Intersectionality: This word describes how oppressive institutions are interconnected and cannot be examined separately. These institutions include racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, classism. Not acknowledging the intersectionality of one issue and another promotes ignorance and unintentionally adds to the issues facing those who are oppressed by multiple issues. Links like feminism and racism must be addressed as an intersectionality or else you may be called out for being a white-washed feminist who doesn’t acknowledge their privilege. Connections like these are important to understand like the connection between race and class. Looking from historical context many People of Colour have been enslaved, forced onto reservations, segregated from the rest of society. When you can understand the historical context and present barriers People of Colour have with regards to class. You can see the intersectionality. 

Sustainability: The United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) in its 1987 report Our Common Future defines sustainable development: “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Sustainable practices are integral to a sustainable future for people and the planet. People and companies don’t always see how truly important it is to reduce our impact on the world and ensure that products are being created while protecting the human rights of the workers.

Minimalism: In a world focused on consumerism and dreams that include more and more stuff there is something missing. Why are we so focused on this dream instead of living within our means. We can easily live with a fraction of the space we live in, and with a fraction of the clothing we own. A new trend that is starting are tiny homes, which are homes with a significantly low amount of square feet, usually 400 square feet or less. These homes are very affordable and can be brought with you as you move. If you’re not sold on giving up on space as most wouldn’t want to, a conscious choice to practice minimalism in parting ways with stuff that is not necessary in your life. This has helped people have more freedom in their lives and feel more fulfilled with their lives. You can read more about minimalism here

Empowerment: It means to provide the means for someone to make autonomous decisions without barriers in the way. We often talk about empowerment in regards to women. When we talk about female empowerment, it involves respecting human rights of women in the workplace and other situations, providing the necessary tools for women to be financially independent (not accessible for some), equal pay for women and men, and promoting women to go to school and become professionals. However, empowerment is not solely connected to women as other marginalized groups need to be empowered, many of whom are women and belong to other marginalized groups. 

Unapologetic: Do not apologize for what you stand for, where many people are ignorant to issues. People who are aware and educated on topics who share their opinions and are looked at as ‘radicals’, ‘bitches’. You are valid and your views are valid. Don’t let oppressors bring you down. Also unapologetic can mean being unapologetic about yourself. You are valid as a person in your entire entity with ever contradiction and every facet of your being. Don’t ever apologize for being you or for standing up for the rights of people of colour, women, LGBTQ, different religions, disabled, and other marginalized groups in society.

Decolonization: This can be described as the undoing of colonialism, where a nation establishes and maintains its domination over dependent territories.” (Wikipedia) Reservations in the United States and Canada can often be compared to conditions that replicate developing countries. Even if these reservations are located in a well-developed country like Canada. This is an impact of colonialism, and we need to acknowledge how people who are non-native are positively impacted by colonialism. This video describes important steps for decolonization.

Privilege: As people need to acknowledge the marginalized in society, we need to acknowledge our privilege. This video gives a solid definition of privilege and how others have more privilege than others (Good for people who don’t know a lot about the term). Check it out

Indigenous Rights: To sum it up here is a solid definition of indigenous rights “Because each First Nation has historically functioned as a distinct society, there is no one official overarching Indigenous definition of what these rights are. Although these specific rights may vary between Aboriginal groups, in general they include rights to the land, rights to subsistence resources and activities, the right to self-determination and self-government, and the right to practice one’s own culture and customs including language and religion. Aboriginal rights have not been granted from external sources but are a result of Aboriginal peoples’ own occupation of their home territories as well as their ongoing social structures and political and legal systems. As such, Aboriginal rights are separate from rights afforded to non-Aboriginal Canadian citizens under Canadian common law.” (University of British Columbia) As a result of the COP21 in Paris, countries have acknowledged Indigenous rights but have not signed a legally binding agreement. Here are a couple of good articles I found on the proceedings and its affects on Indigenous peoples.

Living Without Water: Contamination Nation

What the Paris Climate Agreement Means for Indigenous Rights and Hydroelectric Dams

We Spoke to the Indigenous Protester Who Called the Paris Climate Conference on Its Bullshit

Binary Genders: In english you call someone a ‘he’ if they are a boy and a ‘she’ if they are a girl. What if you don’t fit into the binary norm? You might be somewhere in the middle or not on this scale of femininity at one end and masculinity at the other. Whatever you identify as, there shouldn’t be all this pressure to be this or that. Sure you have a dick or vagina or you weren’t born in this binary but that shouldn’t define things about you like what your interests are, who you love, and etc. In some languages these types of gender pronouns don’t even exist. Although language plays a significantly smaller part than cultural gender norms it can still affect the self and the way others perceive you. Here is a quick read on non-binary pronouns:

Beyond ‘he’ and ‘she’: The rise of non-binary pronouns