Olivia Nuamah: Credit Samuel Engleking
#PrideToronto, #OliviaNuamah, #Manchester, #England, #MarkSaunders, #PrideToronto
Toronto, Sept 10 (Canadian-Media): In an exclusive interview to IBNS Canada Pride Toronto Executive Director, Olivia Nuamah highlights how her organization has managed to get people to care about the organization by representing it the way they want. Excerpts of the interview with the minister:
Tell us a bit about your past. How did a DJ playing in clubs in Canada and England end up as the director of Pride Toronto?(Reference: http://www.pridetoronto.com and I quote "Her experience as a DJ in the Toronto and England club scenes has given her a unique understanding of the representation of trans and queer artists in cultural spaces and is driving her goals as she looks to the future of Pride....")
I started, I guess it was in the mid nineties when I went to the University and I decided that I needed to have money and I started working part time and was DJ what we called those days warehousing basically the underground night club scene. When I graduated from University that job was very helpful. Then I left for U.K. and continued in my DJ career and eventually decided I wanted to work in public policy or social policy. So I quickly found a job working for homeless people in Manchester for a couple of years and then moved to London, where I started working in Public policy.
Do you think your role there helped you understand the role you've presently undertaken. If yes, how?
When I moved from Manchester to London I moved to east end of London where I worked as a community development worker with different communities mostly with Asian communities like people from India and Pakistan. I learnt from the community workers while working with communities mostly Chinese, India and surrounding regions. That was probably my most valued learning experience. Majority of the people who lived in the communities that I lived in and worked in were mostly people in this part of the world who told me a lot about political advocacy of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, and Budhists. Each of these communities told me about their history of struggle and history of war. These communities had most impact on me. I learnt a lot about identity and racism. Different communities taught me different things because they had history and politics and brought back this history with them to U.K. and it was an honour to learn from them. While I was doing that, I was also working in those communities to do advocacy works and one of the two things that I worked on was that I worked in an organisation for Asian Women Society which was an organisation that worked for Asian women with domestic violence and shelter. This community lived in part of east London where there was a lot of racial harassment. These were newly immigrant communities mostly from Pakistan, Bangladesh and suffered a lot of racial harassment because they lived near poor white communities. So I started working on racial harassment and violent against those communities. Then we started to campaign about a black man who was murdered in his neighbourhood and the police did not do a good job about it. It was mostly the Asian communities and we got together and decided no more. After about six or seven years we managed to get the police to re-investigate the case and when they re-investigated they found through DNA testing the people who did it but because they had handled the evidence so badly and because they did not care about the person who was murdered they got away.
So we decided we were going to fight – in England they call it Inquiry – which is to find out why the organization let this happen. And in that Inquiry they decided that the police had the problems with racism. That was a big big win for us because the police had to do a lot of work and change the way they worked. And so when this job came along eventually I decided that the experience that I had in London how to negotiate with police could have a better outcome.
Asian Women: Wkipedia
As we all know that the Pride speaks about 'inclusivity' and yet the Uniformed Toronto Police did not take part in this year's Pride. Why did that fall out take place and what are you, as the boss, doing in order to get them to join the parade in 2018?
There are lots going on. We are hoping we will solve it. Both the police and we are willing to come to a solution for next year and hope that this does not exist next year, The people who said ‘No’ to this we will hear their demands and find a way through. We will spend one year to solve this problem talking to police and people.
Police in Uniform PrideToronto
In one of the past interviews with Pride, you have stated that your focus is on community development. Tell us how do you plan to accomplish that?
I have not been here that long but I have certainly managed to get people to care about the organization by making sure we are representing what they think and feel and may be in the past people felt Pride Toronto did not represent what they think. Police are a good example. Number of people outside the organization think that the police should not be involved. May be this organization in the past would not have listened to this. Because police being involved is important in organization functions and important in festival functions. People overtime have been saying they do not think police should be involved. There are a number of people in the communities who feel we have grown closer to them in doing what they want us to do. People both inside and outside the community are not comfortable with police being involved in the Toronto Pride Parade.
Is there one need surrounding the community that you would like to share or do you have any difficulty or challenge to come out?
The difficulty is not in coming out, the difficulty is getting the people actually to believe that you are not straight. Because they have an idea in mind what somebody gay looks like and sounds like. Even if I tell them I am gay they do not treat me or associate me being gay. That is not hard with me. But for people who think they are gay, they have a problem.
Coming back to Pride, you share a healthy relationship with Chief Saunders, while the same cannot be said about the respective organisations you two work for. Is this a case of a conflict between personal and professional interests? If yes, what's the way forward?
With Chief Saunders, the relationship is not bad. We seem to be moving forward. But inside our community some are supportive and some are less supportive and everybody in between. This year what we are trying to do is get people to talk to each other more and try to agree together what we should do next. It would be hard for sure but we are determined that what ever we agree we will agree together and those who do not agree will live with it and that is what democracy is. So we will do it using democratic principles.
Mark Saunders: Facebook
As a boss of pride What's your goal for Pride in upcoming years?
The most important thing is to put on good festivals. That is the priority for us.
Second thing is to bring the communities together more harmoniously. This has been a difficult year and a half. There have been very difficult conversations. Instead of being angry we have to listen to their complains and give consensus and compromise. That is what we are trying to do.
In the past 2 years the prime minister of Canada has been participating along with other politicians more in the Pride Toronto events. What do you think his motive behind it? Any political motive or just love to participate?
Participation never hurts any body. The Pride Toronto has a big following. People see him marching. They feel happy when a politician says that we embrace you and he does that. He seems a genuine fellow. He is always embracing and very kind. We also appreciate the element that members of community are not asking why he did not come to the parade.
Justin Trudeau: Facebook
You have worked with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in his eradication of child poverty programme. Do you think that experience is helping you now in doing what you are doing/planning to do?
Absolutely. I learnt everything I know from that labour government which was in place for 7 years. Working with poor communities is something I learnt under Tony Blair and I bring that into every job I have and all of the skills it takes to talk to people who are poor and disabled and to understand what they want. I learnt all these in U.K. and I secure that experience.
We have done a story on Toronto based Michael Garron Hospital in which the hospital had put an end to referring to patients as ‘him’ or ‘her’ on the basis of their sexual orientation. Instead of referring to the signs in the washrooms as "male" or "female", the picture of "toilet" or "sink" are put outside the washroom. How big a step do you think this is?
It is a huge step. The language around gender is as almost as toxic as language about racism. Sometimes we have to learn to speak differently. There was a time that language of being black that was accepted 30-40 years ago but not accepted now. Now it turns out language around gender was accepted yesterday but not acceptable today. It is a huge step when you see society deciding what it wants. The people should feel safe and acceptable. So use of ‘they’ than use of word ‘she’ or’ he’ or addressing persons by their name rather than by their gender. More people are feeling confident in saying they were born a certain gender but they do not feel that gender. The gender they feel is what ever it is and even if it is a non-gender they will like to be addressed a different way. It is same way we address disabled people. People find sexuality thing hard. People should change their mind set in addressing the people.
Michael Garron Hospital: Facebook
Do you think that the liberal government that is in power at the federal and provincial level is more helpful for the community to grow compared to the conservative government?
This community owes a gratitude to liberal govt who has introduced Bill C-16 amongst many others. They have been openly embracing of us as a community. They have been very open and I am grateful. On the other hand, we have Conservative government who finds it hard to go to pride events and regularly advocates for the policies that continues to see same sex couple differently and constituted families as a threat. This party we want to be partnership with but we find it hard to engage with because we want cross-party support not only for the festivals but also for the community.
You have been quoted as saying by The Globe and Mail "I want to be taken as seriously as a white man in a leadership role"(https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/pride-torontos-new-boss-olivia-nuamah-actively-wears-her-race/article34639604/). Why do you think in a developed country such as Canada do you need to fight such prejudice in this day and age?
I have been in number of leadership roles. And for sure it feels harder to be taken seriously for a lot of reasons. When I said that what I was trying to say was that sometimes people do not think that I am supposed to be a leader in a big organization because they look at me and think and I do not fit what a leader looks like in an organization and they treat me that way. When I said that what I was really was saying that I was hoping to live my life in a world at some point where I am treated the same as a white man leading in an organization. At the moment that is not the case.
Olivia Nuamah: Credit Samuel Engleking
I am going to ask about your personal life. I you like you may answer and if you do not like you may not. I leave it to your discretion. Can you tell us a little about your personal life?
My story is one that I think that a lot of women feel but do not say it loud and only express internally, I was very happily married for 20 years had a loving husband and had two beautiful children in London. When I came out of the marriage five years ago, it was difficult for my family and difficult for me and my children but I felt But I absolutely find that it was being unfair to my children, myself and to him by trying to live a life that I knew that other people wanted me to live but I was not so sure I wanted to live. I had to listen to my heart. That was my life.
(Interview taken by Suman Das and Asha Bajaj)
Michael Coteau: Facebook
#Mentorshipprograms, #MichaelCoteau, #Ontario, #TogetherWeCan, #Ontario Black Youth Action Plan, #DwayneDixon
Toronto, July 28 (Canadian-Media): 25 locally developed mentorship initiatives in priority communities, including the Greater Toronto (Toronto and its adjoining cities) and Hamilton Area, Ottawa and Windsor are being supported by a new mentorship program being launched by Ontario to build confidence and develop skills in Black children and youth in school and work, a news release said.
Michael Coteau, Minister of Children and Youth Services and Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism announced a new program ‘Together We Can’ earlier this week at Alexandra Park Community Centre in Toronto to help improve the futures of Black community.
“Together We Can is a great example of an on-the-ground solution to help improve the futures of Black children, youth and their families. Partnering with local community organizations to provide mentorship opportunities specifically for Black children and youth will help them build the skills and connect them with the opportunities they need to succeed,” said Coteau, said the release.
Over the next four years Onatrio would be investmenting $9 million, continued the release, for mentorship programs.
These mentorship programs, which are part of ‘Together We Can’, are being designed with the help of an external implementation steering committee which comprises youth, leaders and experts from the Black community, as well as from community engagement sessions' feedbacks.
Four mentorship programs are already in development and will be delivered by: by the African-Canadian Coalition of Community Organizations in the Regent Park and Alexandra Park community in Toronto, NIA Centre for the Arts in the Vaughan area, Tropicana Community Services in Scarborough, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Peel, in partnership with the Black Community Advisory Council in Peel Region.
‘Together We Can’ is part of the Ontario Black Youth Action Plan, with a $47 million commitment for four years and aims to help reduce inequalities for more than 10,000 Black children, youth and families in Ontario, said the release.
Ontario Black Youth Action Plan in alignment with ‘A Better Way Forward: Ontario's 3-Year Anti-Racism Strategic Plan’ was announced in February 2017 to reduce race-based disparities.
After this four-year's $47 million plan is fully developed, it will support nearly 10,800 Black children and their families annually in their education, employment and decision making processes.
More than 25 engagement sessions on the Ontario Black Youth Action Plan, the release said, have been held in 13 communities across the province since May of this year and these sessions will continue throughout the summer.
“Very early in my artistic journey, when I was coming up, there were very limited opportunities (financial or otherwise) for young black artists to make the arts a viable career choice. With the support of MCYS via the Ontario Black Youth Action Plan I'm confident, experiences like mine will be the exception and not the rule. I've made it my purpose to make a difference for the next generation, and so too has the Province of Ontario,” said Dwayne Dixon, Executive Director, Nia Centre for the Arts, the release said.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
Dipika Damerla: Facebook
#DipikaDamerla, #FabiennePrior, #Kitchener, #Ontario, DaieneVernile, #StatisticsCanada, #NationalSeniorsCouncil
Toronto, July 27 (Canadian-Media): An announcement was made last week by Dipika Damerla, Ontario Minister of Seniors Affairs at the Rockway Centre in Kitchener, Ontario 40 New Seniors' Centres across the province would be supported by Ontario to help seniors stay healthy and active, media reports said.
“Creating 40 new seniors’ centres across Ontario will help to improve services for seniors who may be vulnerable, including those living in multicultural, Indigenous and rural communities,” said Damella, a news release said.
Recent census data confirmed there were more seniors than children across the country.
According to the estimates of the research conducted by Statistics Canada and the National Seniors Council, 30 percent of Canadian seniors are at risk of becoming socially isolated. Social isolation can negatively affect both physical and mental health, the same research indicated. It was reportedly acknowledged by seniors that they feel happier and healthier with their increased involvement with social activities.
Ontario is investing $8 million over three years, continued the release, to create the 40 new centres announcement in the 2017 Budget and is reported to provide $11.5 million in annual funding to support these centres.
“We are big supporters of cultural diversity and inclusive participation at our Centre. This investment recognizes our unique focus on keeping vulnerable seniors active, healthy and socially-engaged,” said Fabienne Prior, Supervisor, City of Kitchener, Ontario.
Social and recreational programming, continued the release, such as exercise classes, transportation services, communal dining and health and wellness classes would be organised in the 40 new centres to better meet the needs of our growing seniors' population.
More than 100,000 seniors reportedly are already being served by a network of 263 Elderly Persons Centres across Ontario and new centres will added to this network.
“Helping seniors stay connected, active and engaged has been shown to contribute to their overall health and well-being. This announcement addresses that need for a growing segment of our population,” Daiene Vernile, Member of Provincial Parliament (Kitchener Centre) said.
To move forward with the new centres, said the release, a call for proposals will be issued in early fall 2017.
A legislation was recently passed in Ontario, which once proclaimed, continued the release, these centres will be renamed as Senior Active Living Centres -- rather than Elderly Persons Centres – to better reflect the diverse and active seniors across the province.
This legislation will also help the centres to act as community hubs in responding to community needs more efficiently, helping build strong partnerships and in strengthening their services.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
Image Muslim Cemetry: Twitter
#MuslimRunCemetery #MohamedKesri #BernardOuellet #Referendum #Quebec #Canada #CanadaMuslims
Montreal, Jul 19 (Candian-Media): Trying to recover from the fatal mass shooting in January, which killed six worshippers at the Quebec City Grand Mosque, the Muslim community in Saint-Apollinaire, the second largest city of Quebec, received a fresh shock when the authorities rejected their proposal to open a cemetery in the town, media reports said.
Quebec City Muslims' project, led by Mohamed Kesri on behalf of the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec, to create a cemetery had been defeated by three votes in a referendum.
Bernard Ouellet, Mayor of the town of Saint-Apollinaire, -- reflecting on the result -- said he had hoped that the opening of the cemetery would become a symbol of acceptance toward the Muslim community, adding that this defeat was mainly because of fear of the people who considered all Muslims to be radicals, The Globe and Mail news reports said.
Kesri said although he was disheartened, he still had the courage to pursue the fight.
“We will not give up. It’s insane. Three votes. We speak for thousands of Muslims in Quebec City,” He was quoted in the media as saying.
Although the community said it prefered to obtain the cemetery through negotiations, it added that if the proposal fails, it would be forced to consider a court challenge or human-rights complaint.
A tentative deal had been struck by The Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec with a funeral operator to buy a piece of land in an industrial area of Saint-Apollinaire, southwest of Quebec City – which gained urgency after the January incident.
Union of Quebec Municipalities -- while presenting a brief to a Quebec parliamentary committee this year -- called the referendum process for land-use issues “dysfunctional”.
The union debated that only voters in the zone adjoining the proposed cemetery site, -- an industrial and semi-agricultural area of auto-body shops, horse farms and bungalows, separated from the Saint-Apollinaire town centre by a busy highway -- were eligible to vote.
The referendum approval, said Muslim community, existed only in Quebec and nowhere else in Canada.
Legitimate municipal leaders failed to act as they were constantly plagued with the threat of referendum and said "the fear of minimal number of signatures on the registry could cancel a municipal project and concluded this system of approval by referendum was dysfunctional.”
Concerns of some opponents that a Muslim-only cemetery would result in concentration of more Muslims, mosques and would become the biggest threat to Western civilization.
The community said they were disappointment after yet another futile cemetery debate, which usually ends in a failure each year.
In justification of their demands, the community said they could get their dead into the ground before they get cold If only they could have a Muslim-only cemetery,
Muslims said it was expensive to freeze the dead bodies adding that money could be used for the living.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
Bardish Chagger: Twitter
#BardishChagger, #2017GlobalConferenceonWomenandEntrepreneurship, #JimYongKim, #LakshmiPuri, #VeraWang, #JackMa
Toronto, July 13 (Canadian-Media): Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism -- in a keynote address at the 2017 Global Conference on Women and Entrepreneurship in Hangzhou, China hosted by Alibaba, the world’s largest retailer -- delivered the message July 10 on “Closing the Economic Inequality Gap: A Woman’s Perspective,” Toronto News release said.
“Canada is committed to diversity and equality, including gender equality and women’s empowerment. I’m proud to represent Prime Minister Trudeau and the Government of Canada at this impressive conference and thrilled to hear from the inspiring and diverse group of leaders and role models to women around the world. Today, women around the world are rising to success and leading impressive enterprises, and I believe that events like this help raise awareness, provide a venue for open dialogue and the sharing of experiences, and encourage women and men to take stronger action to promote equality into the future,” said Minister Chagger.
Theme of this year’s conference is “Empowerment, Compassion, Aspiration.” which features discussions on how women can develop and grow in the SHE-ERA,
Women across the world and from various industries got together in this conference to create networks and facilitate female entrepreneurship.
Participants also had a chance to listen from Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group; Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations; renowned fashion icon Vera Wang; and Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba.
Featuring in the conference also were video messages from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan.
Minister Chagger laid emphasis that reduction of poverty and growth of economy in Canada and around the world can be achieved only by adoption of full gender equality, including women’s economic empowerment.
Minister Chagger highlighted Canada’s continued commitment to supporting women’s economic empowerment through investments and actions.
She also said the Government of Canada was working to address the issue of economic inequality among women, promoting diversity, women’s entrepreneurship and gender parity.
In wake of the fact that an estimated $160 billion to the Canadian economy is contributed by Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises owned by women, the Minister highlighted some of the actions being taken, such as the introduction of Bill C-25, legislation to improve representation of women on corporate boards and in senior management; progressive trade agenda; encouraging participation of women in science, technology, engineering and math; flexible work arrangements; and legislation of pay equity for workers in federal industries.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
Image of Justine Trudeau: twitter
#TorontoPrideParade2017, #inclusivity, #JustinTrudeau, #PerryBellegarde, #SophieGrégoireTrudeau, #KathleenWynne, #JohnTory, #Carolyn Bennett, #BrentHawkes, #OliviaNuamah, #ToriCress, #SteveMolyneaux, Ma-NeeChacaby, #OmarAljebouri
Toronto, June 27 (Canadian-Media): Canada’s largest and 37 annual Toronto Pride Parade 2017 with its theme of inclusivity , led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde, began Sunday afternoon, while activists from Black Lives Matter (BLM) made a surprise appearance towards the end of the parade.
“This is all about including people,” Trudeau, with a temporary tattoo of a rainbow maple leaf on his cheek told media shortly before the parade began.
“It’s all about how we celebrate the multiple layers of identities that make Canada extraordinary and strong, and today we celebrate with the entire LGBTQ community.”
Trudeau, who had become the first sitting prime minister to march in the parade, was joined by his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, and their children Xavier and Ella-Grace.
Also present in this year’s march were Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Toronto Mayor John Tory and Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett.
Carolyn Bennett: Facebook
During the opening of Toronto Pride Toronto with his final service, pastor and prominent gay activist Brent Hawkes, said, "Inclusion is the core value in our community and as long as a group or a company supports LGBT equality, then in my opinion, welcome aboard."
Brent Hawkes: Facebook
But the inclusivity of the parade was put in stake by the absence of Toronto Police in the parade.
Tory said his excitement at Pride Parade was marred by Organizers of Pride Toronto’s decision to exclude Toronto police float and uniformed officers in this year's parade, as demanded by BLM in 2016.
"Any time anybody is excluded it can't be a good thing," Mayor Tory told reporters. "We've got to get it resolved, we'll resolve it in the Toronto way, which is by talking about it and I'm very optimistic that it will be resolved in time for next year."
BLM’s argument was that allowing uniformed officers at the parade could discourage other marginalized communities’ attending the parade
But tweets from BLM organizers said this year’s Pride was more inclusive and accessible because of their activism.
Olivia Nuamah, executive director of BLM, also said result of excluding uniformed police in the parade did not affect attendance in the parade.
On the other hand, absence of uniformed police from the parade revoked remarks from prominent people.
“The police not in uniform is really significantly important, especially to people of colour,” said Tori Cress, an Anishinaabe activist who walked with the Indigenous march. “Those are things that we equate to violence historically.”
Toronto police in their uniform, nevertheless, were present in the parade to guard the event.
“It’s sad that we’re not able to actually march in the parade, but I understand the chief’s decision,” said acting superintendent Steve Molyneaux of the Toronto police’s 51 division. “We’re still here to police it and make sure it’s safe and make sure everyone has a good time.”
Meanwhile, in response to last month’s invitation from the Gay Officers Action League of New York, a group from uniformed Toronto police joined members of the New York’s uniformed Police Department in pride events Sunday in New York City.
Gathered around the corner from the main festivities on Church St. were a crowd of about 100 for an Indigenous opening ceremony which began with a prayer by Ma-Nee Chacaby, a two-spirited person of the Beaver Clan from Thunder Bay.
“We’re here just to walk,” Chacaby said. “To be visible. To show we’re proud to be who we are, especially the two-spirited people.”
Omar Aljebouri, President of Toronto’s Inclusive Rugby Team also said inclusivity was the main criteria while recruiting members of his team.
“Everybody wants to be involved in community and our Rugby team serves as a bridge for all the members of the club to get involved in the community. Our club likes to build connection during Pride event and it is our tradition every year to organize a series of events to engage in communities and people love it," said Aljebouri.
Ma-Nee Chacaby: Facebook
The dark clouds and chances of rain could not deter the spirit of 150 groups -- including major financial institutions of Canada, healthcare workers, tech giants like Microsoft, Google, Facebook; health care workers, research institutes, doctors, nurses, Canadian Armed forces and other major transit groups of the city such as TTC, GoTransit -- with their colourful theme displays marched down the parade route.
Parade itself, for many attendees, was the central focus of the day.
Lucky Vincent Bersales, who grew up in the Philippines, marched for the first time in this parade and said he loved Toronto as it had accepted him for who he was.
Towards the end of ceremony BLM protesters made their appearance in all-black outfits near Yonge and College streets and with their fists raised in the air chanted,
“May we never again have to mourn another life like that of Andrew Loku,” read one of the signs which referred to fatal shooting of a black man by Toronto police in 2015.
“Wherever they go, black folks will resist their presence,” activist Rodney Diverlus said of police.
But the man parade had already passed and was not halted by the protests of BLM.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
Transgender girls: Twitter
#BlackCoalitionforAIDSPrevention, #Toronto, #transgender, #non-binarypeople, #Transphobia, #JohnTory, #TatianaFerguson, #ShannonRyan
Toronto, June 20 (Canadian-Media): City of Toronto (comprising of Toronto and its adjoining cities) in collaboration with the Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention (Black CAP) -- comprised entirely of racialized transgender youth -- launched a public awareness campaign on June 19 to promote Torontonians’ perceptions of transgender and non-binary people, media reports said.
Highlights of this campaign are to differentiate between gender and sex among the trans and non-binary Torontonians, specifically trans youth of colour. Trans women of colour form the most vulnerable groups in Toronto.
Trans is an umbrella term, the report continued, that describes the gender for people who do not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth.
Although trans youth of colour, are part of Toronto’s LGBTQ community, but are underserved and often neglected and experience bias and violence because of transphobia and racism.
"Toronto continually strives to be a place that provides opportunities and supports the well-being of all its residents," said Toronto Mayor John Tory. "This campaign, which emphasizes that members of the transgender community are part of Toronto, is very timely. The City is committed to developing gender-inclusive services and policies to ensure we serve all of our residents."
Tatiana Ferguson, Project Lead for Black CAP also emphasized that in order to understand the needs of trans youth of colour, we must take into consideration various aspects of these youth identities and understanding how race, gender, sex and class interplay and create barriers for trans youth of colour is a fundamental component required to identify and address the needs of trans youth in Toronto.
Shannon Ryan, Executive Director of Black CAP said he was confident that this campaign will lead to important conversations about gender and sex and reduction of barriers that trans youth of colour in our city experience in their homes, schools, workplaces and beyond.
The campaign was created by the social impact agency PUBLIC Inc, and features real Torontonian racialized trans youth and uses transit ads and social media to educate and encourage respectful and meaningful dialogue about transgender and non-binary individuals.
The campaign also motivates trans people to get involved in educating others about trans-specific issues and provides extensive information and resources to educate Torontonians about non-binary people and with the aim to eradicate biases that trans people, specifically trans youth of colour, face in their daily life. This also fosters more understanding and advocacy amongst the cis gender community. (Cis gender individuals are those whose gender identities match with the assigned sex at birth.)
This is the fourth phase of the City's Toronto for All campaign which aims for Torontonians to say "no" to all forms of discrimination and racism.
Phase 1 ran in the summer of 2016 and focused on Islamophobia. Phase 2 was launched in the fall of 2016 and addressed anti-Black racism. Phase 3 ran in the spring and addressed the discrimination of homeless men. All campaign phases have successfully encouraged conversations among Toronto residents and media regarding the relevant issues.
The City of Toronto (Toronto and its adjoining cities) is hosting an Open Dialogue on Transphobia in North York Civic Centre on Thursday, July 27, 2017 (9am to 12:30pm) free of cost as part of a series organized by the City’s Specialized Program for Interdivisional Enhanced Responsiveness (SPIDER).
The aim of SPIDER is to increase public awareness on issues impacting vulnerable Torontonians and teach general public -- through a panel discussion, community organizations and community members -- on the multiple issues trans youth of colour experience.
Registration is free and is recommended.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
Image of CampOoch: twitter
#TomBruce, #JohnFlengas, #StewardMikeStreet, #StephanieBruce, #CampOoch, #CUPELocal416, #Toronto
Toronto, June 20 (Canadian-Media): Over $6,000 worth of craft supplies and 10 make-your-own guitar kits were donated to Camp Ooch on June 19 by Toronto paramedics Tom Bruce and John Flengas and CUPE Local 416 Steward Mike Street together with Bruce's six-year-old daughter, media reports said.
Stephanie is a cancer survivor and an alumna of Camp Ooch -- a volunteer-based and privately funded organization -- that provides child cancer patients with unique opportunities for growth through fun, enriching and magical experiences.
For a consecutive third year and in collaboration with CUPE Local 416, Toronto Paramedic Services employees have collected craft supplies to donate to Camp Ooch programs.
The programs include an overnight camp in Muskoka, day camps, in-city programs at Ooch Downtown and in-hospital programs.
Bruce said that during his daughter’s stay in the hospital, he had learnt a lot about the Camp Ooch's in-hospital programs
"As Paramedics, we see the impact cancer has in the community we serve and in our own CUPE Local 416 membership," said Street. "We are thrilled to be able to make this additional donation of 10 make-your-own-guitar kits to Camp Ooch and the kids," CBCNews reports said.
Over a period of eight weeks, the craft supplies were collected in collection boxes located in Toronto Paramedic Services ambulance stations.
CUPE Local 416 had purchased the 10 make-your-own guitars to meet a special request from Camp Ooch for its camper music program.
"Many of our teen campers have been learning guitar at camp for years," said Ken Aldridge, Coordinator of Music and Specialty Programs at Camp Ooch. "These 10 guitar kits will provide our teen campers an opportunity to create their very own custom instruments and will foster their love of music for years to come."
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
Image of Hannah Claus: Courtesy of CBCNews
#IndigenousWomen, #Montreal’s375thbirthday, #HannahClaus, #FirstNationcommunities
Toronto, June 5 (Canadian-Media): To Commemorate Montreal’s 375th birthday, artists, throughout the summer, will be displaying new work of art on window fronts across the city of Montreal as part of the annual Les fenêtres qui parlent summer art project, which translates to "the windows that talk”, media reports said.
One of the participating artists of this year, Hannah Claus, of Mohawk and English heritage, would reportedly contribute to 19 different window displays, one for each neighbourhood.
Topic of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls appealed to Claus most, because as Claus said this " issue is something that is seen as not as prevalent in Quebec. In the headlines you see it as more so happening in the west and in B.C.”
“I wanted my windows to really speak about something that was important, and have them really talk," said Claus, CBCNews reports said.
Claus labelled the series of her displays "je me souviens," which translates to "I remember" and added that the title points to the Quebec’s motto seen on licence plates.
Claus decided to create different styles of windows, some honouring missing and murdered Indigenous women, while others displaying statistics, and still others displaying statistics of the rates of violence experienced by Indigenous women in Quebec.
Claus had done a video project, in 2015, in which she filmed people from three First Nation communities, Odanak, Kanesatake and Kahnawake as well as people from Montreal as they were writing out the names of missing or murdered Indigenous women.
Claus retained the original copies of the handwritten names for use in this new project.
"[These windows] have more of a punch to the gut really … I didn't want this [project] to be just a commemoration," she said. "I wanted it to be understood as something that is a crisis, is ongoing and hasn't been resolved."
Claus's displays rose in popularity in Rosemont and Outremon where these remained for four days, with the most recent display being in the Pierrefond-Roxboro neighbourhood.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
Image of Pride Toronto: Facebook
#PrideTorontoParade, #BlackLivesMatter, #OliviaNuamah, #JohnCampbell, #JohnTory, #MichaelThompson, #MarkSaunders, #LGBTQ
Toronto, May 9 (Canadian-Media): Pride Toronto, a not-for-profit organization, celebrates Pride Toronto Parade (PTP), a ten-day event during the end of June each year to celebrates of the diversity of the LGBT community in the Greater Toronto Area will continue to receive funding by the government and had become largest Pride celebration in North America, media reports said.
According to a press release Toronto Mayor John Tory had stated, "Pride is a hugely important event for our city, and one that is supposed to send a message of inclusion and equality to the world...and to focus on working with the LGBTQ and Black communities to ensure that we have a strong foundation of trust and partnership going forward. From Day One, I have been consistent in saying that I considered Pride a celebration all about inclusion and that as such, police should be welcomed in the parade. I continue to hold this view."
John Tory: Facebook
Last year PTP, influenced by Black Lives Matter, had halted the event for nearly 30 minutes until organizers signed off on a list of nine demands, which included a ban on police floats and booths in future parades, CP24 News reports said.
Participation of the Toronto police in the PTP, had thus become questionable and Councillor John Campbell and about half a dozen other councillors said Pride’s annual grant request should be curtailed
"They (police) are part of the fabric of Toronto. They are effectively City of Toronto employees. Why should city funding go toward an organization that is telling our police force that they are not welcome and that is exactly what they are doing. So instead of bringing people together, they are pushing people apart," Campbell, who did not sit on the Economic Development Committee, told CP24 Monday morning.
Since then, Toronto’s LGBTQ officers had been asking the city to withhold a $260,000 grant to fund the parade.
But amidst debates among Pride Toronto officials, members of Black Lives Matter, the Toronto Police union, and other Pride participants, Toronto Mayor John Tory decided to favour continued funding for Pride Toronto.
Tory had stated according to a news release, "But I support the Chief’s decision...by the current management of Pride, who have been working hard to ensure the financial and organizati onal viability of Pride 2017 and to try to find a resolution to these outstanding issues. Both Olivia Nuamah and Chief Saunders...have indicated to me that a withdrawal of City funding for Pride 2017 won't be helpful in finding a resolution...Accordingly, I will support maintaining our full funding for Pride 2017."
Pride Toronto’s executive director Olivia Nuamah told reporters on Monday she was delighted to hear about Tory’s support in funding to Pride.
At the Economic Development Committee meeting on Monday, Nuamah welcomed the committee’s vote to renew funding for her organization.
“We celebrate Pride, we appreciate Pride, we love Pride in this city. It has great benefits to our city: economic, otherwise and social…Let’s take the adult position and sit down and dialogue,” said economic development committee chair Michael Thompson (Ward 37), Globe and Mail News reports said.
The decision came less than 24 hours after Pride organizers said they would welcome police participation in the event as long as uniforms, weapons and cruisers are left at the police station.
The decision to approve the grant will be subject to final vote by full council later this month.
For this year at least, Pride Toronto said officers were only allowed to march in the parade if they leave their uniforms, weapons and vehicles behind.
But Tory, speaking to reporters, said he would not commit to supporting funding for Toronto Pride next year if a deal with the police does not materialize.
“I am not going to engage in hypothetical speculation about what happens in future years,” Mr. Tory said. “I am just saying for this year … both of the parties involved in these constructive discussions ... told me that to withdraw funding at this stage would not be helpful in their ongoing attempts to achieve a resolution to this issue,” Globe and Mail news reports said.
This year’s PTP will take place on Sunday, June 25.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)