The Futures and Futurisms Issue is out now!
Illustration: Saul Freedman-Lawson
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THE FUTURE IS NOW
When I was in the third grade, our teacher had us write books about the future. I’m totally dating myself here, but she asked us to imagine the year 2000 and make an eight-page book that she would sew together. My book had scenes about robots making my bed and picking up the toys in my room. And, even though I really liked doing homework, robots would do that for me, too.
It’s kind of funny to reflect on that book now. When I made it, the year 2000 wasn’t really that far away, but I had anticipated that the clock would strike midnight, 1999 would become 2000, and, just like that, a whole new world.
I often dream of the future. One with way fewer robots than my eight-year-old self wanted, but one that is decolonial and anti-racist and disabled and just and free. I imagine this future in vivid ways — I can see it, feel it, almost touch it — and then, I’m back to reality: a garbage fire of 2020 that I had, even up until last year, imagined so differently.
As I write this letter, big things are happening across this land. Indigenous land defenders and allies are shutting down rail systems, putting a halt to a toxic economy. Elementary school teachers throughout Ontario are challenging austerity agendas and fighting so that no child gets left behind in public education. On a more local level, community members started a People’s Healing Fund to provide economic support to BIPOC healers in Toronto.
I share a future vision with these groups, but what I’m learning from watching, supporting and participating in these actions is that if we want to see a better 2100, 2050 or even a better 2021, we have to find ways to actively connect the future to our present. We have to live that future now, and protect it as sacred.
As I read through the stories in this issue, our futures issue, I’m grateful for the space to oscillate between honouring yesterday (p. 25), dreaming for tomorrow (p. 19), and acting today (p.6). I’m inspired by the stories of folks who are building a better world by time-traveling through it (p.14). I’m hopeful, and motivated to keep fighting.
As you read through the stories in this issue, I hope you too feel a sense of excitement and hope, inspiration to build a collective vision for tomorrow and motivation to realize it.