December 3, 2020 by Speakers' Spotlight
Jamil Jivani Joins Colleagues in Launching New Initiative
In an effort to spotlight writers and content creators who challenge dominant media narratives imposed on people of colour, Jamil Jivani has co-founded a new initiative. Speak for Ourselves, was founded by Jamil, alongside Macdonald-Laurier Institute senior fellows Shuvaloy Majumdar and Kaveh Shahrooz, with the mission statement of welcoming “individuals from across the political spectrum who dare to step outside of conventional ideological boundaries to offer authentic and informed perspectives on issues such as prosperity, safety, education, opportunity, identity, and much more.”
Together they published a piece in the Toronto Star earlier this week, outlining what they see as a trend of growing hostility across Western democracies towards members of minority communities that break with “ideological orthodoxy.”
That’s why today, we, three people of colour who don’t always agree politically, are launching the Speak for Ourselves initiative to combat the pernicious ideology that reduces all differences between people to those of race, sex and other immutable characteristics. Housed at Ottawa’s Macdonald-Laurier Institute, Speak for Ourselves will highlight the work of writers and content creators who challenge the simplistic narratives imposed upon people of colour.
We believe that while each person’s views may be informed by their lived experiences, all people are unique and entitled to think and speak for themselves. It’s necessary to combat any ideology that requires people of colour to speak only in support of one world view.
The column goes on to criticize media coverage of race and identity issues as “a monotonous collection of stories affirming the same narratives that treat minorities as both monolithic and victimized.” The authors argue that as we move through the pandemic which has disproportionately affected people of colour, and eventually towards recovery, it’s more important than ever to strive for a true diversity of ideas and voices.
Jamil Jivani tackles some of the biggest challenges in the world as a lawyer, community organizer, and teacher. With research and teaching appointments at Yale Law School and Osgoode Hall Law School, Jamil focuses on issues that impact youth, immigrants, and low-income families. He is also the founder of the Citizen Empowerment Project, a public education organization that leads initiatives related to policing, racial profiling, democratic participation, voter turnout, and economic development.