Community News Update - July 12, 2023

Today marks a new beginning for our beloved city. 

Olivia Chow was sworn in as Toronto's mayor earlier today at City Hall as the first racialized woman to hold the post. I want to wish her and her whole team a huge congratulations on this momentous occassion, one they fought incredibly hard for, against forces of the establishment (making her victory that much more sweet).

But mostly, I want to say congratulations to Toronto; to each person that calls this city home. Those who've watched for years as back-to-back leadership, driven by austerity, let our city's social & public services crumble while the costs of life's essentials soar.

While there's much work to do and the needed changes won't be seen overnight, today has me feeling...hope in a government for the first time, in a long time, and trust in leadership for us, by us, and with care at the core. At last.

Community, are you ready to free up yourself and get on bad? Or have you STAYED ready so you don't gotta get ready?

Either way, you better be because Toronto Caribbean Carnival (Caribana for many of us still!) is coming home, August 3-7, complete with the legendary Grande Parade & its stunning costumes, Caribbean cuisine, hot music, and hotter dancing that will have you chip, chip, chippin' into the next week. That's a promise!

Yesterday, I was honored to join them for their official launch party, alongside friends, old & new, dear colleagues, and community! A big thanks goes to organizers & sponsors (including our friends, OSSTF Toronto & Black Business and Professional Association) for all the work they've done to bring this event - and our CITY - to life through one of Toronto's best weekend parties!
But as we celebrate this festive time, lest we forget that Carnival is both a party AND a protest; a celebration of our freedom & our emancipation, and reminder of where we've come from, as well as the work we still have ahead to ensure Caribbean and Black lives, rich culture, and heritage remains seen, heard, and counted not just this weekend, but all 365 days of the year.

Before hitting the streets for Carnival on August 3rd, I invite you to take a moment on Emancipation Day, August 1, and all throughout the month of August to acknowledge our existence and celebrate our excellence.

If you have donations to spare, please consider bringing them down to Marian Engel Park on Saturday between 11AM - 1PM! If you need some extra groceries, come on down no questions asked (we have tote bags)!

Each year across Ontario, thousands of lives are lost to overdoses. We need every level of government to prioritize implementing harm reduction strategies to combat these senseless deaths, and you can help.

As many of you know, Naloxone is a medication that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, and these kits are FREE with training at participating pharmacies across the city. Together, we can prevent unnecessary deaths and work toward a more compassionate society that is safe safe for everyone.

Find a pharmacy with Naloxone kits near you, and make sure you can recognize the signs of an overdose.

In Solidarity, 

Jill Andrew
Toronto-St. Paul's

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