Updated: Jun 15
Name & Pronouns: Sarah Sauvé (she/her)
Day-to-Day Work: Postdoctoral Fellow, Cognitive Aging and Auditory Neuroscience Lab (CAANLab), Memorial University of Newfoundland
Involvement with the SJCNL: Member and Organizer in the Zero Waste Action Team Since 2020
Where Does Sarah Sauvé Call Home?
Sarah was born in Hull, Quebéc, which is now Gatineau, but as a teen moved to Nova Scotia, then Newfoundland and Labrador, completed grad school in London, England, and has since found her way back to YYT.
When asked about her origins, Sarah contemplated, “I think of myself as a bit of a nomad – I really enjoy travel, moving around, and I haven’t stayed in one place for more than a few years in my adult life. Thinking about staying in one place for longer than a few years still kind of makes me uncomfortable (though less than before). I feel like there’s so much I’ll miss out on if I stay in one place.”
It is SJC that has given Sarah a sense of belonging here. She considers Newfoundland & Labrador her home “and it’s because of the Co-op” she states. “I feel like I’ve found a community with which I can put down roots.”
Sarah’s Life Experiences all Led her Toward Social Justice Work
Sarah’s path to social justice started around age 16 when she attended the CISV Canada National Camp, an organization promoting cultural understanding and global leadership. A ten-year commitment to the organization honed Sarah’s ability to organize events on a local, national and international level. The ethos of CISV is to promote self-reflection, communication and the knowledge that people can truly affect change. Sarah recalls her experience of working with youth in China through her work with CISV.
The Duke of Edinburgh Award Programme, with its focus on physical fitness, skill, service, and adventurous journeys also cultivated leadership and determination in Sarah; she impressively completed gold, which is not an easy task! Through her multitude of experiences, Sarah ended up completing Grad school in the UK and even sailed partway around the world. All of these life experiences, coupled with her recent membership in the anti-capitalist x activist book club, have influenced Sarah to engage in social justice with great commitment. Sarah reflects, “[The book club] has been instrumental in fundamentally challenging and changing my worldview and, I think, made me a better activist because of my increased understanding of structural issues like capitalism, the prison industrial complex, border imperialism and settler colonialism to name a few, and how they interact.”
All Roads Lead to SJCNL
Sarah: “It was kind of a no-brainer for me. When I first moved back to NL, I had decided that from then on, I would focus more on myself instead of giving so much of my time to activism – things like Argentinian tango and friendships new and old. Over time, however, I couldn’t keep not doing anything about the global problems I kept coming up against. When a friend brought me to a Green New Drinks event, I knew I’d found my people here.”
Let’s Talk Core Beliefs
Sarah: “I identify as a feminist, anti-capitalist, abolitionist, anarchist, white, cis-gendered, highly educated, middle-class, neuro-typical woman. I essentially identify my sources of social privilege, which help frame where I’m coming from.“
Sarah Explains the Facets of her Ideology:
Feminism to me means equity between all genders. I’ve also read feminist critique of scientific research which is much more widespread as a politic than just equal access to opportunity, but I haven’t looked into it enough to articulate that particular politic properly.
Feminist science is a whole scientific epistemology.
Anti-capitalism is taking action against capitalism. Though none of us
can really live outside of it, we can do many small things in our everyday life to chip away at it (like reading radical literature, discussing and dreaming different futures with friends, refusing plastic wherever I can, refusing to buy what isn’t necessary).
Abolition is about removing prisons, policing and surveillance from our society and in its place, building communities based on care where everyone’s needs are met. It sounds like a utopia, but it really needn’t be. We’ve been tricked into believing that hardship and violence are necessary to a functioning society but we don’t need those things to be happy and safe. Abolition is about building a new future just as much as it is about taking down the prison industrial complex. Alternatives to cops and prisons will be different for each community based on its needs and there will be mistakes made, but we need to try hundreds of different experiments and just do it until we get there. Those are all lessons learned from Mariame Kaba’s We Do This ‘Til We Free Us.
Anarchy to me doesn’t mean fire, violence and chaos, as I’ve seen it portrayed in the media my whole life. It means community-based leadership and deep democracy, where we all have a say in what affects us. It’s decentralization and a focus on the local context.
Interested in Joining SJC?
Sarah feels that “feminism, anti-capitalism, abolition and anarchy are closely related politics and work together to combat systems of oppression and also build a better world. If this sounds at all appealing to you, check out the SJC’s Revolution of Care manifesto.”
Though joining was a no-brainer for Sarah, she recalls, “it took me a while to get used to the SJC’s structure; To understand the difference between the Co-op, the Coalitions, the board and membership. It took me a whole year after being involved to actually become a member; this is even though I’d been working with teams already.
Once I got used to the decentralized organizational structure, I started to feel more comfortable and knew that this is where I can build community. This is where I can really both make a difference and put down roots.”
What Makes this Work Worth it Despite the Challenges?
Sarah: “The relationships I’ve built through my social justice work have been everything.
I think it’s because being involved in leadership and social justice work has allowed me to be myself unapologetically, and I’m very open to new people.
I’m happy to share all of myself, and I try to be as open and non-judgemental as I can and accept all of someone else.”
Are There Wins?
“It’s incredibly rewarding to see the small wins we achieve through our work. An event, protest, march, or campaign might not have the desired effect on the seats of power that we want to influence immediately, but if we’ve brought one more person on board to the Revolution, it’s a win. In Mariame Kaba's book, she states that our ‘losses’ aren’t really losses because we are learning things and building momentum through our organization all the time.”
How Does this Fit into the Big Picture?
One day, we’ll achieve the big changes we want to see, but we have to keep working at it. ‘Do it with others –nothing worth doing is done alone’” (Mariama Kaba).
In addition to reading Mariama Kaba’s We Do This ‘Til We Free Us, Sarah highly recommends that we all read Pollution is Colonialism by Max Liboiron.