October 19, 2017

See Us RISE


CHARLOTTE KIDDELL
National Deputy Chairperson

The Canadian Federation of Students’ Racialized and Indigenous Student Experience (RISE) Summit centres the work and experiences of racialized and Indigenous students in our national student movement. The RISE Summit was initiated by and for the racialized and Indigenous leaders as a closed space in which to develop our skills, share our experiences, and direct the Federation’s work to challenge racism and colonialism. RISE is the gathering, sharing, and celebration of students’ ongoing work to ensure our resistance always aims to dismantle racist, colonialist, white supremacist systems of power and oppression. This weekend, I had the honour of joining students from across the country to (un)learn, organize, and move toward healing.

I am constantly inspired by the racialized and Indigenous students of our movement. This weekend, we heard from students who are already doing the radical work of resistance on their campuses and in their communities, as well as those who are just getting started. Together, we learned about the history, context, and tools of our resistance. We created spaces in which to reflect upon our identities, surrounded by people who validate our experiences. We also did the necessary work of challenging the tensions and oppressions that exist between and within racialized and Indigenous communities in a deeper way than is possible when navigating whiteness. Above all, we expanded a community of racialized and Indigenous students that support one another’s work and have one another’s backs.

The learning and unlearning I did this weekend made me a stronger person, activist, and elected representative. The power and brilliance of racialized and Indigenous students I experienced makes me more motivated than ever to fight for anti-racist and anti-colonial justice, within a united network of students from coast to coast.
It is humbling to be in a position of national leadership amongst so many who led me in my own learning about what it means to be a racialized, Asian, settler woman, and how that informs my fight for racial justice. I am immeasurably grateful to all, especially the inspiring racialized and Indigenous women, who have done this work before me and continue this work alongside me.

RISE was organized by student representatives with the intent to give students what they need to continue their work on the ground. As organizers, we provided the space, but it is the students across the country who are doing the essential work. Now that students are back home, we will take what we have gained from RISE and pour it into our ongoing anti-racist and anti-colonialist work across the country. This is the true work of our movement. Racialized and Indigenous leaders are at the heart of our student movement, and we will continue to RISE.