Community News Update - March 7, 2022

Dear Community,

This week I’m back in at Queen’s Park, representing our community and speaking out against the harmful and misguided policies of the Ford government.

I join my colleagues in the NDP Black caucus in recognizing Black Mental Health Day, observed each year on the first Monday in March. Today we highlight the impacts of anti-Black racism on the mental health and wellbeing of Black communities. We also renew our call to tear down barriers to accessing culturally appropriate mental health services, and will continue work together to invest in mental health and build the supports our communities deserve.

Tomorrow is International Women’s Day. On this day, we celebrate the power of women and the ongoing contributions of women to our society. We also highlight all the unjust obstacles that women and girls still face in this country and around the world.

Linked to both of these events, I will be hosting a special discussion on culturally relevant training for Black hair care, in particular in Ontario’s performing arts sectors. I will be joining several artists and experts to discuss their experiences and ideas through the lens of intersectional feminism. I’ll be joined by Alicia Richardson, Dalmar Abuzeid, Alicia Payne and Aisha Boubacar

The event will be streamed live on Facebook at 7 PM, you can register here: https://bit.ly/3tBCYn4

Yesterday I attended a peaceful rally organized by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress in solidarity with the people of Ukraine as they face ongoing violence caused by the unprovoked invasion of their country by the Russian government. The Toronto-St. Paul’s community joined me in support.

I spoke to one young woman who shared her unbearable worry for her ENTIRE family in Ukraine, they have all been endangered by this war.

Let me be clear, this violence must stop.

We must support the people of Ukraine and their right to self-determination. We must also remember the African and South Asian students and others who are non-white trying to flee who have reported being subject to racism. As your MPP, I will continue to support financial aid from Ontario to the humanitarian organizations working in Ukraine and with refugees displaced by this crisis.

Today in the legislature I spoke in opposition to the government’s plan to deregulate acupuncture and other forms of Traditional Chinese Medicine. This deregulation would leave those that need the help of acupuncturists and other practitioners without important protections from poorly trained or untrained service providers. It also an insult to the many skilled workers in these fields, and devalues their unique expertise. Fortunately, the Ford government agreed to abandon this reckless plan, thanks to the efforts of community activists and my colleagues in the NDP caucus. You can see my speech here.

On Friday night, I attended the opening night of Hillcrest Village Player’s community theatre production of Anne of Green Gables at St. Matthew’s Church. It was a great show, and seeing live theatre return is something that I know many of us have been looking forward to for some time.

If you want to see this play, you can find out more about the show here. Thanks to the performers, organizers and other volunteers for their hard work in creating some much needed entertainment and distraction.

Lastly, I’d like to share the paintings of Aykut Gurcaglar. Aykut is an immigrant from Turkey and a retired professor of Art History. I find that his watercolour paintings really capture the everyday beauty of our Toronto streetscapes.

Aykut has an online business selling accessories decorated with prints of his art, you can see more of his art here: https://atlasarts.ca/.

Finally today, I must once again remind everyone to continue wearing masks when needed and following the best directives of our public health experts. Vaccination remains the most important step you can take to protect yourself and your community from COVID-19 – and if you still haven’t gotten fully vaccinated – please do as soon as possible!

In Solidarity,

Jill Andrew

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