An End-of-term Message from your 2020-21 UWSA VP External Affairs, Jonathan Henderson
Aniin, tansi, boozhoo, hello, this has been a very difficult, trying year for all of us during this pandemic. 2020 brought a lot of personal loss of loved ones. What I realized is our entire community of the University of Winnipeg has a very strong spirit. Sure we are not perfect, but we persevere. I have been so blessed and humbled by the support, not only from the UWSA but from both current and former classmates and teachers, reaching out with love and support. I was also honoured to provide empathy and compassion that was shown me, back to those that reach out and shared their personal losses. That really helped in my healing and grieving journey. We all have experienced added stress and anxiety during this pandemic, the biggest message I want to send at this time, please reach out for help and support. We all need that extra love from one another, a kind comment on social media is our reality, since we cannot physically hug, but reaching out and spreading love is what connects us to our humanity towards each other, helping each other when we get knocked down in life. Just hearing, “you got this” sometimes is that extra encouragement is what you need to hear, but also do not be afraid to say you love each other. I know this can be difficult for some, but it does lift one’s spirit.
Within this role as Vice-President of External Affairs, I had the honour to advocate on behalf of students against Bill 33 – the advance education administration act. This gave so much valuable experience and knowledge regarding advocacy at that level, working with the government. Although the Bill has passed to a final reading, the pressure put on us students and student leaders across Manitoba, got an amendment to the Bill that will leave student fees alone. Which is was one of the goals of our campaign. Also, working on the Positive Space Policy was humbling, to have that pass and get approved after consultations with students, staff, and faculty, truly was a blessed experience. Finally, I want to touch on the Campaigns & External Relations Committee. This group did some amazing work, not only helping with the Positive Space Policy and other business, but the highlight was our approval of a $5,000 donation to Eisha Hudson’s family for support in their quest for justice for their daughter Eisha, on behalf of the UWSA.
Moving forward in this next term, utilizing what I have already learned, will continue with consultation processes with students, to pursue more active student engagement. This will certainly evolve the continued growth of the Positive Space Policy. And working with the new incoming Executives, looking forward to working together as a team, to address what concerns and advocacy that is brought forth, from you our student body, in the upcoming year. The attitude and ideology I will continue to lead with come from my Indigenous roots, with more focus on honouring our past generations, but also have the mentality of thinking about generations ahead in the work I do this year.
Again, if you feel you need to talk to someone, even to just vent, please reach out to your supports. I want also to let you know that I am offering my time as well to be one of those supports if you need to. I have been through a lot and can definitely share an empathetic ear and compassionate dialogue from the heart. Stay safe, and focused in your academic journeys, much love to you all.
2020/21 Vice-President External Affairs
University of Winnipeg Students’ Association