Community News Update - January 27, 2023

Dear Community,

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, and I join members across our communities in ensuring the six million Jewish children, women, and men who were murdered by the Nazis during the Shoah are never forgotten.

Many more were killed for their politics, race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, or disability. We must always remember where bigotry leads.

Tragically, across the city, we've seen an uptick in antisemitic attacks against our Jewish neighbours, in schools, and in synagogues. Today, as every day, I reaffirm my commitment to combating antisemitism and ensuring the atrocities committed during the Holocaust are remembered and that Holocaust and genocide education continue across our provinces so our children have the tools to light the way to a brighter future free of hate.

Join me in sharing your message on social media with the hashtag #WeRemember to honour the legacies left by all survivors as well as those killed.

Sunday, January 29 marks the National Day of Remembrance of the Quebec City Mosque Attack and Action Against Islamophobia.

On the 6th anniversary of this heinous crime, we mourn the 6 men who were killed and the many more injured during prayer by an Islamophobic gunman.

The green in the image represents the green carpet of the mosque where the victims offered their last prayers, but green also symbolizes hope. I am hopeful that our communities will commit to taking action against Islamophobia and all forms of hate and work together toward a safer future for all Canadians.

Join me in sharing the hashtag #GreenSquareCampaign to spark a conversation around Islamophobia and honour the lives lost on that tragic day.

Last night, we gathered in a town hall to discuss the failed P3 model and its devastating impact on our community here in Toronto-St. Paul's all the way to Ottawa.

Thank you to the many who showed up to listen and learn, and to my fellow panelists for sharing your expertise! I was joined by MPP Joel Harden, MPP Kristyn Wong-Tam, members of ATU Locals 113 and 279, TTC Riders, Black Urbanism Toronto, DCA Architects, Ottawa Transit Riders, Ottawa Councillor Shawn Menard, and residents of our own community, Elizabeth Glor-Bell and Dante Thorne.

Unfortunately, Metrolinx President Phil Verster did not make himself available for our town hall. Had he attended, he would have heard loud and clear our call for a public inquiry into the failed Eglinton Crosstown LRT!

If you'd like answers or have been affected by delay after delay, join me in signing this petition for a public inquiry!

This morning, I was interviewed by the wonderful Rosemary Sadlier for The Country Grapevine on 99.3 County FM in Prince Edward County hosted by Lynn Pickering.

Rosemary is a renowned activist, educator, and former president of the Ontario Black History Society! It was an honour to be interviewed by a titan and to discuss my influences, challenges, mentors, and more!

Thank you, Lynn, for inviting me on your show!

Days, weeks, and months of significance are excellent opportunities (but surely not the only times) for us to reflect as a community on the contributions, triumphs, histories, and challenges of the many diverse groups that make up our St. Paul's community.

February 1 marks the start of Black History Month. We've taken significant steps forward in our fight against anti-Black racism towards Black liberation, but we know all too well we've got plenty of work ahead. Systemic discrimination still exists in our province and if it's happening to one, we've got to see it as a call to action for all of us to step up in big and small ways.

One of the small things we can do to help us continue to build empathy, awareness, and allyship is to read about the lived experiences of others. I must admit, I don't have much time for reading these days, but when I do, here are some of the many books I enjoy flipping through.

This upcoming February, I'm inviting you to share with us some of your favourite books written by Black authors! Send us a photo of you reading it, or just send us the title - but most importantly: let us know why it's your book pick!

We will be sharing submissions throughout the month of February! This is my first batch above. These authors are unapologetic and transparent. From memoir, arts, and feminism to politics and community advocacy, I promise they are page turners (there are some local St. Paul's gems in here, too!).

Please consider shopping local and supporting a Black-owned bookstore (shout out to the iconic Burke's Bookstore) or visiting any of our local St. Paul's Toronto Public Library branches that are always ready to welcome you!

Here are the titles of my picks!

Make the World New: The Poetry of Lillian Allen
Policing Black Lives
The Girl in the Middle
Frying Plantain
Black Sisterhoods
Can You Hear Me Now?
Until We Are Free

On Saturday, February 4 from 2-10PM, Oakwood Village BIA will launched their new endeavor, "Honouring Black History in Our Community."

Come on down to 473 Oakwood Avenue to learn the legacy of local businesses with Black history and heritage!

Our friends at Canadian Women's Foundation are hosting an art contest for youth aged 7 to 16! Create a piece of art based on this prompt: What does helping someone in an unsafe situation look like? The deadline is February 6 at 12PM. Find more information here!

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!

DesignTO art exhibitions will be coming to Yonge and St Clair from today to January 29!

Learn more about the artists and plan your visits here!

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.

In Solidarity, 

Jill Andrew
Toronto-St. Paul's


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