September 2020 Update

September @ SOVI

Image: Life Matters from Pexels There’s a lot going on. It’s overwhelming. And it’s inspiring. As we dash through our days where so many previous non-decisions are now a constant weighing of risk and priority, and previous life choices have simply been taken away, we ask, what do we do now?

Our sector is grappling with ongoing shifts in funding priorities, a sudden inability to travel overseas, shrunken budgets from fundraising shortfalls, job loss, and general weariness from everyone - including ourselves - stemming from apocalypse fatigue (to borrow the term from climate change, and extend the concept to our current pandemic and fight for racial justice.)

Sometimes, we just need a cozy blanket and a long novel. Or maybe your self-care is a hike in the forested hills of the South Island, or a paddle in the Salish Sea at sunrise: taking the time to take care for ourselves as we grapple with the world as we now find it is essential - because we have work to do.

The Fridays for Future are back, and our youth will not stay silent as we bargain with their futures. Black Lives Matter is shaking our justice systems to the core, and forcing a reckoning of the pervasive racism in our structures of governance and law. COVID-19 is spreading more rapidly again, demanding immediate actions in our daily lives, and challenging us to seize the moment for change, and think deeply on how we want our country, and our world, to look after this seismic shift.

So what do we do now? We pause. We think. We act.

Whether it’s demanding a justice, equity, diversity and inclusion assessment or decolonizing of your workplace, re-aligning your fundraising so that it’s community-centric, a socially distanced climate protest, calling in your family and friends when they’re racist, or taking other intentional, conscientious steps to make the world a better place - these are the ways to navigate the cognitive dissonance between our words of justice and our world of injustice.

SOVI has taken some time to critically navigate our own perpetuation of privilege and systemic racism, and have shifted to more of a feminist model of governance and leadership. We are moving forward with our planned fall anti-racism and justice programming with deep intention - we are prioritizing an effort to work in a good way, and we hope that you will come along with us on our journey.

In our re-vamped newsletter, you’ll find an overview of upcoming CRD and online events on international development and social justice, and get a sense of SOVI’s ongoing priorities of community building in the CRD, and bringing together international development practitioners, aspiring practitioners, and like-minded folks in our effort to make the world a better place for all.

Thank you for your continued support, and looking forward to connecting our work with yours.

In solidarity,
Rachel & Ruth


Our team is growing! We've added a few folks to our roster, including Cristina Venturin as our Youth Chair. Cristina is a Political Science student at University of Victoria, interested in Humanitarian Law and Political Activism. Welcome, Cristina - we are thrilled to have your involvement as engage even more young Victorians.


Image: @mindovermatter_2020
September 21 is International Day of Peace, a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire. This year's theme ‘Shaping Peace Together’ stressed that we are not each other’s enemies, and that we should be unified against the coronavirus - a threat to us all.

Image: @VictoriaSexualAssaultCentre
The final week of this month was Gender Equality Week, an opportunity to highlight the important contributions women and gender diverse communities have made on identity of Canada. The 2020 theme #BecauseOfYou celebrates the trailblazers, activists, and advocates working to advance gender equality in their communities.


  • SOVI Conversations: Autumn | Date TBD
    • The next installment of our virtual seminar series. Seeking solutions to end systemic racism in public-serving sectors in the CRD through critical communities of practice working across disciplines
    • Registration details to come
  • Go Buy Bike Week | September 28 – October 4
    • Formerly Bike To Work Week, this week-long event encourages folks to use bicycles for everyday transportation
    • Register and log your trips on
  • Orange Shirt Day | September 30
    • UVic is hosting a free online event featuring Chancellor Shelagh Rogers’ in discussion with with Phyllis Webstad, whose residential school experience sparked the drive to recognize Orange Shirt Day
    • Event details at
  • #Open17Water Challenge | September 7 - October 4
    • A global youth pitch competition focused on Urban Water Resilience. Win a chance to present it to United Nations experts in Geneva, Switzerland and realize your project with experts
    • Details at
  • Predict & Surveil: Racism in Policing & Surveillance Tech | October 6
    • An expert discussion on anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism, surveillance, and criminalization through the rise of invasive digital technologies
    • Registration details at
  • Ethics in Public Engagement | October 8


"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced." - James Baldwin

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