Actress Cara Gee moonlights as a cultural archaeologist, doing her small part in growing a more caring and compassionate Canada by reflecting on “where different communities intersect.”
For Cara, the insight garnered from looking outside her own life has revealed the needs hindering marginalized communities. With this new perspective, she approaches everyday actions with mindfulness—never taking opportunity for granted.
“We can do a better job of looking after each other,” declares the actress, best known for her breakout role in the critically acclaimed feature, Empire of Dirt. The 2013 multi-generational film about three Indigenous women earned Cara a nomination at the Canadian Screen Awards.
Moving forward, Cara’s hope for a more inclusive Canada rests with a country that acknowledges shared responsibility when addressing issues of inequality—both at home and around the world. “No one wants to think that they’re racist. No one wants to think that they’re ableist. No one wants to think that they’re sexist,” she grants. “But defensiveness can halt progress and come between taking stock of our own personal blind spots.”
The Calgary-born actress encourages Canadians to appraise the world and dig down into the history anchoring issues adversely affecting the healthy growth of our society, when accessing how to take action. She cites the nation’s efforts around Truth and Reconciliation as an example.
“In Canada, what’s problematic about reconciliation is that oppression hasn’t stopped. There’s no endpoint,” she says. “The last residential school shut down in 1996—not long ago, at all. There’s still a lot of work to do as far as accepting our roots and being able to move forward.”
Read on for more of Cara’s thoughts around strengthening the future of Canada through awareness and mutual understanding.
Why is “we” stronger than “me?”
We can achieve so much more when we work together. There’s a lot of strength in community; there’s strength in numbers; there’s strength in organizing ourselves to make our voices heard.
What is the kindest action you’ve been on the receiving end of, and what about the gesture touched you personally?
My brother is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. He would do anything for anyone. He’s a sweetheart. He’ll send me a text every day—just a silly text. That little act of kindness always makes me smile.
Describe the core values of your ideal Canada.
The philosophy that we must endeavor to look after one another. One thing that we celebrate here in Canada is our healthcare system. I certainly don’t take that for granted, but not everything that everyone needs is covered. We are very fortunate, but we could do better even still. We need to look after each other. We cannot rest on our laurels or think we are beyond improvement.
What small action have you taken in present day to help secure a brighter future for our country tomorrow?
Knowing what causes are important to me and doing research so to have an informed opinion.
What is a cause you care deeply about and how do you want to help further it along?
I have a lot to do in understanding ableism, and how we, as a society, are looking after our disabled peers, especially in regards to health care.
As we work to make Canada a better country, what is one action you would like people to take?
We have to look back 150 years and reconcile. What that will mean to each and every individual Canadian will be personal. There are people who have been here for generations and there are people new to this land; we’re all Canadians. Canada, as a land, is much older than 150 years… acknowledging and accepting that is key to moving forward.