Wisconsin Notes:

Nikki is  PURE BADASS and a hugely deserving winner of the SHABOOYA AWARD. Keep quietly crushing it, girl.

Cassandra is one of our biggest recruiters and brought out the HYPE last week with a sweet Radio Canada interview and video. Might be the first french coverage of an NP workout. We made that up. Anyways, Cassandra is a VERY deserving winner of a pop-up positivity award.

 GUEST BLOG by Renée:

 

Last year I had the opportunity to blog about how November Project—and more specifically, November Project Winnipeg—played a significant role in helping me adapt to living in Winnipeg (I had recently moved from Ottawa, a city that at the time did not have a tribe #pledgingaswespeak). While I could easily produce a few more lines of text related to my personal experience, this time, I’d like to tackle the significance, the importance and even the necessity of November Project in relation to some unfortunate current events (read on, I promise it won’t be too painful).

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In Canada, we champion a narrative that suggests we are more welcoming than other countries. Here, everyone is part of the mosaic; xenophobia, racism, and sexism are not the norm. For the most part, we do live in a generally tolerant and peaceful country. But every now and again, something happens to erode that narrative…

The horrific shooting that happened in Quebec City a few weeks ago is one such event. This is not the place to debate some of the larger complexities surrounding what happened, nor is it the place to address some of the more inconspicuous problems regarding cultural tolerance. That said, I think it might be a moment to reflect on why hugs and community-driven free fitness are part of the solution.

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There is no denying that peaceful protests and marches do their part in addressing inequality, political issues, and in providing a voice for the ‘every person’ who may not have a platform or soapbox. However, most of these marches and events are singular one-offs. Some people march, only to return home and carry on with their lives. Some people ‘like’ Facebook posts or Instagram pictures about social issues—a form of ‘clicktivism’—but don’t necessarily translate that into action into the everyday.

A colleague that I hold in high regard was directly impacted by the events in Quebec City. I asked him what I could do to help—what people could do to help. And he said to me: “Get to know your fellow citizens. Commune with them. That’s how you fight fear and ignorance.” (For those of you who may not appreciate the spiritual/religious connotation of the verb ‘to commune’, note that it could easily be replaced with the more ‘millennial’ “interface with people”.)

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To my mind, there is no better opportunity for ‘communing’ with the Other than at November Project. Unlike the one-time Facebook ‘like’ or the odd protest, November Project, which involves spreading a little love, a little sweat and a little inclusivity, is a weekly commitment to bridging cultural, racial, gender, and religious gaps. You’ll tell me that not everything should be political, the least of which should be working out. I agree. And I’m not asking anyone to give up any of their larger belief systems. I’m just asking you to keep showing up. Because every time we show up, we conquer divisiveness bit by bit. Every time we show up, we show that hate has no place in our community. Every time we show up, we show that our differences can be combined to create the best damn workout the universe has ever known (It’s true. The workouts are great. The best. You should try them. So great, they’re bigly.) Every time we include one more stranger into the fold, we say no to exclusivity and yes to inclusivity. Research shows (#qualitativedata) that facial expressions and non-verbal communication can be ‘contagious’. So imagine just how infectious 100+ smiles every Wednesday can be (#empiricaldata)…

I don’t want to proselytize too much, but I do invite you to think of November Project as one tangible action you can take to make a stranger’s day a little bit happier; to make someone different feel a little more included; to help those who may feel completely disenfranchised and ostracized by what’s happening in the world feel a bit more safe. In so doing, we rise. Collectively.

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You can’t spell community without unity. And you can’t have unity without communing. See that logic? Those words? It’s so logical; the best logic. The best words.

Thanks for showing up YWG. Let’s keep fighting the good fight.

Renée

#QualitativeData (YWG)
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