We Welcome All: Our Anti-Racism Action Plan
Dear Modo Yoga Bloor West Community,
At MYBW, we passionately recognize that black, indigenous, people of colour, LGBTQ2S+ and Trans lives matter, and that systemic white supremacy must be dismantled. We acknowledge that BIPOC in Canada and around the world have been subjected to hundreds of years of ingrained racism and oppression. While we continue to work to become an actively anti-racist space, we feel it is important to be clear about where we stand on this matter. Silence on these issues cannot be tolerated, nor can well-meaning statements without an action plan.
Humbly, we are learning on a deeper level that it is not effective enough to be anti-racist in thought—we must more be anti-racist in our actions. Although we acknowledge it is impossible to ‘not be racist’ (as racist attitudes are indoctrinated into all of us from birth whether we’re aware of them or not), we are committed to lifelong learning and unlearning, deep humility, and sustained action. We acknowledge that the broader yoga community is dominated by whiteness and white supremacy, making these environments subject to racial biases. We commit to breaking down those biases by being even more proactive in educating and diversifying our community and staff.
We aim to have a plan finalized in the coming weeks, with actions to:
– Make our studio a place where BIPOC feel even more welcome and valued.
– Continue to maintain financially accessible classes to all people, including BIPOC (as no one is turned away from our studio due to finances, nor ever has been)
– Provide our students and staff with ongoing anti-racism and anti-oppression education (both in talks, workshops, and our Lending Library literature)
– Further amplification of BIPOC voices through our social media and community partnerships
– Allocate funds for Modo Yoga Teacher Training scholarships for BIPOC
– Continue to direct our Karma events and fundraising to organizations run by and for Black & Indigenous communities, and collaborate with them to make help yoga more accessible to their communities. (See all our Karma Partners + Partnerships page)
– Be a safe space for allies to come and learn
This is a living project that will grow and evolve with us. Please check here for future updates.
Love, Don, Meg, and the entire MYBW Family.
MEET DIDI, OUR NEW INCLUSIVITY + DIVERSITY ADVISOR
We’re happy to share that we are working with Didi Gough, a Black/Indigenous woman who is advising us on ways to evolve our beloved studio so our communal space is a safe sanctuary for all BIPOC and for white allies.
“I’m a true Torontonian born and raised. I am very proud of our wonderful multicultural city, where I was able to settle into my Carribean/indigenous roots. I am new to the west end, and was very excited to have found a studio so close to home and so welcoming! I have loved yoga since I first started back in high school. However, I have felt the struggles of inaccessibility in many different capacities over the years.
I am pleased to be working with MYBW, alongside their amazing team to make the space (virtual + physical) more accessible. I truly believe that yoga is for everybody and can work wonders for the soul (and body). I believe that everyone has a right to participate regardless of how they identify. I will be working to facilitate more safe spaces, classes, and discussions as well as the means to better support vulnerable Torontonians in our community.
I am an open book and available to answer any questions you may have, as well as open to hearing any suggestions on how to make your experience meaningful”.
Questions? Please email email@example.com + firstname.lastname@example.org.
HEALING FOR MARGINALIZED COMMUNITIES: A NEW SPECIAL CLASS
We at MYBW have always understood the importance of yoga in one’s healing journey. We also understand that everyone walks through life differently, and experiences triumphs and traumas uniquely. We have begun working with members of our community to host-specific, intimate classes for vulnerable and marginalized people. Twice a month we will offer a class exclusive to members of these communities. Join us in a safe space to heal and grow alongside individuals with shared experiences.
More than a yoga studio, MYBW has always been a place for personal transformation first. Every person entering the space will; in one way or another, contribute to social and societal change that benefits us all. The COVID shutdown has further determined the importance of MYBW within our broader community. The emboldening global shift to fight racism has urged MYBW to dive deeper into our role of inspiring personal and collective growth.
These Pay-What-You-Can classes are intended to bring more diversification while supporting marginalized groups in our community. MYBW’s Mission Statement relates to the unearthing of deeper value in every person’s life, and these classes are meant to further that mission. We offer them with the intention of connection and your feedback around how we might create more of this, is always welcomed.
HEALING FOR BIPOC taught by Kama Kalini
A class by, for, and led by BIPOC. This class is presented with the intention to provide a safe space to bond over collective trauma and come together to heal. We understand that the current climate can become overwhelming, frustrating and isolating as a minority. We will channel all of those feelings and process them together to foster unity, strength and optimism. Come as you are, for BIPOC individuals specifically.
HEALING FOR LGBTQ2S+ taught by Shai Saliba
A welcoming class for all members of the LGBTQ2S+ community. Join us for a unique class celebrating and encouraging being unapologetically you. This class will be hosted by a member of the community. The studio will be open before and after the class exclusively to folks in the LGBTQ2S+ community for a truly safe experience.
The cultural, societal, and spiritual costs that continue to be paid by North America’s First Peoples is a pain that, in some way we all carry upon this land. In the spirit of acknowledgment and healing for these losses, Modo Yoga Bloor West does not charge Canada’s indigenous persons for yoga classes. We wish to express recognition, respect and seek restoration with the original stewards of the land upon which we live and practice our yoga, specifically the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy aka the Six Nations of the Grand Confederacy, the traditional territory of the Wendat and the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.
WHAT WE’RE READING / RECOMMENDING:
- Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice – Paul Kivel
- How to be an AntiRacist – Ibram X Kendi
- Mindful of Race – Ruth King
- Becoming Trustworthy White Allies | Reflections
- How to Decolonize Your Yoga Practice
- How do you know if you’re Spiritually Bypassing?
- When Spiritual Bypassing Meets Racism Meets Gaslighting
- The Little Understood Mental Health Effects of Racial Traum
VIDEOS TO WATCH TO UNDERSTAND SYSTEMIC OPPRESSION + RACISM:
BIPOC EDUCATORS + ORGANIZATIONS TO FOLLOW (on Instagram)
- @iamrachelrickett (Spiritual Activism 101 webinar)
- @rachel.cargle (Free 30-day course!)