Identity is complicated. Our personal identities are framed by the names we call ourselves, the languages we speak, the food we eat, the places we travel to (and have travelled from), the bodies we inhabit, and much, much more. These seemingly separate parts of who we are come together to inform our decisions, help us solve problems, and even impact the way we feel about the spaces we feel safe in and the opportunities we seek out for ourselves.
The Ways We Are is a space to unpack all these parts of ourselves through candid, honest conversations. Hosts Avineet Kaur Cheema and Kenya-Jade Pinto amplify and share true and diverse stories--including the experiences that shape personal identity--with guests and listeners, in order to nurture and inspire them to reflect on their own intersectional identities.
Kenya-Jade (KJ) is a Goan-Kenyan-Canadian documentary photographer-filmmaker-lawyer who spent the first half of her life chasing crabs on the southern Kenyan coast, and the second half freezing her ass off through some seriously brutal Calgary, Ottawa, (and now) Toronto winters.
Like many other folks with hyphenated identities, KJ has experienced her fair share of funny, awkward, offensive, and confusing interactions. A lifetime of conversations, first on playgrounds and at sleepovers, and then in Ubers, coffee shops, on street corners, in airport lines, in washrooms, and really well... everywhere, led KJ to create The Ways We Are with Avi.
Avineet Kaur Cheema
Avineet (Avi) Kaur Cheema is a Panjabi-Canadian writer and (soon-to-be) lawyer. She grew up in Newfoundland with seagulls and puffins and whales in her backyard and recently moved to Toronto, following the waves of westward migration out of the East Coast.
As a second generation immigrant, many aspects of Avi’s life have been informed by attempting to reconcile the fractured parts of her complex reality. Tired laughter every time someone introduces her as “The Brown Girl from Newfoundland” has provoked Avi to question what exactly is in a Canadian identity and, like every good millennial, to do it through a podcast with co-host KJ.
Arif is a full time public servant and part time sound engineer who is constantly asked “are you sure your parents are from Kenya?” He was born and raised in Scarborough but found his way to Ottawa and never looked back.
It wasn’t until his 20s when he embraced his identity as a third culture kid, mixing in his family traditions in his day to day life. This led to connecting with Avi and KJ, to become The Ways We Are’s sound engineer.
Follow Arif on Twitter.