There’s something exciting happening.
I’ve been wanting to talk about this on the blog for a while but didn’t want to speak too soon and see it not happen. It looks as though we’re all set up for the event, so now I can let you guys know what I’ve got planned.
At the end of this month, I have helped set up a craft and social group with the local Islamic Centre/mosque. It’s going to be an informal thing here in Oshawa where we sit and chat and knit/craft while breaking down social barriers.
I had the idea after I went to a vigil for the Quebec mosque shooting early this year. The imam spoke of islamophobia and how they face it every day, and I could see how it was going to get so much worse and a lot of the ignorance comes from these lines we put up in society that say you should only interact with certain people. At a distance, anyone can seem scary because you only rely on stereotypes and rumours. Sitting down with other people and getting to know them is the only way to overcome this. It’s a form of education that’s incredibly easy and fun, so I thought: I should try to do that.
Of course, my mind went to craft because I love it, and because I think it’s a really good way to bring people together. After all, it’s how I found a place in Ontario when I moved here from England, and I think it’s a great way to meet and understand new people/cultures. Though England isn’t that different from Canada I still suffered from an insane amount of culture shock at the beginning but through going every week to my knitting group I understand everything a lot better now, and I have some wonderful friends to show for it.
With that in mind I sent a clumsy, awkward email to the mosque asking if they would be interested in something like that, and after a back-and-forth for a couple of weeks I met up with a lovely woman at the mosque. We chatted for a while and talked over what we could do. We’re going to run the group at the end of March, though we don’t have a set date just yet, and I’m really excited about it.
Ever since Trump was elected I realised that I can’t just think about doing things any more: I have to get past my fear of getting outside my comfort zone and act. Fortunately, I’m in a place emotionally/physically where I can do that now, so I have forced myself past the discomfort and it feels awesome. It’s such a small thing but it’s something.
If you’re thinking of doing something like this, I really think it’s worthwhile. And if I can help you in any way, please let me know. Even if you just wanna talk about it. I’m determined to make small changes in the world because I truly believe that grassroots movements are the only way for lasting change, so I’d be happy to speak with others who feel the same way.
Maybe I’m just an idealist, but at least I’m not the only one.