Community News Update - June 19, 2023

Dear community,

Today was one for Ontario's history books.

For the first time, the inclusive progress Pride flag was raised at Queen's Park, recognizing & celebrating the many ways people live and love across the province, each making Ontario a better place to call home.

The flag raising is organized by the Ontario Public Service Pride Network each year, and this year's welcomed the highest turnout I've seen in my time as MPP.  As our queer community faces rising hate and inundated with headlines & rhetoric that threaten our very being, this morning was a reminder of the solidarity we have surrounding us, and that love - ALL love - stays winning.

Thank you to each person who showed up & out, and a Happy Pride to all. 

This weekend also saw the return of our community food tables at Marian Engel Park. 

A big thanks goes out to the incredible volunteers who make these table possible, including the good folks of Frankel Lambert Outreach Committee, and all those who dropped off items to ensure our community keeps nourished!

We look forward to our next one & would love to see you there. Get in touch to volunteer for an upcoming weekend by replying to this email, or simply stop by to pick up what you need, drop off what you don't, or spend time meeting new friends.

Today also marks World Sickle Cell Day; a day to recognize the unique challenges faced by those suffering from the disease and raise awareness to the steps needed to improve health outcomes. 

But to truly honour today means meeting awareness with action.

This was why, in 2020, myself and MPP Gelinas put forth our Improve Access to Health Care Act, which would have implemented a universal protocol to ensure a high standard of care for people living with sickle cell disease in Ontario. Though Ford said no then, our work moves forward; most recently through our Rare Disease Strategy Act, co-sponsored by myself, MPP Gelinas and MPP Karpoche. This would work to improve access, affordability, and outcomes for all those living with rare diseases, including Sickle Cell Disease.

Our community is changing fast and it's important that in seeing much-needed housing growth, the community its meant to benefit isn't left behind. How? By ensuring our voices are heard!

Tomorrow, June 20 at 7PM, join Oakwood Vaughan Community Organization (OVCO), Black Urbanism TO (BUTO), K.E Residents and the Toronto Community Benefits Network (TCBN) for an open discussion on preserving the historic Black culture & affordability of Oakwood-Vaughan, and ensuring proposed developments put community needs above those of developers. 

Register or learn more about the event here.

Happening Wednesday, June 21 from 6-8PM, our friends at Nia Centre for the Arts are hosting Chef'n It Up, as part of their Wellness Wednesday Series.

Open to youth aged 16-29, join in for an interactive cooking session where they'll be sharing budget-friendly tips & flavourful recipes that will have you eating well, feeling good, and keeping your pockets padded. Ingredients included!

Sign up here.

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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