Meghan Miller Cronkrite
Country of Origin:
Citizenship, Immigration, Racism/Discrimination, Human Rights & Social Justice, Identity & Heritage, Multiculturalism & Diversity, Adjusting to Life in Canada
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Professionally, I am the Community Outreach Manager at Westman Immigrant Services, where I routinely visit schools, community groups, and organizations to provide information about cultural adaptation, immigration, including services available to newcomers in Manitoba. A critical part of my work in the community involves facilitating discussions about cultural diversity and living with difference.
Currently I am completing an MA in Intercultural and International Communications, where my research interests include cultural studies in a rural context related to: immigration, identity, intercultural relations, and community development. Over the past year, I have also worked with Brandon University and Rural Development Institute in researching immigration in Manitoba (https://www.brandonu.ca/rdi/publication-topic/manitoba/).
I am also involved in several community groups, such as the Brandon Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation Small Grants Committee, and I volunteer with the Brandon Sunset Rotary Club.
Personally, the story of my heritage reflects two different realities of settlement. My mother and father's sides settled in rural Manitoba around the turn of the 20th Century, but based on their country of origin they experienced vastly different lives in Canada. My father's side came from Western Europe (Scotland and England) and were able to settle in the fertile land Northwest of Brandon, Manitoba. My family was welcomed into the budding community and still today run a successful farm in the area. In contrast, my mother's side emigrated from Eastern Europe (Poland and Ukraine). This side of my family struggled as they tried to settle in Canada. Amidst perceived discrimination, my family attempted to assimilate into the 'British' culture. My family didn't speak Ukrainian outside of the home, the language was not passed down to children, and my family refrained from participating in traditional Ukrainian culture. Today, I feel a sense of loss that this side of my heritage was purposely forgotten.
This story has led me to consider myself as a human rights activist. I hope to create change in our communities, where cultural diversity is celebrated rather than limited.
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood." (10 December 1948. United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 1. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/)
Please take a moment to watch my recent film about activism and Islamophobia, "Keep Walking Forward": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4OY4s9pQ_c
More on "Keep Walking Forward": http://www.westmanjournal.com/news/local-news/local-filmmaker-doing-her-best-to-bridge-the-divide-1.2751608