Transcript: Activism, Allyship and Making Change | Oct 31, 2017

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and striped red and pink tie.

A caption on screen reads "Activism, allyship, and making change. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says PROTEST MOVEMENTS,
RALLIES AND DEMONSTRATIONS,
SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGNS.
THE MOOD OF THE CURRENT ERA IS
THICK WITH ACTIVISM, BUT THERE
IS A SENSE THAT TOO MANY PEOPLE
ARE TOO OFTEN TALKING PAST ONE
ANOTHER, OR WORSE, YELLING AT
ONE ANOTHER.
ARE THERE BETTER APPROACHES TO
CHANGING PEOPLE'S MINDS?
LET'S ASK:
ANNAHID DASHTGARD, CO-FOUNDER
AND SENIOR PARTNER OF ANIMA
LEADERSHIP, THAT'S A BOUTIQUE
LEADERSHIP TRAINING AND
CONSULTING COMPANY...

Annahid is in her thirties, with shoulder-length wavy chestnut hair. She's wearing a black blazer over a red blouse, and silver pendant earrings.

Steve continues AND JAMIL JIVANI, VISITING
PROFESSOR AT OSGOODE HALL LAW
SCHOOL AT YORK UNIVERSITY AND
FOUNDER OF THE CITIZEN
EMPOWERMENT PROJECT.

Jamil is in his thirties, clean-shaven and shaven-headed. He's wearing a gray suit and shirt.

Steve continues GOOD TO HAVE BOTH OF YOU BACK
HERE AT TVO FOR US.
I WANT TO... CAN I JUST START
WITH YOU.
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH YOUR DAYS?
TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS.

The caption changes to "Annahid Dashtgard. Anima Leadership."
A caption appears on screen. It reads "Context is everything."

Annahid says YEAH.
WELL, WE STARTED IT OVER A
DECADE AGO.
I COME OUT OF GRASS ROOTS
ACTIVISM MYSELF.
I WAS PART OF THE ANTICORPORATE
GLOBALIZATION MOVEMENT OF THE
1990s AND WAS THERE FROM THE
BATTLE OF SEATTLE TO QUEBEC CITY
IN 2001.

Steve says YOU WENT TO SEATTLE?

Annahid says YEAH, I WAS THERE FOR MOST OF
THOSE PROTESTS THAT HAPPENED
ACROSS NORTH AMERICA.

Steve says THAT WAS A LARGE
TIME AGO.

Annahid says AND ORGANIZED MORE THAN ONE
NATIONAL CAMPAIGN.
TENS OF THOUSANDS OF CANADIANS,
WAS RIGHT IN THE EPICENTRE OF
NATIONAL POLITICS.
AND THEN 9-11 HAPPENED.
AND LIKE MANY ACTIVISTS, I GOT
REALLY BURNED OUT AND LOOKED FOR
OTHER WAYS TO BRING ABOUT CHANGE
AND ANIMA IS OUR BABY.
WE SPECIALIZE IN EQUITY AND
DIVERSITY ISSUES BUT IT'S ABOUT
SYSTEMS CHANGE AND THE DIFFERENT
WAYS WE CAN CREATE... BRING
PEOPLE AND MOTIVATE PEOPLE TO DO
THINGS DIFFERENTLY AND CREATE
MORE INCLUSIVE WORK
ENVIRONMENTS.

Steve says JAMIL, TELL US ABOUT
THE CITIZEN EMPOWERMENT PROJECT.
WHAT'S THAT?

The caption changes to "Jamil Jivani. York University."

Jamil says WE STARTED
THE ORGANIZATION AFTER THE
KILLINGS OF SAMMY YATIM AND
TRAYVON MARTIN AS PUSHING FOR
POLICE REFORMS, NOT JUST IN
TORONTO BUT OTHER CITIES AS
WELL, AND IT GREW FROM THERE TO
ISSUES LIKE VOTER PARTICIPATION,
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, PUBLIC
HOUSING, LOOKING AT THE
DIFFERENT... KIND OF THE MIX OF
ISSUES THAT AFFECT A LOT OF THE
COMMUNITIES THAT ARE MOST
DISADVANTAGED IN HOW OUR ECONOMY
WORKS AND HOW OUR POLITICAL
SYSTEM WORKS.

Steve says I SUSPECT WHEN A LOT
OF PEOPLE WHO ARE WATCHING THIS
THINK ABOUT ACTIVISTS, THEY
THINK ABOUT PEOPLE WITH A LOT OF
BODY PIERCINGS AND A LOT OF
TATTOOS, AND NEITHER ONE OF YOU
SEEM TO BE LIKE THAT.
SO LET'S ASK IT HEAD-ON: ARE YOU
AN ACTIVIST?
YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF AN ACTIVIST?

Annahid says YEAH.
DIFFERENT THAN WHEN I STARTED.
NO LONGER AT THE BARRICADES BUT
DEFINITELY IN TERMS OF
CONSCIOUSNESS SHIFTING AND VERY
MUCH WANTING TO CREATE A BETTER
WORLD THAN THE ONE WE LIVE IN.

Steve says HOW IS IT DIFFERENT
TODAY AS YOU USED TO PRACTISE
IT, AS YOU SAY, AT THE
BARRICADE?

Annahid says I HANDLE ANGER AND EMOTIONS
VERY DIFFERENTLY NOW THAN I DID
THEN, IS ONE OF THE BIG
DIFFERENCES, AND I'VE DONE A LOT
OF MY OWN INNER WORK.
A LOT OF HEALING.

Steve says WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

Annahid says WELL, I THINK A LOT OF
ACTIVISTS COME INTO SOCIAL
CHANGE MOVEMENTS BECAUSE OF
THEIR OWN WOUNDING, FOR
DIFFERENT REASONS, THEY HAVE
THEIR OWN EXPERIENCES WITH
EXCLUSION, WITH MARGINALIZATION,
AND THEN ON TOP OF THAT, OFTEN
GET RETRAUMATIZED BY BEING ON
THE FRONT LINES.
AND THERE'S A COST TO THAT.
INSTEAD OF USING EMOTIONS
STRATEGICALLY, AND KNOWING WHERE
TO DRAW THE LINE, OFTEN THE
EMOTIONS CAN TAKE OVER, AND THEY
CERTAINLY DID FOR ME.
AND I DIDN'T HAVE ANY SENSE OF
BOUNDARY BETWEEN WHAT I NEEDED
TO TAKE CARE OF MYSELF, MY OWN
HISTORY, MY OWN KIND OF... AND
WHAT WAS HAPPENING EXTERNALLY
AND THE WAYS IN WHICH I WAS
PUSHING FOR CHANGE.
BECAUSE THOSE BOUNDARIES GOT
BLURRED, I WOULD SAY I WAS PART
OF WHAT I WOULD CALL
DYSFUNCTIONAL DYNAMICS,
SOMETIMES IN THE SPACES I WAS
PART OF.

Steve says WE DON'T BLUR
BOUNDARIES HERE.
WE HAVE THEM AND WE RESPECT THEM
IF PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO SAY MORE
ABOUT THEIR OWN PERSONAL
SITUATIONS THAN THEY WANT TO.
BUT THAT FASCINATES ME SO I'M
GOING TO FOLLOW UP AND IF YOU
DON'T WANT ME TO, YOU JUST SAY
SO, OKAY?

Annahid says OKAY.

Steve says WHAT WAS GOING ON
THAT REQUIRED YOU TO DO ALL THAT
PERSONAL WORK?

The caption changes to "Annahid Dashtgard, @annahid."

Annahid says WELL, I CAME AS AN IRANIAN
IMMIGRANT TO ALBERTA IN THE
EARLY 1980s AT A TIME WHEN THE
HOSTAGE CRISIS WAS STILL
HAPPENING IN IRAN AND WE WERE
ONE OF A HANDFUL OF BROWN
FAMILIES IN A SMALL SUBURB
OUTSIDE OF EDMONTON, AND SO IT
WAS WHITE STILL, STILL KIND OF
IS BUT WAS MORE SO AT THAT TIME,
AND I WENT THROUGH YEARS OF WHAT
I NOW CAN RECOGNIZE AS NOT JUST
BULLYING BUT IDENTITY TRAUMA, RIGHT?
OF BEING ONE OF THE FEW
RACIALIZED KIDS, AND SO THERE
WAS A LOT OF ANTI-BROWN RACISM
THAT MY FAMILY, MY FATHER IN
PARTICULAR FACED AND I FACED
QUITE EXTREMELY WHERE I WASN'T
JUST GETTING CHOSEN LAST FOR
TEAMS BUT IT WAS NO KID IN THE
SCHOOL WOULD COME NEAR ME AND I
WAS SPAT ON, MY YOUNGER BROTHER
AND SISTER WERE TEASED BECAUSE
THEY WERE RELATED TO ME, AND IT
TOOK A LOT OF YEARS TO... AND SO
I CAME INTO ACTIVISM BECAUSE I
HAD AN EARLY CONSCIOUSNESS OR
WHAT I WOULD CALL A BONE-DEEP
CONSCIOUSNESS AROUND WHAT IT
MEANS TO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO
SOCIAL POWER.

Steve says OKAY.

Annahid says IT WAS... YOU KNOW, IT KIND OF...

Steve says IT'S SOMETHING TO
OVERCOME.

Annahid says IT GOT A LITTLE MESSY AT
TIMES TOO, RIGHT?
BECAUSE I NEEDED TO DO MY OWN
HEALING AS WELL AS WORKING TO
CREATE CHANGE IN THE WORLD
AROUND ME AND IT OFTEN GOT
BLURRED.
IT GOT MORE BLURRED AS I WENT ON.

Steve says JAMIL, HOW MUCH OF
THAT STORY ECHOS ANYTHING YOU
HAD TO DEAL WITH IN YOUR PAST?

The caption changes to "Jamil Jivani, @jamiljivani."

Jamil says IT RESONATES A LOT, ACTUALLY.
I THINK ESPECIALLY THE IDEA OF
YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCES IN
FORMING HOW YOU APPROACH ISSUES
OTHER PEOPLE ARE ALSO FACING.
I WOULD SAY THE EMOTION THAT
MOST, I GUESS, ANCHORED ME WHEN
I WAS GROWING UP WAS ANGER.
I WAS ANGRY AT THE CIRCUMSTANCES
I WAS BORN INTO, MY FAMILY
SITUATION, THE FACT THAT I SAW
MY PEERS AND PEOPLE I CARE ABOUT
I THOUGHT MISTREATED BY POLICE
OFFICERS, NOT GETTING THE
EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES THAT
THEY DESERVED, AND I DIDN'T KNOW
WHAT TO DO WITH THAT.
AND I THINK ACTIVISM THAT
CARRIED THAT EMOTION... ANGER...
IS WHAT I INITIALLY KIND OF
IDENTIFIED WITH.
AND SO, FOR INSTANCE, WHEN I
LOOKED AT THE CIVIL RIGHTS
MOVEMENT, I SAW MARTIN LUTHER
KING MARCHING, AND I THOUGHT
THAT'S WHAT ACTIVISM WAS.
I DIDN'T KNOW HE WAS ALSO
SITTING DOWN WITH POLITICIANS
AND TALKING ABOUT LEGISLATION.
SO AS I'M OLDER, ACTIVISM HAS
BECOME MORE COMPLICATED.
BUT CERTAINLY AS I FIRST BECAME
AN ACTIVIST, AND WHEN I SAY
ACTIVIST, A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE A
LIMITED DEFINITION OF WHAT THAT
MEANS.
TO ME, AN ACTIVIST IS SOMEONE
WHO LOOKS AT THE WORLD AND SAYS I WANT TO CHANGE SOMETHING AND
I'M GOING TO SPEND MY TIME AND
ENERGY TRYING TO CHANGE IT.
THAT CAN BE A REALLY DIVERSE
NUMBER OF ISSUES, DIFFERENT
STRATEGIES AND ROLES IN SOCIETY.
I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE
ACTIVISTS AND THEY DON'T KNOW
THEY ARE AND THEY OFTEN DON'T
KNOW WHY THEY'RE ACTIVISTS.
BEING ABLE TO REFLECT THAT IN
CONVERSATIONS LIKE THIS IS
HELPFUL TO ME BECAUSE IT HELPS
ME TO SEE WHERE I CAME FROM AND
HELPS MOTIVATE ME TO DO WHAT I
DO NOW.

Steve says LET'S PLAY A CLIP NOW.
I SHOULD SAY PARENTHETICALLY, AS
WE ROLL THIS, THIS IS FROM BLACK
LIVES MATTER.
WE ASKED THEM TO PARTICIPATE IN
OUR DISCUSSION HERE TONIGHT.
DIDN'T HEAR BACK.
THAT'S OKAY.
THEY'RE UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO
GET BACK TO US.
WE WANTED TO LET THEM KNOW WE
WERE OFFERING THEM A SEAT AT THE
TABLE.
WITHOUT FURTHER ADO, SHELDON,
THE CLIP.

A clip plays on screen with the caption "February 4, 2017."
In the clip, at a protest on a street, a person stands on the back of a truck holding a microphone and talks as a man translates into sign language.

The person says WHEN JUSTIN TRUDEAU RESPONDED
TO THE MUSLIM BAN THAT THIS
COWARD, THIS WHITE SUPREMACIST
COWARD... DONALD TRUMP PUT
FORWARD... WHAT DID JUSTIN
TRUDEAU SAY?
HE SAID HE WANTED TO ACCEPT
EVERYONE WHO IS NOT ALLOWED INTO
THE U.S. BORDER TO CANADA.
DON'T CHEER.
DO NOT CHEER.
BECAUSE WE KNOW WHAT EXACTLY
THAT IS.
WE KNOW WHAT THAT IS.
WE KNOW WHAT THAT MANIPULATION
IS.
IT'S WHAT THIS COUNTRY IS
FOUNDED ON.
A SILENCING OF THE REAL HISTORY
OF THIS LAND.
THE GENOCIDE OF INDIGENOUS
PEOPLE IN WHICH THE STATE IS
FOUNDED ON.
GENOCIDE IS WHAT THE STATE IS
FOUNDED ON.
(INAUDIBLE) WHAT THE STATE IS
FOUNDED ON.
WHEN JUSTIN TRUDEAU SAYS THAT,
HE IS A LIAR, HE'S A HYPOCRITE,
HE IS A WHITE SUPREMACIST TERRORIST.

Steve says OKAY.
LET'S JUST SORT OF EXPLORE THE
NATURE OF THAT KIND OF ACTIVISM,
WHICH EMPLOYS, AS YOU HEARD,
SOME FAIRLY EXTREME LANGUAGE.
I HAVEN'T HEARD TOO MANY PEOPLE
CALL THE PRIME MINISTER A WHITE
SUPREMACIST AND A TERRORIST, BUT
THIS GROUP CLEARLY THINKS THAT
HE IS, OR AT LEAST THE LEADER OF
THAT DEMONSTRATION WAS.
ANNAHID, HOW EFFECTIVE DO YOU
THINK THAT KIND OF DEMONSTRATION
IS IN TERMS OF INFLUENCING AN
AGENDA, MAKING CHANGE, WINNING
HEARTS, INFLUENCING PEOPLE?

Annahid says YEAH.
WELL, I KIND OF SEE IT AS A CYCLE.
I THINK BEING ON THE FRONT LINES
OF THE BARRICADES IS ONE KIND OF
EXTERNAL PUSH.
THEN THERE'S PEOPLE ON THE
INSIDE LOOKING FOR SOLUTIONS AND
ALTERNATIVES.
AND THEN THERE'S WHERE I AM,
SHIFTING CONSCIOUSNESS,
EDUCATING FOR CHANGE.
AND I THINK THAT THEY'RE ALL
NECESSARY.
DO I THINK THOSE PARTICULAR
WORDS OR GETTING TO THAT EXTREME
IS USEFUL?
NOT NECESSARILY BUT I THINK IT
HAS ITS PLACE.

Steve says WHAT PLACE?

Annahid says WELL, I THINK ABOUT, IF YOU
REMEMBER DURING THE BERNIE
SANDERS CAMPAIGN, TWO BLACK
LIVES MATTER ACTIVISTS
INTERRUPTED ONE OF HIS RALLIES
IN I THINK IT WAS SEATTLE IN
2015, AND THEY TOOK OVER THE
MICROPHONE.
HE DIDN'T EVEN GET A CHANCE TO
SPEAK.
BUT THAT SINGLE ACTION PUT BLACK
AND RACIALIZED ISSUES ON THE
FEDERAL AGENDA.
HILLARY STARTED TO TALK ABOUT
IT.
BERNIE INCORPORATED IT INTO HIS
CAMPAIGN.
THE REPUBLICANS HAD TO SAY
SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

Steve says IT MOVED THE YARDSTICKS.

Annahid says IT MOVED THE YARDSTICK.
IF THEY HADN'T BEEN PUSHED, IF
THEY HADN'T TAKEN OVER THE
MICROPHONE AND IT WAS A YEAR
ANNIVERSARY TO MICHAEL BROWN'S
DEATH, THE MAN WHO WAS, AGAIN,
MURDERED BY THE POLICE FOR VERY
LITTLE TO NO PROVOCATION BY A
YOUNG BLACK MAN, IT WAS THE
ANNIVERSARY OF HIS DEATH.
SO SOMETIMES I THINK... YOU
KNOW, WE LIVE IN EXTREME TIMES.
I DON'T THINK EXTREME... YOU
KNOW, I DO THINK, YES, ACTIVISTS
NEED TO BE MORE DISCERNING ABOUT
THEIR STRATEGY, WHERE AND WHEN
DO WE EMPLOY CERTAIN TACTICS.
BUT I DO THINK THAT THERE'S A
ROLE FOR ANGER AND FOR REALLY...
AND ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU COME
FROM MARGINALIZED COMMUNITIES TO
FEEL FREE TO TAKE UP SPACE TO
PUSH FOR... TO USE THAT ANGER AS
A FORCE FOR CHANGE.
IF WE DIDN'T HAVE THOSE SPACES,
I DON'T THINK WE'D BE HAVING THE
CONVERSATIONS WE'RE HAVING NOW
OR WHITE PRIVILEGE, I DON'T
THINK IT WOULD EVEN BE ON THE
PLATE FOR THE REST OF SOCIETY TO
BE TALKING ABOUT.

Steve says JAMIL, YOUR VIEW ON
HOW EFFECTIVE THAT IS IN TERMS
OF MAKING CHANGE?

Jamil says I WOULD WANT
TO PREFACE MY COMMENT BY SAYING
I AM A REALLY BIG PROPONENT OF
FREEDOM OF SPEECH, AND I
WOULDN'T WANT MY COMMENT TO BE
SEEN AS DISCOURAGING PEOPLE TO
EXPRESS THEMSELVES IF THAT'S A
FEELING THAT PEOPLE HAVE IN OUR
COUNTRY, THEN I HOPE THAT
THEY'RE SAYING IT, BECAUSE
THAT'S HOW I THINK POLITICAL
DISCOURSE IS SUPPOSED TO WORK.
THAT SAID, I THINK THE QUESTIONS
THAT I LIKE TO RAISE WHEN IT
COMES TO HOW I COMMUNICATE, WHAT
I'D LIKE TO SAY PUBLICLY, HOW I
LIKE TO SPEAK ABOUT PEOPLE, I DO
THINK PERSUASIVENESS IS
IMPORTANT.
AND I DO THINK SPEAKING IN THOSE
POLEMIC TERMS IS NOT ALWAYS THE
BEST WAY TO MAKE A POINT.
SO IF THE GOAL IS TO HAVE
CANADIANS SELF-REFLECTIVE ON HOW
WE DEAL WITH IMMIGRATION ISSUES
AND WELCOMING PEOPLE COMING TO
OUR COUNTRY, I DON'T THINK
SAYING THAT ABOUT OUR PRIME
MINISTER...

Steve says WHAT IF THE IDEA IS
TO BE PROVOCATIVE AND GET ON THE NEWS?

Jamil says THEN IT WAS SUCCESSFUL.

Steve says THAT WAS WHAT THE GOAL WAS.

Jamil says THAT'S HOW YOU JUDGE THE
STRATEGY AN ACTIVIST TAKES.
THAT WAS YOUR GOAL.
HEARING IT PROBABLY WASN'T
DISSUADED BY THAT STATEMENT.
THERE ARE PEOPLE IT MIGHT
RESONATE WITH.
IF IT WAS THE GOAL TO GET THEM
RALLIED UP, WHICH IS WHAT
ACTIVISTS DO WHICH IS PREACHING
TO THE CHOIR AND WANTING THEIR
BASE OR THE FOLKS THAT AGREE
WITH THEM TO BE MORE
ENTHUSIASTIC, MAYBE THAT WAS THE
GOAL AND SO MAYBE IT WAS
SUCCESSFUL.

Steve says BUT ONE WONDERS
WHETHER THE CONVERSE IS ALSO
POTENTIALLY TRUE, NAMELY THAT
THAT PERFORMANCE NOT ONLY MAY
NOT HAVE WON ANY HEARTS AND
MINDS BUT IT MAY HAVE IN FACT
ALIENATED AND PUSHED AWAY
POTENTIAL ALLIES BECAUSE OF THE
LANGUAGE AND NATURE OF THE
DEMONSTRATION ITSELF.
IS THAT A POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCE
OF THE WAY THEY HANDLED THINGS?

Annahid says MM-HMM.
I MEAN, YEAH.
THERE'S A LOT OF DOUBT THAT
HAPPENS IN ACTIVISM LIKE IN MANY
OTHER WORK PLACES, RIGHT?
THE DIFFERENCE IS ACTIVISTS...
BECAUSE ACTIVISTS CLAIM THIS
TERRITORY OF WANTING TO CREATE A
BETTER WORLD, THERE'S A LITTLE
BIT MORE RESPONSIBILITY TO MODEL
WHAT IT IS WE'RE WANTING TO
BRING ABOUT.

Steve says DO THEY DO THAT IN
THAT CLIP?

Annahid says I MEAN, YOU KNOW, NO?
I KIND OF LOOK AT THAT CLIP AND
I SEE MYSELF IN EARLIER DAYS,
I'M GOING TO BE REALLY HONEST
WITH YOU, 15, 20 YEARS AGO, THAT
COULD HAVE BEEN ME ON TOP OF A
BUS.
I DON'T KNOW WHETHER I WOULD
HAVE MADE THAT KIND OF A
STATEMENT OR THAT EXTREME OF AN
STATEMENT.

Steve says BUT YOU WERE THAT ANGRY.

Annahid says BUT I WAS THAT ANGRY.
AND I JUST WANT TO BRING THE
CONVERSATION BACK TO, WE SPEND I
THINK IN... I'M GOING TO USE A
TERM I PROBABLY WON'T BE POPULAR
FOR, IN WHITE MIDDLE CLASS
LIBERAL CIRCLES, IT'S VERY EASY
TO TALK ABOUT THE EXTREMES OF
EMOTION AND WHERE DOES IT COME
FROM AND HOW CAN THEY POSSIBLY
SAY THAT AND THIS THING OF WHITE
FRAGILITY.
EVEN IN WORK PLACES TO TALK
ABOUT THE COMPLACENCY, YOU KNOW,
WHITE COMPLACENCY, PEOPLE IN
LEADERSHIP POSITIONS, MANY OF
WHOM ARE WHITE PEOPLE, TO NOT
HAVE TO MOVE THE YARDSTICK.
WE'RE HAVING A RECYCLING OF THE
CONVERSATION, IF WE'RE TALKING
ABOUT RACISM, THAT I WAS HAVING
20 YEARS AGO.
I HAVEN'T SEEN THE YARDSTICK
MOVE THAT FURTHER AHEAD.
I'M GRATEFUL FOR BLACK LIVES
MATTER ACTIVISTS AND THE IDLE NO
MORE ACTIVISTS, IT MAKES MY JOB
EASIER WHEN I GO IN TO EDUCATE
AND CONSULT WITH LEADERS, THEY
ARE MORE AWARE THEY NEED TO DO
SOMETHING DIFFERENTLY BECAUSE
THERE'S BEEN THIS PRESSURE FROM
THE OUTSIDE.

Steve says THAT DOES RAISE A
QUESTION ABOUT THE USE OF ANGER.
IS ANGER A CONSTRUCTIVE, USEFUL
TOOL IN TRYING TO CHANGE THE
HEARTS AND MINDS?

Jamil says AGAIN, I
THINK IT DEPENDS ON THE
SITUATION.
I JUST WANTED TO ADDRESS THE
IDEA OF WHETHER THAT MAKES YOUR
JOB EASIER OR HARDER.
I THINK IN SOME CIRCUMSTANCES, I
COULD ABSOLUTELY SEE IT MAKING
YOUR JOB EASIER.
I WOULD SAY THAT THAT KIND OF
LANGUAGE SOMETIMES MAKES MY JOB
HARDER.
I'LL EXPLAIN IT BY SAYING THAT I
THINK THAT WHETHER YOU'RE
TALKING ABOUT TERRORISM, THE
ALT-RIGHT, EXTREMISM OF VARIOUS
SORTS... IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT
TO ISOLATE EXTREMISTS IN
COMMUNITIES AND MAKE SURE THAT
LARGE GROUPS OF PEOPLE AREN'T
BEING PAINTED WITH BROAD
BRUSHES.
AND WHEN WE USE WORDS LIKE
TERRORIST AND WHITE SUPREMACIST,
I THINK IN A VERY CASUAL MANNER
AND MAYBE NOT AS SPECIFIC AND
RESPONSIBLY AS WE SHOULD, IT
MAKES IT HARDER THEN TO SAY, I
THINK THERE'S A BIG DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN JUSTIN TRUDEAU AND
RICHARD SPENCER AND THE
ALT-RIGHT, YET WHEN WE'RE USING
THE SAME LANGUAGE TO TALK ABOUT
BOTH OF THEM, THAT'S HARD TO
ISOLATE THE SUPREMACISTS AND SAY
YOU'RE NOT IN POWER, YOU NEED TO
BE ISOLATED, WE NEED TO MINIMIZE
YOUR INFLUENCE.
WHEN YOU EQUATE THEM WITH THE
PRIME MINISTER OF THE COUNTRY
AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED
STATES, OFTEN THAT BECOMES VERY
HARD TO DO.
SO I DO THINK IT DOES SOMETIMES
MAKE THE WORK HARDER DEPENDING
ON THE CHALLENGES YOU'RE FACING
AND WHAT YOU'RE TRYING TO
ACCOMPLISH.
I'M A BIG BELIEVER THAT FREEDOM
OF SPEECH IS IMPORTANT BUT
RESPONSIBILITY OF LANGUAGE IS
ALSO IMPORTANT.
I THINK THAT MIGHT BE AN EXAMPLE
OF WHAT I WOULD DEFEND TO THE
END, FREEDOM OF SPEECH, BUT NOT
NECESSARILY AS RESPONSIBLE LANGUAGE.

The caption changes to "On campus."

Steve says THERE IS A CERTAIN
IRONY, ANNAHID, ONE PLACE WHERE
FREEDOM OF SPEECH DOES NOT SEEM
TO BE RESPECTED TODAY AS IT WAS
ONCE UPON A TIME ARE UNIVERSITY
CAMPUSES.
PEOPLE ARE INVITED, AND WE MAY
NOT LIKE THEIR VIEWS, BUT THE
VIEWS, YOU KNOW, IN MOST CASES
ANYWAY, ARE LEGAL.
WHO COME TO UNIVERSITIES.
THEY'RE EITHER SHOUTED DOWN,
THEY'RE EITHER DISINVITED BY
ADMINISTRATIONS WHO ARE FEARFUL
OF WHAT THE RESPONSE WILL BE
FROM SPONSORS, FROM STUDENTS,
FROM UNDERWRITERS AND SO ON AND
SO FORTH.
HOW CONCERNED ARE YOU ABOUT THE
FACT THAT FREE SPEECH SEEMS TO
BE HAVING A LOT OF TROUBLE ON
CAMPUSES THESE DAYS?

Annahid says WELL...
YOU KNOW, I PERSONALLY BELIEVE
THERE NEED TO BE LIMITS TO FREE
SPEECH.
I THINK YOU AND I MIGHT DIFFER
ON THIS.

Steve says WE HAVE LIMITS ON
FREE SPEECH RIGHT NOW.
YOU CAN'T SLANDER, YOU CAN'T
LIBEL, YOU CAN'T EXPRESS HATE
SPEECH.

Jamil says INCITE VIOLENCE.

Steve says SO WE HAVE LIMITS ON
FREE SPEECH.

Annahid says EXACTLY.
WE SHOULD HAVE.

Steve says DO YOU WANT MORE
THAN THAT?

Annahid says WHEN I SEE RICHARD SPENCER
GOING TO THE UNIVERSITY OF
FLORIDA AND 600,000 dollars OR WHATEVER
IT WAS SPENT ON SECURITY TO
DEFEND HIS RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH
AND HE'S GIVING A POLEMIC ABOUT
WHITE SUPREMACY, I START TO
THINK FREE SPEECH IS BEING USED,
NOT ALWAYS, BUT THERE IS A
CERTAIN WAY IN WHICH IT'S BEING
USED TO EXCUSE I THINK A VERY
DISTURBING POLEMIC.
YOU KNOW, YOU TALKED ABOUT WE
NEED TO NOT EQUATE, KIND OF
CONFLATE THESE DIFFERENT
POSITIONS AND I THINK WE NEED TO
BE ABLE TO SEPARATE OUT WHITE
SUPREMACY AS HATE-INDUCING
SPEECH, AND UNFORTUNATELY,
BECAUSE WE HAVE A PRESIDENT
THAT'S SANCTIONING IT, THERE'S A
WAY IN WHICH IT'S KIND OF BEING
SANCTIONED BY THIS ARGUMENT OF
FREE SPEECH, WHEREAS I SEE THAT
AS A VERY CLEAR EXAMPLE OF HATE
SPEECH.
DIFFERENTIATED, FOR EXAMPLE,
FROM MASUMA KHAN, THE VICE
PRESIDENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS AT
DALHOUSIE UNIVERSITY WHO GOT
EXPELLED FROM HER POSITION
BECAUSE OF A FACEBOOK POST WHERE
SHE HAD MADE SOME COMMENT ABOUT
NOT WANTING TO PARTICIPATE IN
CANADA 150 CELEBRATIONS BECAUSE
OF INDIGENOUS SOLIDARITY, AND
THEN MADE SOME COMMENT ABOUT...
I DON'T WANT TO SWEAR ON AIR BUT
EFFIN' WHITE FRAGILITY.

Steve says GET OVER IT, WHITE
PEOPLE, BASICALLY.

Annahid says THAT'S RIGHT.
I DON'T SEE THAT AS HATE SPEECH.
I THINK THE UNIVERSITY WENT INTO
A PLACE OF, THIS IS... I THINK
THERE'S A BIG DIFFERENCE.
WHITE SUPREMACY AS A DIRECT
DEHUMANIZATION OF AN ENTIRE
GROUP OF PEOPLE.
HER COMMENT WAS A REFERENCE TO
WHAT IS PRESENT ACADEMIC CIRCLES
A VERY REAL REFERENCE TO WHITE
FRAGILITY, HOW OFTEN A LACK OF
UNDERSTANDING ABOUT RACIAL
ISSUES AROUND... IF WE'RE
TALKING ABOUT WHITE PEOPLE, AND
SHE WAS REFERENCING THAT, IT WAS
A SHORTHAND.
SO I THINK... YOU KNOW, THERE'S
A GREAT NEED I THINK FOR A BASE
TO HAVE THESE CONVERSATIONS THAT
AREN'T SO POLARIZED... BEFORE
THEY GET SO POLARIZED, AS WE
WERE DOING HERE, BUT TO HAVE
THESE IN MORE PLACES ACROSS
SOCIETY, IN MORE OF OUR WORK
PLACES.
I FEEL WHAT I DO ON A DAY-TO-DAY
BASIS IS OPEN UP SPACE FOR THESE
KINDS OF CONVERSATIONS THAT
POLITICAL CORRECTNESS MADE VERY
DIFFICULT TO HAVE.

Steve says WHERE ARE YOU ON
THAT, JAMIL?

Jamil says I SEE THE TWO
EXAMPLES AS KIND OF TWO SIDES OF
THE SAME COIN.
I DON'T LIKE THE IDEA OF ANY
GROUP OF PEOPLE THINKING THEY
HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO DECIDE
WHAT CONSTITUTES SPEECH THAT'S
WORTH SHARING AND WHAT'S NOT,
BECAUSE I CAN SEE IT BEING...
THAT IS AN AUTHORITY THAT CAN BE
VERY EASILY ABUSED IN VARIOUS
SITUATIONS.
SO I WOULD LIKE FOR THERE TO BE
UNIVERSITY CAMPUS WHERE, IF A
WHITE SUPREMACIST WANTS TO DO A
SPEECH, THAT PERSON COMES AND
PEOPLE WHO WANT TO HEAR IT ARE
WELCOME TO HEAR IT.
ANOTHER PERSON WHO WANTS TO TALK
ABOUT WHITE FRAGILITY CAN COME
DO A SPEECH.
AND WHOEVER WANTS TO HEAR IT CAN
HEAR IT.
I BELIEVE IN THE MARKETPLACE OF
IDEAS, THOSE THINGS WILL
COMPETE.
AND I HAVE ENOUGH FAITH THAT
THERE ARE ACTIVISTS WHO ARE
PERSUASIVE AND COMMITTED TO
GETTING THE RIGHT MESSAGES
ACROSS THAT THE RIGHT IDEAS WILL
WIN THE DAY.

Steve says THE ANTIDOTE TO BAD
OFFENSIVE SPEECH IS BETTER SPEECH?

Jamil says AGAIN, WE POINTED OUT THERE
ARE LIMITS TO FREE SPEECH AND
MOST OF THE ONES, I WOULD SAY
ALL OF THEM IN CANADIAN
JURISPRUDENCE I AGREE WITH.
WHEN IT COMES TO THE CONTENT OF
SPEECH AND WHAT'S CONSIDERED
HATEFUL AND WHAT IS CONSIDERED
NOT, WE HAVE TO BE VERY CAREFUL
WITH HOW WE CLAIM THE AUTHORITY
OF DISTINGUISHING ONE FROM THE OTHER.
THAT CAN VERY EASILY GET OUT OF
HAND AND THAT SCARES ME MORE
THAN ANYTHING IS THERE IS A
GROUP OF PEOPLE THAT SAY TO
ACTIVISTS, THERE'S SOME IDEAS
YOU'RE ALLOWED TO SAY AND
THERE'S SOME YOU'RE NOT.
THERE ARE POLICY CHANGES YOU CAN
TALK ABOUT AND OTHERS YOU CAN'T.
LET'S ALL COMPETE FOR THE FUTURE
BECAUSE I BELIEVE THAT THE RIGHT
PEOPLE WILL WIN THE DAY.

Annahid looks at Jamil and says SO MY
QUESTION TO YOU WOULD BE, I
MEAN, IN A SOCIETY WHERE RACISM
IS ALIVE AND WELL, WHO MAKES A
JUDGMENT CALL ON WHAT THOSE
LIMITS ARE?
YOU KNOW, I THINK ABOUT,
WOULD... THE UNIVERSITY OF
FLORIDA OR REALLY ANY UNIVERSITY
SPEND THAT AMOUNT OF MONEY ON
SECURITY FOR BLACK LIVES MATTER
ACTIVISTS COMING TO TALK ON
THEIR CAMPUS?
DID THAT HAPPEN DURING THE CIVIL
RIGHTS MOVEMENT WHERE BLACK
PANTHERS ARE THERE... I DON'T
THINK THERE IS A SINGLE EXAMPLE
WHERE PUBLIC OR OTHER MAJOR
INSTITUTIONS IN SOCIETY SPENT AS
MUCH TIME AND SPACE AND MONEY
DEFENDING THE RIGHTS OF
MARGINALIZED GROUPS WHO ARE
PUSHING THE STATUS QUO FOR THEIR
RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH AS THEY
DID, YOU KNOW, FORCES THAT
REPRESENTED THE KIND OF MORE
MAINSTREAM... MAINSTREAM IDENTITY.

Jamil says I THINK
THAT'S AN EXCELLENT POINT.
IF THERE ARE SPECIFIC EXAMPLES
WHERE A UNIVERSITY IS NOT
SPENDING THEIR MONEY WHERE
THERE'S EQUALLY LEGITIMATE
SECURITY CONCERNS, THEN I WOULD
TAKE THAT SIDE OF, YOU SHOULD BE
SPENDING THIS MONEY EQUALLY FOR
DIFFERENT CAUSES.
I DEFINITELY WOULD NOT SAY SOME
CAUSES OR PEOPLE OR ISSUES
DESERVE SECURITY MORE THAN OTHERS.
WHAT I WILL SAY, THOUGH, IS PART
OF WHY YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THAT IS
BECAUSE I DO BELIEVE THERE'S AN
IDEOLOGICAL BEND TO HOW A LOT OF
UNIVERSITY CAMPUSES OPERATE, AND
THAT IF YOU LOOK AT THE AVERAGE
PROFESSOR AT A CANADIAN
UNIVERSITY, YOU'RE GOING TO HEAR
IDEAS THAT I THINK ARE MORE
SIMILAR TO WHAT A BLACK LIVES
MATTER ACTIVIST WOULD SAY THAN
WHAT RICHARD SPENCER WAS SAYING
IN FLORIDA.
I MEAN, THAT'S A GENERALIZATION,
BUT I THINK THAT GENERALLY WOULD
HOLD UP TO BE TRUE.
I THINK THAT'S PARTIALLY WHY YOU
FIND THAT THERE ARE MORE
SECURITY THREATS FOR PEOPLE WHO
ARE SAYING SOMETHING VERY
DIFFERENT FROM WHAT THE AVERAGE
FACULTY IS GOING TO BE TEACHING
IN THEIR CLASSROOMS OR
RECOMMENDING IN THEIR SYLLABUS
FOR STUDENTS TO READ, FOR GOOD
REASON, I THINK.
I THINK IT'S A GOOD THING WE
DON'T HAVE A LOT OF WHITE
SUPREMACIST PROFESSORS ASKING
PEOPLE TO READ RICHARD SPENCER
ARTICLES.
BUT I THINK THE REASON WHY HE'S
DEEMED... OR I WOULD SAY
DEMONSTRATIONS AGAINST HIS
PRESENCE ON CAMPUS OR ANNE
COULTER OR A VARIETY OF OTHER,
YOU KNOW, KIND OF DIVISIVE
FIGURES, I THINK THE REASON WHY
THERE'S SECURITY NEEDS IS
BECAUSE UNIVERSITIES AREN'T
NECESSARILY USED TO HAVING
PEOPLE WHO SPEAK THAT WAY ON
THEIR CAMPUS.

Annahid says YEAH.
I MEAN, I GUESS WHERE I COME
DOWN ON IT AROUND IS, AS LONG AS
WE HAVE SPACES WHERE WHITE
SUPREMACY IS BEING GIVEN
INCREASING AMOUNTS OF SPACE,
WHICH IT IS, I HAVE A LOT OF...
YOU KNOW, I GIVE A LOT OF... I
HOLD A LOT OF SPACE FOR THE
VIDEO WE JUST SAW AND FOR THAT
KIND OF LANGUAGE.
NOT THAT... I THINK... YOU KNOW,
THERE'S A NEED FOR HOLDING
CONVERSATIONS AND WHAT I WOULD
CALL MORE OF THE MIDDLE GROUND,
BUT I THINK IF WE DIDN'T HAVE A
BALANCING POLEMIC, MOST OF THE
MAINSTREAM OF SOCIETY GETS
PULLED BY THE EXTREMES.
AND IF WE DIDN'T HAVE THAT VOICE
TO BE PULLED BY THE EXTREME OF
WHITE SUPREMACY AND THE VOICES
THAT ARE COMING OUT THERE WOULD
BE VERY DANGEROUS.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: @theagenda, TVO.org, Facebook, YouTube, Periscope, Instagram."

Steve says I DO WANT TO GET A
BETTER HANDLE ON, GIVEN THAT YOU
TWO ARE ACTIVISTS, YOU ARE
SELF-PROCLAIMED ACTIVISTS STILL
TO THIS DAY, YOU MAYBE DON'T DO
IT THE WAY YOU DID IN SEATTLE A
GENERATION AGO.
YOU HAVE NEW TECHNIQUES NOW.
WHAT IN YOUR VIEW IS THE BEST
WAY TO CONVINCE SOMEBODY TO A
POINT OF VIEW THAT THEY MAY BE
RESISTANT TO EMBRACING?
WANT TO GIVE ME AN IDEA ON THAT?

Annahid says WELL, IN A WORD, COMPASSION.
I THINK IT'S THE OLDEST TRICK IN
THE BOOK AND THE HARDEST TO FIND
IN MYSELF, EVEN IF IT'S JUST A
DROP OF WHAT THE OTHER PERSON'S
EXPERIENCE MIGHT BE.

The caption changes to "tvo.org/theagenda."

Steve says THAT'S A BIT OUT OF
THE JAGMEET SINGH PLAYBOOK, RIGHT?
HE GOT ATTACKED IN THE MIDST OF
ELECTION CAMPAIGN AND HE SAID
LET'S JUST LOVE THEM TO BITS?

Annahid says I GUESS IN A WAY IT IS.
IT'S THE HARDEST WORK.
AND I THINK THERE'S MORE OF US
THAT NEED TO BE BUILDING OUR
EMPATHY MUSCLES, AND I USE THE
WORD MUSCLE DELIBERATELY,
BECAUSE IT IS A MUSCLE.
JUST SPEAKING FOR MYSELF
PERSONALLY, BEING ABLE TO USE
THAT MUSCLE HAS TAKEN A LOT
OF... I TALKED ABOUT TRAUMA,
CHILDHOOD TRAUMA, BUT HAS TAKEN
A LOT OF GOING BENEATH... I
WOULD SORT OF CALL IT THE
UBIQUITOUS EMOTION OF ANGER
WHICH IS FOR MANY YEARS THE ONLY
EMOTION THAT I HAD ACCESS TO AND
BEING ABLE TO DO... GET TO SOME
OF THE OTHER FEELINGS, DEVELOP
SOME MORE EMOTIONAL FLUIDITY,
AND BECAUSE OF THAT, I FEEL LIKE
I HAVE MORE ABILITY TO HOLD
SPACE FOR OTHER PEOPLE IN THE ROOM.

Steve says THE CRITICISM YOU
HEAR ALL THE TIME TODAY IS WE
ARE ALL EXISTING IN OUR OWN ECHO
CHAMBERS.
WE ONLY WANT TO WATCH THE
TELEVISION THAT CONFIRMS OUR
PRECONCEIVED BIASES ABOUT
ISSUES.
WE DON'T APPARENTLY WANT TO
LISTEN TO ANYBODY ELSE'S POINT
OF VIEW, AND EVEN IF THEY HAVE
GOOD EVIDENCE ON THEIR SIDE,
WE'RE NOT INTERESTED IN
EVIDENCE, WE ONLY CARE ABOUT HOW
WE FEEL.
OKAY, THAT'S THE PREMISE.
MY QUESTION IS: WHAT DO WE DO,
WHAT'S THE BEST WAY TO CONVINCE
PEOPLE TO ENTERTAIN A DIFFERENT
POINT OF VIEW THAT THEY MAY BE
RESISTANT TO EMBRACING?

Jamil says YEAH.
WELL, I THINK WHAT I FOUND TO BE
REALLY IMPORTANT... I WANT TO
HIGHLIGHT KIND OF TWO THINGS.
SO THE FIRST IS EDUCATION.
SO THERE IS A NATURAL ECHO
CHAMBER I THINK PEOPLE HAVE IN
THEIR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS, THE
MEDIA THEY CONSUME, ETC.,
ABSOLUTELY.
I THINK IN ORDER TO BE EDUCATED
ON A TOPIC REQUIRES YOU TO STEP
OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE AND
LEARN SOMETHING NEW.
AND DEPENDING ON THE ISSUER
LOOKING AT AND WHO YOU'RE TRYING
TO REACH, THE PEOPLE IN POWER
YOU'RE TRYING TO REACH OR AT THE
GRASS ROOTS, HOW YOU'RE
EDUCATING THEM ON ISSUES OR HOW
THE WORLD COULD LOOK DIFFERENT,
HOW THAT MIGHT BE A BETTER
REALITY FOR YOUR COUNTRY, YOUR
CITY, YOUR COMMUNITY.
THAT'S THE WAY I TEACH.
I BELIEVE EDUCATION WORKS AND
I'VE DEDICATED MY LIFE TO IT UP
TO THIS POINT.
THE SECOND THING THAT I WOULD
TALK ABOUT IS FINDING COMMON
REFERENCE POINTS.
THE REASON WHY IT UPSETS ME WHEN
I HEAR PEOPLE TRASH OUR COUNTRY
AS IF IT IS A UNIFORM NEGATIVE
OR FOCUSING ON JUST THE NEGATIVE
ASPECTS OF OUR HISTORY IS
BECAUSE I THINK IT DISMISSES
SOME USEFUL TOOLS WE HAVE THAT
CAN BE HELPFUL.
OUR CHARTER, FOR EXAMPLE, IS A
COMMON LANGUAGE WE CAN USE TO
COMMUNICATE WITH PEOPLE ABOUT
THE VALUES WE HAVE AS A COUNTRY,
AND ASK OURSELVES, ARE WE
ACTUALLY LIVING UP TO THESE
IDEALS.
I MENTIONED SECTION 2 AND
FREEDOM OF SPEECH AS WELL.
THERE ARE MANY SOCIAL ISSUES
REFLECTED IN THE CHARTER.
DOES RACIAL PROFILING PEOPLE
ACTUALLY REFLECT THE VALUES OF
OUR COUNTRY?
DOES HAVING PEOPLE LIVE IN
ABJECT POVERTY WITH LITTLE
OPPORTUNITY FOR SOCIAL MOBILITY
REFLECT THE VALUES OF OUR
COUNTRY?
WE ACTUALLY WROTE OUR VALUES
DOWN AND SAID THIS IS WHAT WE'RE
GOING TO LIVE UP TO.
THAT IS WHY BEING PART OF A
COUNTRY IS IMPORTANT, HAVING
LAWS, COMMON LANGUAGE, COMMON
IDEAS, THINGS THAT WE CAN SAY
EITHER SYMBOLICALLY OR
PRACTICALLY WE SHARE, AND NOW
LET'S TALK ABOUT HOW WE ACTUALLY
LIVE UP TO THESE THINGS.
THAT IS SOMETHING THAT IS OFTEN
LOST WHEN YOU ARE ONLY FOCUSING
ON THE NEGATIVES OF HOW OUR
COUNTRY WORKS.
THANKFULLY THERE ARE SOME
POSITIVE THINGS WE'VE DEVELOPED
IN HISTORY, AND SOME OF THOSE
THINGS ARE TOOLS THAT CAN HELP
US WORK TOGETHER.
IT'S WHY THE EXPERIENCE OF
SOMEONE IN YELLOWKNIFE MATTERS
TO ME.
THE REASON WHAT'S HAPPENING IN
VANCOUVER MATTERS TO ME AND
HALIFAX MATTERS TO ME.
WHEN I HEAR ABOUT INEQUALITY
THERE, I KNOW THEY'RE USING THE
SAME TOOLS, THEY LIVE IN THE
SAME LEGAL SYSTEM.
THAT'S PART OF ACHIEVING THE
EMPATHY WE'RE TRYING TO GET AS
ACTIVISTS WHILE WE'RE SAYING
DISADVANTAGED VOICES NEED OTHER
PEOPLE TO CARE ABOUT THEM.
IF WE'RE NOT USING THE SAME
TOOLS TO COMMUNICATE, I DON'T
KNOW HOW WE GET THAT EMPATHY.

The caption changes to "Producer: Meredith Martin, @MeredithMartin."

Steve says THAT'S JAMIL JIVANI,
YORK UNIVERSITY.
ANNAHID DASHTGARD, ANIMA
LEADERSHIP. VERY GOOD OF BOTH
OF YOU TO COME IN AND SPEND SO
MUCH TIME WITH US TONIGHT HERE
ON TVO. THANKS SO MUCH.

Jamil says THANK YOU.

Watch: Activism, Allyship and Making Change