Welcome to the Canaries resource website, a platform for our collective findings: literature, articles, practices, dietary information and stories.
In the spring of 2013, Canaries began as a conversation about experiences with autoimmunity between Jesse Cohen, Carolyn Lazard, and Bonnie Swencionis. Through word of mouth, that three-person conversation evolved over time into an open monthly support group, a listerv with over 150 members, and an art collective. We called ourselves Canaries, a reference to “canary in the coal mine”, because while not everyone is as physically responsive as we are to imbalances and toxicities in our environment, our bodies are registering and expressing issues that do ultimately affect us all.
We’ve found that when we meet as a group, through talking about our experiences freely and narratively, we are able to put together pieces of our individual puzzles that were missing. Even when our diagnoses and/or experiences are different, sharing with each other has opened up an incredible space for knowledge sharing and very real healing that would not be available through any medical institution or specialist.
We agree that the models of diagnosis, symptom identification and naming can be very helpful, but for so many of us, it is these very systems that, by excluding our “unclassified” or “anecdotal” experience, have isolated us from community and a commons of care.
Change is in order, and we believe that peer-based and patient-based conversations and network building will create the foundation of a more holistic healing process for chronic illnesses and their systemic causes, and will help to facilitate a fundamental shift towards medicine as a community based practice.
We are grateful to all those who have participated in our conversations, collaborated on projects, and offered care and support in times of need. We are what we are because of each other, and through this community we’ve learned that to be together is the most potent, life-giving, and light filled thing we’ve got in these times. Huge thank you and special shout out to project collaborators and facilitators: Katya Tepper, Rebecca Watson Horn, Taraneh Fazeli, Citron Kelly, Brina Thurston, Victoria Vreeland, Catherine Czacki, Marley Freeman, Zoey A. Hart, Danyel Ferrari, Erin, Somerville, Bridget Donahue, Bridget Finn, Colleen Grennan, Lee Maida, Meghan Dellacrosse, Bleue Liverpool, Rose Marcus, Caroline Woolard, Jessica Sue Burstein, Lea Cetera, Sam Richardson, Amy Berkowitz, Tess Brown-Lavoie, E.M. Joseph, Amalle Dublon, Park McArthur, Constantina Zavitsanos, Lily Benson, Sophia Peer, Heidi Andrea Restrepo Rhodes, Terri C Smith, Allison Freedman Weisberg, Jessica Lynne, Ali Burstein, Gracen Brilmyer, Katie Tabb, and so many more.