“We are here to learn from those with lived experience of systemic injustice, in the hope that we can create awareness and change for injustices that continue today.” said co-host and Next Up participant Caitlin Peiris as the Next Up Saskatchewan Human Library began on Monday, March 21. Under the title of Reconciliation, Redress, Remembering, and Resilience, the event brought together fifteen Saskatchewan residents as “human books” to share their stories of injustice and their responses to it with about 75 “readers”.
“Canadians are grappling with this concept in the wake of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” said current Next Up participant Justin Fisher. “This Human Library is a way to engage the community in discussions of the different forms of systemic injustices people face here, how they’re responding to it, and how we can all contribute positively to addressing those injustices.”
Stories at the Human Library ranged from recent incidents of racial profiling and police brutality, to the legacies of the 60s scoop and Japanese-Canadian internment, and the discrimination faced by sex industry workers, among others. Readers participated in six rounds of “borrowing” at the human library, meaning they got to hear six of the fifteen stories. In the anonymous feedback they left on flip charts at the end of the night (see photo), one participant said the event gave them "a more meaningful definition for reconciliation."
written by Tracey Mitchell and Justin Fisher
photo by Juliana Pelinsom Marques