Last week, UTMSU organized the Xpression Against Oppression Week (XAO). The four-day event attempted to bring attention to various domestic and international issues from around the world. Some of the issues of particular focus for this week were homophobia, sexism, racism, xenophobia, aboriginal genocide and lessons that Canadians can learn from the American Civil Rights movement.
The week started off with the Queer Radicalism Awareness campaign, which aimed to trigger thoughts of how the LGBTQ community is often the subject of various oppressive mechanisms and verbal, emotional and physical injustices in society.
The highlight of the Queer Radicalism Awareness campaign was the Injustice Central Museum. The museum displayed various pieces of arts and pictures that depicted oppressed individuals and bought attention to their pleas and state from students and staff across campus.
XAO also looked at the historically oppressed First-Nations group. Cayugan of the Six Nations made a speech on the various forms of discrimination against First Nation Canadians. Cayugan spoke about the abuse of First Nations individuals at the turn of the century, focusing on residential schooling, systematic expulsion, and the destruction of language and religious practices
of Native Americans and their lands at the hands of the expanding communities of settlers and clergy.
On the final day of XAO, UTMSU and UTSU hosted a lecture featuring Angela Davis.
UTMSU VP equity Vickita Bhatt said the biggest success of XAO was seeing students come out to educate themselves about the issues of oppression that groups face globally. A lot of educational work needs to be undertaken on world issues and how the UTM community can come together under a united banner and fight against injustices, said Bhatt, adding that the fight for social-justice and for the rights of the oppressed has to extend longer than a week.
The campaign also bought attention to those who are suffering in Haiti. In partnership with an NGO called Free the Children, money is being raised for children in the earthquake-devastated region. The charity is working actively to provide basic necessities such as shelter, medicine and water for children who are the worst affected by the disaster. Free the Children also play an integral role in Haiti by fighting for the rights of children and preventing them from falling prey various forms of child-abuse. XAO raised funds to help the children of Haiti by selling XAO t-shirts, raising a total of $200. All the funds
that were collected were allocated