallied behind Obama in the US election.

That's why musicians, artists, writers, filmmakers, dancers, singers, songwriters, and every other kind of cultural worker you can think of rallied against Harper in our election.

Oh yeah. One more thing. The anything-but-Conservative election strategy wasn't just about the funding cuts.

It was also about the lack of respect for Canadian artists and what we do; and Harper's inability to appreciate what Canadian culture is and what it means to Canadians. 

The good news is that artists are the cultural canaries. We're good at reading cultural, political, and social trends; and finding compelling ways to let people know that the canary is sick, dying, or in danger of being murdered by its keeper.

The canary has been being plucked of its feathers for quite some time. The canary can't go on like this much longer. Hopefully, it will only be a matter of time until the rest of Canadians decide they want something better for their country; that they can feel that sense of hope and renewal our neighbors to the south experienced last Tuesday night.

Until that happens, the artists will continue to paint, dance, film, write, and storyboard the visions of what was, what is, and what could be. Stay tuned.

Related:
Dean Del Mastro on public vs. private funding for Canadian broadcasters: Canadian Heritage Committee Meeting in June

October 24, 2008

Canadian Writers May Finally Get That Pay Raise -- For Real!

Kudos to writer and editor Derek Finkle....

...for coming up with this very creative strategy for negotiating improved fees on behalf of Canadian magazine writers -- a group who have been waiting about 30 years for an improvement to the standard $1/word magazine writing fee.