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WELCOME

My name is Abby Isaac, I’m an undergraduate student at the University of Alberta, and I am so excited to welcome you to Imagine That 2021! As the lead organizer for this conference, it seems surreal to be writing this letter to you… I’m feeling so many things! 

My idea for this event originated with the guiding question “What do I wish I knew” as a first generation young Black woman born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta. There is so much I wish I could go back and tell myself when I was a teenager, and watching the workshops for this conference become a reality feels like I’m completing a magical full-circle-moment in my life. 

I started by thinking about the more personal, vulnerable areas of confusion I dealt with (like beauty standards that I could not see myself in, for example). From there, I began reflecting on some of the language I wish I knew to express my feelings earlier on, and the community I wish I had. My hope is that through the workshops, you will find yourself relating to each other’s experiences as we share stories and learn new language together. 

Lastly, I thought about how I engaged with the larger, oppressive systems around me. Issues like racism and sexism (to name a few), seemed too big for me to handle. I remember believing that “I could only do so much,” that my impact was limited, and that my experiences were isolated. I later found community with people who looked like and related to me. Everything changed, and I began to allow myself to imagine my life without barriers related to my identity. 

As one of my literary heroes Toni Morrison would say, “dreaming is our first-order human business, […] it is work.” Dreaming is important. We must first imagine a beautiful world to work towards it. “Imagine That” is here to encourage and protect your right to dream into reality a world that might not exist for you yet. 

With a supportive community, it is possible to create a safe environment where equity, complexity, and difference is celebrated and valued. Having been where you are now, I can tell you that you deserve it. 

Thank you for being here – for reading this. I am looking forward to learning from our incredible speakers alongside you.  

See you soon,  

Abby 

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