an ode to joy, aunt jay pitter + heart
This is the fifth piece for interrobang, ?!, our arts+culture column. A film review was first, odes to joy: sanna wani second, odes to joy: alfabet/alphabet by s. de meijer third, followed fourth by a thank you note to a transit bus driver.
Context: Been a long time since I’ve written regularly in public in a way that is serious, sincere, and specific. The following blog post is part of a collection in various states of completion called odes of joy. We (me, myself, and I) are very lucky to have some splendiferous aunties. This is on one of them.
Consider listening to To My Love - Tainy Remix by Bombo Estéreo, Tainy.
A short version of this is:
Aunt Jay Pitter is one of the kindest, sincerest, and honest forces (read: essential ingredient) in my life. It has been a gift to have grown up and being able to call her family. We had a short exchange recently and as I often do when trying to translate something more poetically, beautifully, I ask myself, "What would Jasmine Gui do?" & so, I redacted most of our lovely exchange after laying out just the first half.
Often think about, given how my brain is:
Something that the incredible Shaquille Bulhi wrote over a year ago,
"I need one of these Canadian higher education institutions to have the courage and might to celebrate Black women outside of Black History Month and honour Auntie Jay Pitter. Today, her Engaging Black People and Power Conference was life-changing for me and for the North American Black consciousness. She single-handedly remodelled the conversations around urban planning and how that looks like for anti-black racism work. I'm moved on how Black Joy and Power was centred and how my existence today was heightened by the wisdom in this virtual gathering. It was next level, and everyone I know should watch this conference. Let's put words into action by actually honouring Auntie Jay Pitter with the title we all know she more than deserves. She deserves an honorary doctorate degree for her contributions to the urban planning field thus far. This is not just for the title itself but for the societal contributions. She has humanized black bodies in a world that keeps telling us that we can be discarded at any time and moment. Let's just start and honour her now cause her work will continue to catapult us into thinking harder and smarter on how to engage a multi-racial united coalition. I'm a proud nephew today"
What I Will Remember About Today:
Trying, cautious, good odd, wild heart. It will make sense, it will add up. My dear aunt arriving so gently, swiftly leaving me bawling so confidently in the silent study area of the public library.
ps. InshAllah (God willing), if all goes well we will be hosting a Freedom of Information, Access to Information and Protection of Privacy (ATIPP) workshop so this graphic feels extra ... poetic.
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