Political Gets Personal: Personal Gets Political

By Sadiyah Jamal

McMaster Indigenous Community Alliance (MISCA)

I was volunteering at an event to raise awareness about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. There was a display set up in the student centre atrium telling the stories of Indigenous women from all over Canada who had been stolen.

I was handing out info cards at the event, and when I wasn’t doing that I was reading the stories myself. The more I read the harder it became for me to keep talking to people about it, yet I could hear my voice became more and more genuine. 
One story that really struck me was of a woman who had been stolen on October 7, 1995. As I read the date that this woman had been stolen, fear wrapped itself around me. I was one month and one day old when this woman was stolen, and she had yet to be found. More than twenty years later, and she is still missing. 
I was told recently that I’d become very vocal in the past few months about various social issues, and I was thinking and trying to figure out why that had happened. When I was handing out info cards at this event and reading the stories and trying not to let the dread take over me, that’s when I got my answer.

 “…when I got angry about the state of the world, that’s when I began thinking.”

When I opened myself up to learning and listening, when these tragedies became realities and when I got angry about the state of the world, that’s when I began thinking. When I realized that silence was no longer an option (and never had been) that’s when I began speaking up. When I realized that when so many people have the same “personal issues” it is no longer personal. That’s when the personal becomes political, and that’s when I began trying to take action.

Find MISCA and other OPIRG Working Groups on our website at opirg.ca/groups 
The event described was co-sponsored with WGEN and ISP McMaster, Nov. 6/15