Our Ontario NDP elected our new Party leader, Marit Stiles over the weekend. It was a celebration that filled the room - and rooms across Ontario for those who joined virtually - with a much needed sense of hope for a province that works for ALL of us by putting equity at the centre.
Since 2018, Marit has been a fierce voice against Doug Ford and Stephen Lecce as our Official Opposition's Education Critic -- through the pandemic, no less, which saw long and preventable school closures where Ontario kids felt the brunt of their failure to invest in what it took to keep them safe in class. For her community of Davenport, she's been a committed advocate and open ear, especially for those who've been left out of politics for too long. I know she will continue to bring this passion and fight toevery corner of the province and stand up for the people who need it most!
Please join me in congratulating Marit and welcoming this new chapter for Ontario!
Today is #DrawTheLineDay: a day for people and communities to reflect, engage in conversation, and ultimately take action so we finally put an end sexual violence -- once and for all.
I am deeply thankful for our friends with the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (OCRCC) and Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes (AOcVF) for creating this day to hold this space. But more, for their year-round commitment to ending the epidemic that is sexual violence in Ontario.
Because doing so takes more than a day or even a conversation. It takes action and crucially, funding. Again and again, I've stood in the House to demand this of the Ford government and until the people who need it, see it I'll keep going.
Hear how I'm Drawing The Line in 2023.
It's always such a joy when I'm able to speak with youth, and today I did just that with the incredibly clever kids at JR Wilcox! Black History Month is important in every setting, but perhaps none more than our school system!
Thank you for inviting me to participate in this conversation about the profound importance of education, and allowing me to share with you my experiences as a Black woman.
Representation matters, and every kid deserves the opportunity to see a face that looks like theirs. There is no limit to what we can achieve, and we need to continue to work together to create a government that not only works for all of us, but that looks like all of us!
On Saturday, I was thrilled to attend the Oakwood Village BIA's "Honouring Black Community in Our Community: Oakwood Village." Thank you to all the incredible Black-owned small business vendors and community members who came out to celebrate Black History Month - and many more thanks to all who came to St. Paul's to visit and attend the event!
Black History Month is a time to light the candle of our celebration and recognition, but we make sure it doesn't go out for the rest of the year! Black history and Black excellence is 24/7/365!
Here are some of the wonderful artisans and vendors I met:
Zero Cocktail Bar
Illustrator Joseph Osei Bonsu
Sage and Thistle Handmade Goods
Today's recommendations come from Honey! Honey writes:
"Perhaps I'm stretching your request a bit when I say that my earliest influences of black authors came from LPs - long-playing -records. My earliest memory is listening to Paul Robeson whose voice still spurs me to think and act for myself and others. Joe Hill indeed!!! Harry Belafonte cites Day-o as his song but our beloved late Toronto resident, Miss Lou, told me directly he heard that from her. Odetta's singing made me become an activist - "There's A Hole In The Bucket" still gives me pause to think. Go Tell Aunt Rhody the old grey goose is dead
It wasn't until later, in the 1960s that I would read Angela Davis and then Nikki Giovanni (whose books were just banned in Florida) Lucille Clifton, Amiri Baraka (Leroi Jones) and my own mentor, the late Abby Lincoln, poet, actress, director, writer and vocalist extraordinaire
Yes, I know these are either American or Caribbean people and not Canadian but their influence reached me and inspired me and still gives me a hand-out in solace and comfort. These artists weren't known as authors, but authors are writers and all of these aforementioned people are authors. They felt something, expressed something, shared something and then found me. Will the circle be unbroken? Not if I can help it."
What a beautiful tribute - and I'm so appreciative of Honey stretching the limits of what counts as "literature"!
On March 4, I will be participating as a panelist at the screening of Below the Belt - a documentary about endometriosis produced by Hillary Clinton, Rosario Dawson, Corinne Foxx, and Mae Whitman.
As critic for women's issues, I was proud to stand in the legislature in support of naming March endometriosis month of awareness. Raising awareness around endometriosis is an important piece of advocacy work for all folks who menstruate, including transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary community members who have a long history of experiencing inequity in the health care system.
This important film highlights the discrimination experienced by people assigned female at birth and the many social taboos that surround menstruation to this day.
I hope you'll consider joining us in what I'm sure will be a lively and informative discussion!
Until March 31, Unison's Oakwood-Vaughan location will be offering an integrated care clinic on Monday evenings from 5:30-8:30PM. Members of the community can drop in to receive COVID vaccines, blood pressure checks, mental health and harm reduction support, and be seen by a physician - no health card required!
The wonderful folks at The Linden School have launched a Healthy Valentine's Day project, which offers downloadable Valentines expressing body positivity, consent, and healthy relations. Be sure to download yours soon to share with loved ones!
A reminder to get your tickets to see Jesse Ryan & Kaiso Street Collective on February 17 at 7PM. See here!
Our friends at Sending Sunshine have reached out to request help from you! These lovely folks are working to combat social isolation and loneliness among senior community members by providing them with handwritten cards.
If you've got a stamp to spare, consider writing an uplifting note to an elder Ontarian to spread a little of our famous Toronto-St. Paul's joy!
Until March 12, you can check out the below exhibit at James Rottman Fine Art gallery at 803 St. Clair Ave W. at Atlas Avenue!
This April, the BBPA Harry Jerome Awards returns! Don't forget to get your tickets and nominate your preferred candidate!
The spectacular Holy Blossom Temple Out of the Cold Community Dinner commenced last night and will be running EVERY THURSDAY at 5PM until March 30th at 1950 Bathurst St (entrance on Dewbourne Avenue)! Spread the word to folks in need!!!! Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers who make services like this possible!
See here for more info!
Doors open each Thursday at 5PM and close at 7PM.