“Radical Wellness Week” looks at systems of oppression and their influence on wellness

Photo by Jackie Vang

From Mar. 18 to 22, the Centre for Student Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is hosting a “Radical Wellness Week” to get students thinking about how systems of oppression influence our experiences of wellness and to broaden our understanding of wellness as a whole.

Throughout the week there will be eight separate events that focus on a variety of health and wellness topics, including fat-phobia, cultural underpinnings of disordered eating, the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) plan, LGBTQ+ safer sex, growing your own micro greens, reducing STI stigma, menstruation and environmental justice.

“The ways we think about being healthy or unhealthy can be confirmed by some of the biases we have. So, the hope for the week is to have us rethink wellness — broadly speaking — and to account for some of those forms of oppression,” said Tameera Mohamed, education and inclusion coordinator for the Centre.

Mohamed was one of the key organizers behind planning and creating the extensive list of events that will run during the week.

These events will be hosted by a number of local facilitators that have jumped on board to collaborate with Radical Wellness Week and help diversity the topics presented throughout the five days.

Mohamed explained that Radical Wellness Week is different than other wellness campaigns in that typical wellness campaigns work to address what we can do as an individual to improve our wellness. However, barriers and biases surrounding wellness continue to be present especially for those who are sidelined in wider society.

Ideally, this will be the first of many Radical Wellness Weeks on the Laurier Campus. Hopefully students who feel marginalized or misrepresented in our society can have the opportunity to feel included, heard, represented and educated on underemphasized wellness topics.

“I hope that students can come to a workshop or two and leave with a more critical analysis of whatever the topic is pertaining to health and wellness. So, I’m hoping that [this week] will help more generally when we are thinking about health and wellness and to take that critical lens,” Mohamed said.

This celebration of wellness comes shortly after Healing Justice Week, which ran through the Office of Dispute Resolution and Support in early March.

“Some students last year had mentioned having programming around healing justice, and as we were talking about putting that program together it kind of sparked the idea of talking about wellness more broadly and accounting for justice and wellness as well,” Mohamed said.

The final event of the week is going to be “a night of art and expression, celebration and solidarity.” It is called “Radical Bodies” and will be hosted at Verita’s Café on Mar. 22. Joni NehRita, a local R&B/soul artist and music educator, will be the special guest performer this year. Other acts alongside NehRita include some of Laurier’s talented students who have volunteered to perform Friday evening as well.

Ideally, this will be the first of many Radical Wellness Weeks on the Laurier Campus. Hopefully students who feel marginalized or misrepresented in our society can have the opportunity to feel included, heard, represented and educated on underemphasized wellness topics.

“I hope that students, who are on the margins or who have felt like traditional conversation about health and wellness haven’t spoken to their needs or their experiences, I hope that they can come to this week to get either tangible information or just feel like they are being seen and heard,” Mohamed said.

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