One year of insideWaterloo!

Reflecting on the year and looking forward to the future

It’s a year later, and we are still around. We’ve witnessed longstanding media entities and traditional journalism houses struggle to survive. The birth of the internet had begun to create a seismic impact on how we consumed news. Social media has shifted how we have come to define and interact with the truth. Specifically, it has come to express that the truth has been defined by what benefits the capitalist engine. 

So what does it mean to start a publication meant to work alongside the social justice shift? It is a significant risk to challenge the dominant narrative of a mid-sized Canadian city in the midst of a global civil rights movement, a deadly pandemic and a general sense of uncertainty. How would the community react? How would we rise to the occasion? A community that largely believes itself to be inclusive and representative of all its residents. insideWaterloo started as a conversation between two friends, adding a third, a few advisors along the way and ultimately a profound emotional impact on all of us. 

It is perhaps most fitting that our un(binary) issue would be our first anniversary publication. It represents in so many ways the path forward for our publication and a just world. To continue the work of breaking the binary of white supremacy and colonialism that is the underpinning of a capitalistic culture. We have changed our approach but never our commitment to narrative sovereignty, decolonised journalism and anti-oppressive, affirming storytelling. We have had to remind ourselves of this commitment often. As we unlearn our own internalised oppression and white supremacy, one can easily find comfort in the practices of colonialism that have defined “good work” for too long. 

(Art by Micah Bazant)

We spent the early days of this publication chasing the byline, hoping to stay abreast with our competitors who are larger, better resourced and follow the traditional ways of media. The un(binary) issue also aligns with our ongoing commitment to centre the voices as the most marginalised. We are living through violent, white supremacist organising. History teaches us that the Indigenous, Black, Queer, Trans, the disabled, ethnoreligious were and continue to be the primary targets of colonialism. This most current wave of the whitelash is targeting critical race theory, the audacity of transpeople to exist, Islamophobia, antisemitism, the accuracy of the discovery of more than 6,000 (and counting), Indigenous graves across Turtle Island and more. We are not able to list all the ways white supremacy reinvents itself to disrupt the achievements of communities of people that thrive in spite of all the commitment to erase them. This is the resetting of the dominant binary of white supremacy culture.

On this our first anniversary, we are still engaged in many of the conversations we started with our first publication. It is an affirmation that we are needed but a sober reminder that to reject the dominant narrative is to swim against the tide, against the system that oppresses. If you are here, we hope it means that you share in our dedication to sovereign, anti-racist futures. We hope it is an indication that you recognise that journalism is not a bystander in the work of social justice. insideWaterloo was created to hold space. We’re here, get used to having us around. 

~The insideWaterloo Team

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