Writer Anais Nin once said: “We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.” Our perspectives, ideals, and circumstances can shape how we view and understand everything. Those who are Christian see a cross and recognise it as a sign of faith. Scientists, engineers and mathematicians may look at the same cross and see the sign for addition. “We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.”
Our relationship to the world is thus impacted by who we are and the privileges we experience. If we are among those for whom hard work has led to success, we may assume that the same opportunities for success are available to everyone who chooses to work hard. In fact, however, we may not have experienced barriers that could undermine opportunities for success in the ways that others do. The result is that, while we make assumptions based on our experiences, we miss the reality that our experiences are not the same as others. “We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.”
It is the hope of Respect Justice Camp to create opportunities to see things differently. Through interactive experiences, we endeavour to encourage participants to acknowledge the blessings and challenges confronted by others and creation itself. The desire is to create space in which we may become more deeply attuned to the realities of others including the barriers that undermine full and meaningful participation in society.
Specifically, immersion experiences seek to highlight the ways in which:
- The instability that comes with living in poverty undermines education opportunities and establishes different priorities because survival is continually in question. (see Collaboration with those Living in Poverty)
- People living with disabilities continue to face multiple barriers that undermine access and opportunities. (see Respect for and Collaboration with People with Disabilities)
- First Nations are often stereotyped in ways that undermine their wisdom and value outside of their communities. (see Collaboration with First Nations)
- Mental health is the assumed default creating stereotypes and stigma for those who suffer from mental health setbacks (see Respect for and Collaboration around Mental Health)
- Arbitrary lines on a map define who belongs and who is stranger leaving space for the latter to be exploited as outsider and less important. (see Collaboration with Migrant Workers)
- Those who are considered ‘different’ because they don’t conform to the binary norms of gender and sexuality can be treated as somehow ‘immoral’ by those who benefit from these social constructs. (see Respect for LGBTQ+)
- And creation itself can be viewed as a tool for human benefit without full consideration of the implications of our relationship with it. (see Respect for Creation)
“We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.” Who we are is continually evolving and changing. As we seek experiences which help us to better understand the realities of the world around us, we strengthen our ability to love as Jesus loved and live the Marks of Mission.
Respect Justice Camp is open to those 18 and over and will be hosted at St. Clair College in Windsor, August 13-19, 2019. Check out our website: justicecamp.ca, Facebook page: Respect Justice Camp and Twitter feed: @CampRespect for more information and registration.