Community News Update - September 25, 2023

Dear Community,

Queen's Park is back in session and so is your Ontario NDP! Ready to fight like hell and lift up there voices of Ontarians who've been disregarded by the PC government, ensuring they are heard loud and clear.

First thing's first. Earlier today, in the session's first question period, I rose to demand the Premier speak directly to trans students to COMMIT to ensuring they are safe in schools. This comes weeks after he, in an attempt to distract Ontarians from his government's deep corruption, dog whistled to anti-trans folks that he would effectively "out" trans youth to their parents, regardless of whether their home was safe for them.

Trans students headed back to the classroom earlier this month rightly scared, after the Premier provided space for hatred against them through his words. They need to know school is safe for them to be themselves. Sadly, this government failed to promise that today. And so, we keep pushing. 

Watch the clip here.

Through the lunch hour, I stood alongside your Ontario NDP, labour leaders and allies, healthcare workers, and THOUSANDS of Ontarians to send a clear message to Doug Ford and this PC government: Ontario's public healthcare is not for sale! It never has been and NEVER will be.

The unprecedented turnout was a testament to Ontarians, who are saying 'enough is enough'. They are not standing for any further negligence of our crumbling healthcare system; one getting worse by the day.

And just like we did today, we'll keep rallying together to safeguard our healthcare system from privatization. Healthcare is and remains a fundamental human right, and when it comes to those, there's absolutely no room for profit.

What an eventful weekend it has been! It was a true honor to participate in "The 52: Stories of Women who Transformed Toronto" showcased last Friday at Nuit Blanche by the Myseum of Toronto.

As many of you are aware, I hold a deep passion for artistic expression. Being a part of an exhibit that celebrated such powerful women reinforces my belief that our work must continue.

I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the Myseum of Toronto for featuring my story, and to all who took the time to visit the exhibition and other ones across Ontario to support artists who continue to being a rich vibrancy to our city. 

It is a privilege to represent the St. Paul's community, and I am thrilled to see our collaborative efforts are creatively gaining recognition across Ontario. I hope that my story serves as an inspiration, encouraging others to join in the fight for change and the building of strong communities.

Over the weekend, I also had the pleasure of visiting the exciting new art installation at the corner of Eglinton and Oakwood avenues, right here in our vibrant Little Jamaica. On September 23, "LAPS - A Journey Through Time – Here and Now" graced our neighborhood with its presence.

This interactive exhibit features six towering hourglass modules, each standing at over seven feet in height. It offers an extraordinary opportunity for visitors to physically engage with a captivating visual experience. By turning a steering wheel, one can manipulate time, immersing themselves in a breathtaking audio and visual journey that encourages reflection on the passage of time.

This amazing immersive experience will welcome more meaningful connections and conversations in our community. Please go check it out, and show some love to the businesses in Little Jamaica!!

Below are some images of the lovely people I met when visiting the LAP installations! 

Mabel's Fables, our local independent children's bookstore, continues to infuse our community with literature, joy, and educational opportunities, nurturing children's imaginations and growth.

This weekend, the beloved bookstore marked its 35th anniversary with a lively community celebration. I had the privilege of presenting them with a certificate and delivering a speech expressing our community's deep appreciation for their dedication to our youth and the world of literature. It is vital that we acknowledge and thank businesses like Mabel's Fables, whose contributions are invaluable to the growth and spirit of our community.

I'd also like to wish a Happy Franco-Ontarian Day to everyone in the St. Paul's Riding. French is such a vibrant and integral part of our diverse cultural mosaic, and today we celebrate the rich contributions of Franco-Ontarians to our province's and communities heritage and identity.

Speaking of community! Just when I thought my weekend couldn't get any better! I had the opportunity to take part in the FLOC Courtyard Crawl at Constance Hamilton - yet another occasion uniting our community through DELICIOUS food, music, entertainment, and games.

It filled my heart with happiness to acknowledge the numerous committed volunteers who consistently turn these community-building events into such an amazing experience and reality.

Meeting constituents like this serves as an imperative reminder of how vital it is to uphold the communal spirit we have in #TOStPauls. 

On Sunday, I had the privilege of attending the Legacy Awards by B.L.A.C.K Canada, a broadcasted event on CBC. The ceremony paid tribute to the influential voices of Black entertainers and creatives. I share the same sentiments as this organization, which tirelessly strives to nurture the growth of young and emerging Black talent in the entertainment industry. Moreover, it is dedicated to combating racism and dismantling any form of discrimination that may hinder the progress of Black artists.

I cherished the opportunity to connect with Black influencers and artists. Their contributions not only enrich Canada's art scene, but also provide representation for communities like one of ours, Little Jamaica, allowing diverse groups to be seen and heard in the broader cultural landscape.

This event was a true celebration of the power of unity and creativity.

I want to say thank you to Shamier Anderson and Stephan James, the founders of the B.L.A.C.K initiative for the invite, and also for the work they do uplifting Black talent! 

Check out some of images below from last nights show! I got to hang out with some of Canada's most talented from Keshia Chante, Marlon Palmer and Kardinal Offishall! 

With fall just around the corner, our friends at The Appletree Group are making the most of it through the last few weeks of their Davisville Market at June Rowlands Park (220 Davisville Ave.)

On top of an incredible selection of goodies by local vendors, they're also hosting special events each Tuesday for the next three weeks. Each is sure to be a beautiful afternoon or evening, celebrating another successful summer of this community treasure and welcome in a new season. 

See below for details & click here to follow along with The Appletree Group for updates.

Tuesday, September 26 @ 5pm: Make your own AppleTree T-shirt!
Tuesday, October 3: #DavisvilleDiversity Community Supper

Hot off the heels of a scandalous summer, I know Ontarians are ready and waiting to hold Ford to the fire for his shady antics. from shortchanging public spending by $7.2 billion to padding the pockets of a select few of his friends to the tune of $8.3 billion, he has much to answer to.

But what's most important to me is YOU, community. Whether it's healthcare waittimes, crumbling schools, astronomical housing costs, transit delays - you name it - I want to hear how EACH DOLLAR could be better invested in you, your family, and our community.

Get in touch by emailing [email protected]

On October 2nd at 5PM, join the folks from No Demovictions and other affordable housing allies as they rally at Toronto City Hall on International Tenants' Day!

With today's public healthcare rally falling on Yom Kippur meant many in the Jewish community weren't able to attend as they observe this holy day. As such, our own community's Rabbi Shalom Schachter has seen that the Ontario Health Coaltion is also hosting a second rally on Queen's Park front lawn tomorrow at noon, so the many Jewish Ontarians in the fight for public healthcare can participate. Thank you, Rabbi for sharing the below words to the importance of tomorrow's event, and your work in ensuring that this call to action is inclusive of Jewish voices.

Yom Kippur is the most solemn day in the Jewish calendar. It is a day spent in self reflection and prayer on how we can live more respectful and caring lives. We abstain from acts of pleasure and dominance over one another and nature. Each of us accepts as an individual our collective responsibility for the wellbeing of everyone in society and for the planet. We have a responsibility to protect the work of Creation for future generations. We have a duty to ensure that everyone has the basic services to live a respectful life.

In our prayer titled Unetaneh Tokef we recognize that not everyone will survive the year. We recite; Mi Yichyeh u'Mi Yamut - who will live and who will die; Mi va'Ra'av u'Mi Va"tzama - who will die from hunger and who will die from thirst; Mi Yishaleiv u'Mi Yityasar - who will have access to all they need and who will be deprived.

The prayer ends with a recognition that our future is not cast in stone, that we have the ability to change our destiny and that deeds of social justice can provide relief.

During the Yamim Nora'im the Days of Awe consisting of the time period from Rosh Hashana the Jewish New Year to Yom Kippur - the Day of Atonement, we recall that all humanity is created in the Divine Image and that our collective actions have consequences. Every person deserves access to basic public services whether to food, shelter, education or health care.

 The public rallies outside Queen's Park have been organized because the current provincial government is seeking to privatize much of health care. We know that privatization of health care reduces the quality and quantity of health care. Private provision of health care is more expensive and therefore reduces the capacity of the provincial government to finance other basic services such as food, accommodation and education.

The annual opening of the Legislature is a day when ordinary citizens have the ability to meet outside Queen's Park to express their views on the priorities of the government. It is an essential element of the democratic process. This Government has chosen to move the date of the opening of the Legislature to Yom Kippur, which will deprive observant members of the Jewish community of the opportunity to participate in this vital democratic event. Out of respect for our community the Ontario Health Coalition is organizing a second rally on September 26, the day after Yom Kippur, to enable Jews who spend Yom Kippur in synagogue to come to Queen's Park to express their views to the Government. Members of other faith communities will attend in solidarity as well as members of the Legislative Assembly.

If you care about the future of health care please make plans to be at Queen's Park on September 26.


Doing their part to tackle growing food insecurity in our community & beyond, Frankel Lambert Outreach Committee's (FLOC) food table at Marian Engel Park is back this Saturday.

Whether you've got donations to spare or need some extra groceries to get you through the week, come on down between 11AM to 1PM to take what you need and leave what you don't. No questions asked!

Please see the below invitation from Land Alliance, an historic alliance formed by five strong First Nations to protect their lands and waters in the face of mounting concerns about encroachment on their territories by mining exploration companies who have been enabled by the Ford Government.

On September 27th, 12 pm 2023 five First Nations from Northern Ontario will come to Toronto to lead a march calling on Premier Ford to end unwanted mining activity on their Territories.

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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