Equity Matters

December, 2021

Understanding Perspectives

Everyone experiences the month of December with their own lens, availing different perspectives on "the holidays", based on past and current experiences, cultural/religious beliefs, intersectional identities, and the ever-changing impact on our lives from Covid-19.

As we wrap up 2021, it is evident that we all want to spread love and joy to those around us. We do, however, need to be mindful that not all LDSB staff and students partake in the same religious/cultural traditions, or feel the same way about upcoming events.

In these times of uncertainty and irregular isolation, let's work collaboratively to ensure everyone feels supported and part of a caring community.

This newsletter hopes to provide information on and suggestions for how we can notice and name December's "truths", valuing all identities, perspectives, and experiences this season.

Truth #1: The "Winter Holiday Season" Begins Before and Extends Beyond December!

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How can we work towards evening out uneven emphasis on particular holidays over others?

Some Considerations for Inclusive Holiday Celebrations in the Workplace:

  • "One individual’s experience does not have to stand true for another’s. There is variance in how traditional holidays are recognized by observers.
  • Some people don’t celebrate any holidays at all.
  • Avoid making assumptions. Not knowing and asking is always better than expressing an assumption expecting validation.
  • Inclusive holiday celebrations do not mean a lack of recognition of Christmas. Rather, it means avoiding assumptions about those who celebrate it, not imposing its celebration on others and making space for other celebrations all year."

From: https://lunariasolutions.com/blog-post/holidays-inclusion-and-the-workplace-celebrate-belonging/

Some Considerations for Inclusive Celebrations in Schools:

Truth #2: Everyone Enters the Holidays with Their Own Perspective, Experience and Story

The holidays mean different things for different people. Some individuals are separated from their loved ones, and this can seem extra hard during this time where opportunities to celebrate with loved ones are assumed. For others, holiday events bring forth nostalgic memories of people and places of the past that are dearly missed in the present. Financial stress, home situations, obligations, and group dynamics can also cause additional anxiety and intense emotional feelings.

Here Are Some Helpful Tips To Support Yourself and Loved Ones Through Holiday Stressors

Here are 5 Self-Care Tips:

1. Exercise – Exercise is a great mood regulator. It reduces stress, improves mood and concentration and combats depression. Don’t skip your workouts.

2. Express Gratitude – Take time to reflect and appreciate the things that you are grateful for in your life. Little things matter too! Don’t forget to let others know the gratitude you feel.

3. Set Realistic Expectations – There is no such thing as a perfect holiday and this year will be no exception! Ask yourself if your goals are realistic and attainable. If not, stop it! Yeah, I said it. Stop it! Re-evaluate and modify. YOU are doing the best you can under the circumstances!

4. Feel – The holidays can evoke strong emotions (positive and negative) related to losses, relationships and family gatherings. It is okay to “pause” and acknowledge your feelings. Meditating, calling up a trusted friend to have a vent session or simply going for a walk may help to relieve unwanted tension.

5. Live in the Moment – Don’t get so wrapped up in yesterday or tomorrow that you don’t find time to gratify in the reason for the season; moments that make the holidays magical. Take notice of sights, sounds, and smells."

From: https://drgwenscounselorcafe.com/5-holiday-self-care-tips/

Here is a tip sheet from School Mental Health Ontario

Holiday Self Care Tips

Truth #3: Some Conversations and Visits with Family Members and Friends Are Challenging. It Helps to Feel Prepared.

8 Self Care Holiday Tips for LGBTQ Christians

Six tips for confronting friends and family members with opposing—and oppressive—points of view:

"Rania El Mugammar, a Toronto-based anti-oppression and equity consultant, says the anticipation of having to spend time with bigoted family members or friends can cause a lot of angst. “People become really stressed out,” she says. “They become withdrawn, they cancel on their families—or they attend the event and end up arguing and having a really horrible time.”

EL Mugammar runs a workshop before every major holiday called “Shut It Uncle Bob: Talking to racist family, friends and loved ones,” which consistently sells out. She says the workshop’s popularity has a lot to do with the fact that many people want to confront racist behaviour, but just don’t have the tools.

Sound familiar? Here are El Mugammar’s top tips to help you tackle your “Uncle Bob” and engage in a meaningful conversation that might just broaden his perspective—and maybe even change his point of view."


Truth #4: The Three R's Are Essential This Holiday Season!

Each and everyone one of you is supported, valued, and appreciated. 2021 has been tremendously stressful for a variety of reasons. We sincerely hope that you and your loved ones are able to take these next few weeks to engage in hobbies and activities that bring you joy.
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The Limestone Lens: We Are All Learning Together

As Limestone District School Board employees, we are all a part of this learning journey. If you have ideas about future equity topics or terminology, please contact Rae McDonald.