Community News Update - March 6, 2023

Dear Community,

Chag Sameach to my Jewish constituents celebrating Purim tonight.

Purim commemorates the story of Esther. This story is a call to people from oppressed communities in positions of power to work for the liberation of our whole community, not just those few that find acceptance or success.

As a the first Queer Black MPP in Canada I am regularly reminded of the deep responsibility of the position that I am privileged to hold. I will continue to speak out about the injustices still faced by so many in my communities and work to right these injustices.

Today is Black Mental Health Day.

Today I asked the Ford government if he would declare today, the first Monday in March, annually as Black Mental Health Day across Ontario. The answer in so many words: no. I then asked the Premier to outline what they are currently doing to address Black Mental Health and specifically what budget investment they'll be making to address Black Mental Health. The answer? The government expressed how much they admire Ontario's diversity...They didn't mention a penny...not one dollar.

You can see my speech here and read my joint statement with Laura Mae Lindo here.

Last week, I spoke in support of MPP Gates' motion to enhance the accessibility of prostate cancer screening by covering it under OHIP. Everyone with a prostate is at risk of developing prostate cancer, but Black men are disproportionately affected.

We need to work toward ensuring greater equity in our health care system, and that starts with accessibility!

You can watch my speech here.

It was such an honour for me to be asked by Carolyn Egan to speak on Sunday at the annual USW Mary Spratt breakfast at Steelworker's Hall! ALL Women's liberation is EVERYONE's responsibility to fight for.

I had an outstanding and empowering time surrounded by hope, energy and a distinct rage at this provincial government and its callous policies directly hurting women's lives.
Needless to say, each and every one of us is committed to continuing the critical work towards women's liberation, and we are doing it TOGETHER.

When women win, WE ALL WIN!

Sunday was a motivating day spent with my CUPE National family! Thank you Social Services Workers Coordinating Committee for having me as your closing speaker. I value you and your crucial heartwork for our community's most vulnerable.

Here's to our strength in numbers and to organizing - raise your voice and strengthen your union!

Over the weekend, I was honoured to participate as a panelist at the screening of Below the Belt, which does an excellent job at raising awareness of endometriosis.

At least 1 in 10 women have endometriosis, and that number doesn't account for all those who are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. This government needs to prioritize learning more about the barriers folks face in accessing care!

Shout out to former MPP Suze Morrison and our Ontairo NDP Leader Marit Stiles for making March Endometriosis Awareness Month!

Today I met with some members of the Ontario Principals' Council to talk about the staff shortage in Ontario's public schools we need a renewed focus on attracting qualified staff for our schools by a sustained investment from the government to improve salaries and working conditions.

On Tuesday, March 7, I will be joining Amnesty International and a handful of other inspiring women of colour at the Toronto Reference Library for the panel "They Won't Silence Us." I hope to see you there!

Are you interested in receiving a free hot meal of homemade soup? Or perhaps you're interested in volunteering and participating in some community care? See below for this initiative being hosted by For Youth Initiative!

Low income individuals may be interested in making use of The Stop's Free Tax Clinic, which is open from March 1 to April 28! See below for more information!

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!

Are you a lower-income renter? In 2022, the Government of Canada announced a One-time top up to the Canada Housing benefit - a one-time payment of $500 to help with the cost of rent.

Please see the below for more information about eligibility and how to apply, and be sure to share this widely with your community. Even reaching one more eligible renter will make all the difference!

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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