As we begin another week, we are taking another step together towards the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re not there yet, but it’s worth acknowledging how far we’ve come together in the fight against COVID-19.
One the major challenges presented by COVID-19 is something that our community has been dealing with for many years – a housing crisis. With the arrival of COVID-19, life has become even more unsafe for those who are precariously housed, or who are currently experiencing homelessness. In our community, that has meant the arrival of three shelters in the Yonge and Eglinton area. While the necessity of the shelters can’t be debated, there is a real conversation to be had about the lack of supports that accompanied the shelters, and the subsequent impacts on the community.
As the provincial representative for this community, I have watched the Ford government cut safe injection sites and chronically underfund supports for our most vulnerable. Before them, the Liberal government for 15 years largely did the same with massive cuts to supportive housing. It’s been frustrating to watch our province turn it’s back on those who need the support the most – and right now we’re seeing the manifestation of these many years of irresponsible governance and many community members have voiced their concerns with regards to their safety in our Yonge and Eglinton community and are deeply frustrated that they were left out of public consultations. As your MPP I am listening to all concerns and stand for solutions that address head on the structural inequities that are coming to bare.
Let’s pull together to address the challenges we’re facing – and not apart.
An interesting reality about COVID-19 is that it has been a truly universally difficult experience – and for many members of our community we seen stress and anxiety levels rise to all time highs. Everything about COVID-19’s impact on our society has been hard and there is absolutely no shame in the sense of fear and trepidation that is pulsing through many of us right now. Each and every one of us will process the grief and stress of 2020 differently – but we all need tools and supports to get through it.
For this reason, I’m thrilled to be able to share with you an incredible project being spearheaded by the phenomenal team at Skills for Change – who have put together an online workshop about “reducing stress and anxiety” that will be happening tomorrow morning (August 11th) at 10AM. If you are interested in attending, you can sign up here.
We are genuinely so lucky to have Skills for Change right here in our community, and if you are interested in finding out more about the programs and workshops they offer, please make sure to check out their website here.
Today, the Ontario Human Rights Commission released a report on anti-Black racism in policing. Frankly, the results of their report confirm what we already know – Black people are more likely to be arrested, charged, shot, and killed by the Toronto Police. This new data from the OHRC piles onto to an irrefutable mound of evidence that our policing systems are in dire need of reform. This is why the Ontario NDP released a detailed policy document (see it here) addressing these issues over a month ago, and why I am again calling for real action to tackle anti-Black racism in policing.
That means that we need to invest in alternative first responders, finally end carding, overhaul police oversight, and more. We need to rethink how we structure the institutions in our society that inflict structural racism on our Black and Indigenous communities.
Finally today, I want to share with you an important event that is being put on by Toronto ACORN this week. Toronto ACORN is organizing a tenants’ rights information session happening this Friday, August 14th from 6:30 to 8:30PM. The session will be online and is open to everyone. They will be covering details around rights and protections related to rent, eviction, repairs and more. If you are interested in attending the session this week click here.
They will also be hosting another session next week on Thursday, August 20th from 6:30 to 8:30PM and you can find the link to that session here.
If you have a positive story from our community OR a virtual event you're hosting that you want amplified, please email us at JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca.
Birthday, Anniversary Greetings
During normal times, my office sends out congratulatory scrolls to folks across the riding to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and other milestones! While we're taking physical distancing measures, I will be continuing this digitally. If you have a birthday coming up in the family and you would like a special video message from me, please email us at JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca. And if you should decide to share your video on social media do tag us @JillsLastWord on Twitter and Jill Andrew - MPP, Toronto-St. Paul's on Facebook.
Calling Local Artists
If you are local artist, and you have a piece of work that you’ve been putting time into, we would love to share it with the community! We know that #ArtsSavesLives and minds especially during traumatic times. If you’re interested in sharing your art please email us at JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca
ALL art submitted MUST be accompanied by a short artists statement (50 words or less) to help contextualize the art. Additionally, there are no guarantees that submissions will be included in the newsletter. Thank you for sharing your work with us and our community."
Featured Art Submission
Homage to Botticelli
'There is Always Beauty in the World'
Community Food Table Locations for Saturday August 15
St. Matthew's United Church from 11am to 3pm
729 St. Clair Ave W ( located at St. Clair West and Rushton)
Oriole Park Community Garden from 11am to 3pm
201 Oriole Parkway (near Frobisher and Lascelles)
Cy Townsend Park from 11am to 3pm
455 Winona Drive (corner of Vaughan and Winona)
Marian Engel Park from 11am to 1pm
285 Melita Ave (just west off of Christie)