2013 Grant Recipients

Anishinabek Confederacy To Invoke Our Nationhood (ACTION)

Oshkimaadziig means “The New People” in Anishinabemowin (the Ojibwe language) and comes from Seventh Fire Prophecy, in which it is said a new generation will arise to ensure humanity’s survival in the time of the Eighth Fire. The time we are living in is recognized as the time spoken about in the prophecies, and the urgency of crisis in our communities and with Mother Earth motivates our resurgence and commitment to the project we have undertaken.

Background

Since the spring of 2012, our collective of Sovereign Anishinabe individuals have maintained a unity and land reclamation camp at a traditional gathering site in Anishinabek territory. The original purpose of the camp was to protest our community’s ratification of the Coldwater-Narrows Specific Land Claim Settlement, a financial agreement between the Canadian government and four Anishinabe First Nations, which undermined our inherent and treaty rights to access our lands and practice our traditional way of life. Originally located in Coldwater, ON, we relocated to Council Rock - a site in Awenda Provincial Park near Penetanguishene, ON - and established a permanent camp focused on asserting sovereignty through direct connection to land and reclaiming our spiritual and cultural traditions. We are doing this through on-the-land skills training, practicing ceremonies, story sharing, cross-cultural dialogue, and disseminating knowledge through workshops. 

Goals

Our goal with the Unity Camp is to continue building relationships within our own Indigenous communities to fight for our rights and defend our way of life against Canada’s colonial system. We have also worked with non-Indigenous people and will continue our outreach and work with those who want to transition away from the destructive, ecocidal, colonialist, and capitalist way of life which continues to dominate our Territories. We hope to work with other groups and individuals to revitalize our inter-national treaty relationships - based on respect, solidarity, and harmony - from the ground up. We intend to stay at Oshkimaadziig indefinitely.

Contact

Website:  www.oshimaadziig.org

Email: guitar.my.art@gmail.com

Blackness Yes!

Blackness Yes! works to celebrate black and African Diaspora queer and trans history, creativity and resistance in Toronto. Through community-driven arts-based activism we work to nurture, celebrate and envision black LGBTTI2QQ communities and to create vehicles for HIV/AIDS information dissemination within black queer and trans communities.

Since 1999, we have created a black cultural space at the Toronto Pride festival: Blockorama. Blockorama is the longest running stage at Pride, and see crowds of over 5000 people over our 11 hours of programming. Our programming includes dance, performance, DJs, a community mural and information tables for local black and African diasporic organizations and community services.

We also create community-building events year-round including community town halls, Blockobana (a weekend-long biannual celebration during Caribana) and Back to Our Roots (a day-long collaborative community-building festival featuring workshops, a community kitchen, info tables, performances, a sunset service and a kiki ball heralding a return to activist-based LGBTTI2QQ pride celebrations).

We are committed to anti-oppression, (self) love, freedom and justice. We actively fight systemic racism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, classism and colonialism. We are anti-imperialism and are against the occupation of Palestine and Turtle Island.

Contact

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blockorama-Blackness-YES/177617622287511

CAMP SIS

CAMP SIS is a community owned non-profit, grassroots Camp open to women from all communities. It came about in 1995 through the labour of the Toronto MWIC. To date members of the Aboriginal + Toronto Women of Color Collective The TWCC/INCITE continue to keep the CAMP open.

We are radical feminists of colour advancing a movement to and for the rights of women. To that end we work to keep CAMP SIS coordinated by WOC and do shared events that seek to keep CAMP SIS growing as a safe space where we create art, in all its forms, organic gardening, dialogue towards ending violence against women, ableism, classism, LBTQI sexism in our communities through direct action, events and grassroots organizing.

Contact

Email: camp_sis@hotmail.com

No Fees For Work

Migrant workers are forced to pay thousands of dollars to work in Ontario. Entire families have to go into debt to pay these monies. When workers arrive in Ontario, they often find that the the job was not what they were promised. With their families under financial pressure, these workers are unwilling to complain about bad bosses because of fear of deportation.

Recruiters and employers also systematically seize documents from workers. All of this is legal in Ontario. In 2009, Live-In Caregivers forced Ontario to pass protections against recruiters - the Employment Protections for Foreign National Act (EPFNA). Unfortunately, these only apply to Live-In Caregivers and not all migrant workers. On top of that, EPFNA has not been fully implemented. The No Fees For Work Campaign intends to extend protections to all migrant workers in Ontario, and get Ontario to pass best practices laws modelled after those in Manitoba. We intend to do this led by migrant workers themselves.

Contact

Website: www.migrantworkersalliance.org

Email: coordinator@migrantworkersalliance.org

OCAP - Ontario Coalition Against Poverty

Fights for the rights of poor people using direct action. We have been organizing in Toronto and Ontario for over 22 years. Our aim is to bring together the poor, unemployed, workers and homeless to defend one another and organize to fight back against the powers that attack the poor – whether it be landlords, bosses, the police or government institutions. We are critical of symbolic gestures and protests, or negotiating without action. In the day-to-day we do casework’, meaning that we support and work with people to get benefits or wages they are entitled to.

Current Work

1) Raise the Rates Campaign: focused on raising the rates of social assistance (Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program) to a livable wage, and fighting against the cuts by the Ontario Liberal Government and for the restoration to benefits like the Special Diet and Community Start-Up and Maintenance (CSUMB).

2) Downtown East: in the Downtown East neighbourhood of Toronto where OCAP has over 20 years of history – one of the poorest urban areas with extremely high levels of homelessness and poverty and is also a neighbourhood faced with rapid gentrification. In the last year we fought against the closure of the School House, a 55 bed men’s harm reduction shelter. This year we are continuing to fight for harm reduction services to be restored and a permanent decision to keep School House open.

3) Community Organizing Course: A free course on community organizing –who keeps us poor, understanding poverty and capitalism, histories of resistance in Toronto, and ways to fight back and win! This course will run twice in 2013.

Contact

Website: www.ocap.ca

Email: ocap@tao.ca

 

 

SOSOLO Supporting Ourselves Supporting Our Loved Ones

SOSOLO was founded in June of 2011, after realizing there were minimal organizations in the GTA offering peer-support to adult family members, friends, and/or communities (loved ones), supporting people who are in conflict with the law, people who are incarcerated, and/or people who are in the reintegration process.

Our mission is to provide a continuous circle of support to loved ones impacted by the criminal justice system.  SOSOLO does this through our bimonthly support group program called The Journey, offering one-on-one informal counselling, and through our newest initiative – the sentencing support program, in which people attending the sentencing of a loved one can request to have a peer-support meet with them to provide information regarding what to expect, while offering accompaniment to the sentencing hearing.

These above mentioned programs work to address the issue of reducing isolation so often encountered by loved ones, who face continual social stigma and criminalization by default of supporting someone in conflict with the law.  Having a circle of people to whom one can speak freely and without fear of judgement, may not change the immediate situation, however, it can significantly minimize the psycho-emotional-spiritual traumas often experienced.

Contact

Website: www.sosolo.org

Email: sosolo411@gmail.com

Stop The Arrests!!! Sault Ste Marie

In late August, 2012 in Sault Ste Marie, ON, nine local women were charged under the outstanding and highly contested area of prostitution policy contained within the Criminal Code. Not only were these nine women arrested, the women’s full names and home addresses were also published by all local media sources. Reportedly fuelled by community complaints about ‘aggressive solicitation’, further arrests and media attention continued, culminating in a full‐out police and media witch‐hunt. Two former Sault Ste Marie residents, with lived sex work experience in their home community, were concerned about the safety of these community members, the street sex working community at large, and the major violations of sex workers' rights and privacy. STA!!!SSM was born.

Goals

STOP THE ARRESTS!!!SSM’s goals are to address systemic barriers that stigmatize/ criminalize and place sex workers at greater risk.

Demands

STA!!!SSM have set out 5 demands which include:

1. A moratorium on all sex worker related arrests until Bedford vs Canada is heard at the Supreme Court Of Canada

2. That media stop publishing the names and personal information of sex workers and sex worker related offences

3. That the SSM police department stop leaking the names of those arrested under these contested laws

4. A call for community based consultation on social impacts including sex workers at all levels

5. A red umbrella campaign to raise awareness of issues related to sex workers

Contact

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/STOP-the-Arrests-in-SSM-on-Sex-Worker-Solidarity/360171000726935?ref=ts&fref=ts

Email:  stopthearrestssm@gmail.com

Community Action for Families

We are a brilliant, unapologetic, grassroots movement for community transformation. We are a community of people who are mothers, people who use drugs, survivors/fighters, sex workers, and allies. We recognize that harm exists in our communities & families, and we are connected through harmful experiences from systems of oppression, especially as they relate to the “child protection” industrial complex. We are working to build nurturing and thriving communities and stronger supportive networks for our families and children to live, learn, and grow.

Vision

We envision communities that foster networks that heal and strengthen families through peer support, community accountability and transformative justice.

Mission

We aim to develop a voice and that is collective and strong, which challenges the belief that separating & controlling families fosters healthy communities. By reducing isolation and stigma for people involved in the child welfare system and their allies, we reclaim our right to mother and parent in ways that are right for our families. We believe that food, shelter, freedom and access to power are what really create strong families.

Contact

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlliesSupportingMoms?fref=ts