I would like to thank Ellis Greenberg, Isabella Lyne, and Mari Piggott and the many student volunteers for continuing the tradition and legacy of the Power, Race, and Privilege Symposium, started by Aïda Ndiaye and Valeria Vergani in 2016. The organizers of PRP went above and beyond and dedicated themselves to a cause greater than life, a cause essential to the very land we stand on, the traditional territory of the Squamish Nation. However, to simply thank them is to do little more than to adhere to the Canadian norms of niceness.
In the past year I have often felt an exaggerated sense of pessimism about student engagement and a lack of investment in our so called “communities.” However, when I saw how the Power, Race, and Privilege Symposium brought together so many students, it gave me hope; it made me realize that it is possible to overcome complacency and commit to a cause greater than life. It is this kind of investment that our communities need. Additionally, Ellis, Bella, and Mari’s acknowledgement of their whiteness in their closing remarks reminds us that not only do we need to invest ourselves, but to also continuously and critically reflect on our position. Their remarks demonstrate how engaging in allyship requires both looking beyond and within ourselves.
The symposium’s panelists made several calls to action. I do not have a prescription for that action, but what is clear to me is that we must do more than say thank you. If we fail to step up to those calls to action, then our thank-yous mean very little.