There is wonder in learning about the life experience and courage of others, gaining empathy and choosing actions in the spirit of justice, respect, and compassion. Join us for a weekend of learning and appreciation through speaker presentations, interactive discussions, spoken word and other poetry, storytelling, art, and music.
Those who are born into socio-economic, racial, gender, sexual or cultural privilege are often unable to see how their actions or non-actions affect others.
May we see the injustices of this world with eyes wide open and experience the wonder of our interconnectedness – embracing diversity and developing the courage to hear others and find ways to voice solidarity with those who are marginalized.
NOTE: Due to COVID restrictions, this conference is now being delivered online to be experienced interactively using the zoom platform. As a satellite community of SSUC in Edmonton, creating community from a distance is part of our natural state of being. You will be invited to create a quiet space in your own home so you can be intentional about fully engaging with the speakers and fellow participants on this provocative issue of systemic racism and white privilege.
Ali Abukar accepted the position of CEO for The Saskatoon Open Door Society in 2015 amid the Syrian Crisis. His personal experience as a refugee and immigrant along with his education and work experience have served him well in this role. He has fostered relationships between newcomers to Saskatoon and employers, community partners and members of the Indigenous community. He is passionate about social justice, addressing inequity through engagement in courageous conversations and support for movements like Idle No More, Black Lives Matter and more. Ali is quoted as saying, “It takes humility and compassion to acknowledge systemic issues of racism and oppression, but it is important. We have a responsibility to those people who are saying, ‘We experience this,’ to acknowledge that and take action where we can — and where we can’t, (to) stand in solidarity of those demands for something to be done about these experiences and to stand against injustice, intolerance and bigotry behaviours. We must strive together and continue that work, keeping each other accountable for these things. It’s not enough to ‘not be a racist’, but be an ‘antiracist’.”
Ernie Louttit is a member of the Missanabie Cree First Nation in northern Ontario. In 1978 he joined the Canadian Armed Forces serving 5 years in the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry attaining the rank of Master Corporal. Ernie changed trades to become a Military Policeman and served until 1987. He then joined the Saskatoon Police as the third native police officer in the force’s history. Issues of crime, violence and racist attitudes going both ways dominated most of his career. Through all of this he tried to keep it all in perspective realizing so many of the things happening were the residual effects of past wrongs and injustices. He spent nearly his entire career as a uniformed patrol officer and eventually was promoted to Sergeant. Since Ernie retired in October of 2013 he is now an award winning author of “Indian Ernie: Perspectives on Leadership and Policing”, and has also written “More Indian Ernie: Insights from the Streets” and “The Unexpected Cop”. In his speaking engagements, he gives an honest and insightful look into his world focussing on themes of strong leadership, tolerance and empathy. He blows the lid off of taboo topics around policing, racism, and violence sharing his stories with the goal of inspiring leadership in each and every one of us.
Mitch Babin was born and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. His artist gifts began to emerge at a very young age taking shape in various forms – crafting, drawing, painting, musical endeavours and writing. Following high school Mitch became a commercial and residential house painter by trade, but his inner voice kept calling him to express his art. He began to dabble in other art forms including film set design, website design, digital marketing campaigns, writing poetry and song lyrics, screen printing and aerosol art. All self-taught, Mitch continues to hone his artistic skills, more recently expanding his repertoire to include acrylic prairie landscapes on canvas and on model trains, and “bigger than life-size” murals. Passionate about dissecting and challenging power structures and privilege in their many forms, Mitch’s life has boldly followed a path less chosen. He recently moved from the city to a small town in Saskatchewan where he lives a very modest life. His pride and joy is the studio space he has created where he devotes full time to art. Mitch finds inspiration in many places, but often when he is out on the land. You can find Mitch’s work on Facebook at Babin Artwork, and on Instagram at broscollab.
Spiritual Gathering Leaders
Nancy Steeves & Christopher New
Nancy Steeves and Christopher New are in team ministry at Southminster-Steinhauer United Church in Edmonton. They lead SSUC ( Spiritual Seekers United in Community) in unique ways of gathering, congruent with expansive spirituality. Nancy celebrates being a part of a diverse community of seekers who honour experience, seek inspiration from a variety of sources, are committed to social justice, and strive to live the values of our deepest and highest humanity. Chris is a minister and pianist who composes new music for congregational singing that expresses our deepest spirituality for the 21st century regardless of creed, tradition or custom.
Gretta Vosper & Scott Kearns
Gretta Vosper is the minister and her husband, Scott Kearns, is the musical director at West Hill United Church in Toronto – a progressive spiritual community where how you live is more important than what you believe. Gretta is a Best-Selling author of two books: With or Without God: Why the way we live is more important than what we believe, and Amen: What prayer can mean in a world beyond belief. Scott, has a M. Div., is a pianist and composer who has written many pieces of music for spiritual gatherings and special occasions, which highlight the spiritual values that unite us and challenge us to full, dynamic living.
Friday October 2
6:30pm Join and Mingle
7:00pm Coffee House (getting acquainted, intro to presenter, music and local talent)
Saturday October 3
8:30am Join and Mingle
9:30am Ali Abukar: “Being an Antiracist”
11:00am Ali Abukar follow-up interactive workshop
12:00pm Lunch break
1:30pm Ernie Louttit: “Insights from the Streets”
2:45pm Ernie Louttit follow-up interactive workshop
4:00pm Mitch Babin (view pieces of his artwork and hear about his journey)
5:00pm Closing message
Sunday October 4
10:00am Spiritual Gathering (All are welcome)
11:15am Closing message