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  • Writer's pictureMichèle Newton

Compassion makes us whole

Updated: Mar 4, 2019

I support the movement. It’s unfortunate that we need to have Black History Month—it's just history and should be included in schools. — Ava

Instead of putting others in their place—put yourself in their place. —Amish proverb

Thoughts on Black History Month

I feel like it's unfortunate that we need to have a Black History Month because I feel like it's just history and I feel like it should be included. I do understand the movement and I really support it, especially in places like America where history’s pretty much been erased. There’s been an erasure of other cultures’ history in their school system and I feel like we have a little bit of a trickle-down effect here. In so many ways, the history that we are taught in schools doesn’t incorporate enough of both sides of the story, and all the aspects of different groups of people that have lived, and do live, in Canada.

Black History Month is a way of showing our kids that history and that culture that sometimes is missing around us. It’s important to be proud of your heritage and your history and to support one another, because of so many active movements against people of color and Indigenous people. We do have some work to do and we need to actively be there for one another. —A.


By Michèle Newton

Life is to short to roam the earth without compassion

Things can change at a moments notice

And you will need some.

We take for granted so many things we have

Until they are taken from us in a turn of luck

And you will crave some.

It doesn’t take a lot to show compassion

yet it’s often fearfully hidden inside us, look below the surface

And you shall find some.

Step outside yourself and look around

Will your compassion land where and when it is needed

And you may spread some.

We are all connected in this life

To help each other make it through with pride and dignity

Become one with your compassion and enrich your journey.

Who is Ava LIKE Lava

An artist known for her cathartic and emotional work, she paints and sketches faces and human figures. Ava’s blended her talents and creativity into Hairart - a career she’s passionate about. Her clients sing her praises—loving her unique and expressive styles, her enthusiasm, and frequently, her singing! Ava’s social activism and compassion come, in part, from supporting a family member through their struggles with mental health issues, addiction and homelessness. She was struck when meeting and talking to people in homeless shelters, how dehumanizing homelessness is. Ava observed how people look at the homeless very differently and don't realize that it can happen to anyone so quickly.

“When you're homeless you're completely outside of the social network we take for granted—immediately your access to everything is so diminished. Seeing the impacts of homelessness at such a young age has profoundly impacted Ava and allowed her the opportunity to try and affect some change in this world. That’s why she’s jumps at chances to donate her time, her artwork to charity events and campaigns and even donating her haircuts to help those in need. Through an “Artrepreneur” program, she’s exploring the only kind of business that would excite her—one that is socially beneficial.

No matter what you see, no matter what people tell you, you just do you. – Ava

How about Role Models?

Growing up, there wasn’t a lot of representation, Ava never saw herself in magazines as much as she probably should have. Three “very very strong women”, inspired Ava, filling her with the confidence to breeze past those who can’t overcome their prejudices, and the compassion to live her life being as kind as possible.

Her great-grandmother: A pastor’s wife and young Ava’s caregiver, Ava’s great-grandmother exuded “energy, warmth and love, making community everywhere she went.”

Her grandmother: “Always taking care of others and making sure that everyone was on equal footing,” Ava’s grandmother has a powerful gift of bringing people together, that she aspires to.

Her mother: An artist with a pragmatic side and very down-to-earth qualities, shared life lessons telling Ava that “People are going to treat you differently because you look different, but you just have to show them that you're not any different.”

Ava encourages everyone to find their passion and embrace the imperfections that make things beautiful.

Whenever you're actively pursuing your passions things the universe do kind of align themselves.
Things fall into place because you're surrounding yourself by the right people and following those channels that lead you to wherever you need to go.

Photo by: Michèle Newton


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