Students came together today for an incredible workshop on resisting colonialism. As 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of colonialism and genocide on Turtle Island, our student movement is responding to the celebration of 150 years of the Confederation by highlighting the importance of social movements that challenge racism, xenophobia and colonialism. We had the opportunity to have six speakers for this workshop who span from different generations of student organizing. They reflected on their experiences in the Canadian Federation of Students and how that role inspired them to build social movements to affect change in their own communities.
Chris Parsons presented on conversations necessary to mobilize the student movement, Heather O’Watch talked about Indigenous resistance to colonialism, Sandy Hudson presented on Black student experiences on campus, Nour Alideeb talked about the Muslim community’s experience with Islamophobia, Liz Carlyle presented on the history of the International Union of Students, and Sophia Descalzi addressed the issue of discrimination that international students face on Canadian campuses.
The Resist 150 workshop was followed by a presentation by staff members of the Canadian Federation of Students on services offered to members. Student members have access to services such as the Ethical Purchasing Network, the International Student Identity Card, and Digital Services.
On the second and third days of the general meeting, the budget committee, organisational services and development committee, policy review and development committee and the campaigns and government relations forum meet and produce a report and proposals, which will be presented at closing plenary.
During the course of the meeting, delegates participate in caucuses and constituency groups. The current caucuses of the Federation include College and Institute Associations, Large Institute Associations, Small University Associations, the Circle of First Nations, Métis and Inuit Students, and National Graduate Caucus.
To promote the diverse needs and interests of students, the Canadian Federation of Students includes constituency-based representation for student artists, students with disabilities, francophone students, international students, part-time and mature students, queer students, racialized students, trans students and women. Provincial components and regions also meet throughout the general meeting. In these spaces, student representatives from coast to coast come together under common characteristics and identities to learn from each other, discuss the business of the meeting and plan for the future of the movement.