Bad Date Coalition (BDC)
The Bad Date Coalition has provided safety tools and resources to sex workers and community agencies for over 11 years. The BDC’s core service is compiling and distributing printed Bad Date Booklets, an important safety tool for the sex work community. The term “bad date” is used to describe an episode of violence enacted upon a sex worker, as well as incidents of theft, refusal of payment, threats, rudeness, time wasting, harassment, aggressive behaviour, etc. Sex workers face many barriers to reporting bad dates due to stigma and criminalization.
Black Lives Matter Toronto Freedom School
BLM Freedom School is a three-week program for children aged four to ten years old, to respond to a lack of humanizing, self-affirming, queer-positive educational opportunities for Black children in the GTA. Freedom school provides an alternative setting for parents who do not feel that our children are being taught self-love, nor a passion for justice and liberation through formal education. The program is designed to teach children about Black Canadian and diasporic history, to engage children in political resistance to anti-Black racism and state violence through a trans-feminist lens, and to offer children an entry point into the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Butterfly (Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network)
Butterfly was formed by sex workers, social workers, legal and health professionals. It provides support to, and advocates for, the rights of Asian and migrant sex workers. The organization is founded upon the belief that sex workers are entitled to respect and basic human rights.
The Groundswell grant will help fund Butterfly’s campaign on municipal massage parlour policy, which may cause more than 92 % of workers to lose their licenses and jobs if Toronto passes a new bylaw that uses anti-trafficking as an excuse to harass and prosecute racialized workers.
Caregivers' Action Centre (CAC)
The Caregivers' Action Centre (CAC) is a grassroots organization based in Toronto, Ontario, an active community of migrant caregivers supporting each other. We reach out to other caregivers to inform them about their rights at work and support them when their rights have been violated. Since 2007, we have been advocating and lobbying for fair employment, immigration status, and access to settlement services for caregivers through self-organizing, research, and education.
CAC will use the Groundswell grant to fund a caregiver-led outreach program over the next few months. This will be an on-the-ground leafleting effort led by caregivers, combined with workshops hosted in areas with high numbers of care workers and at the Workers Action Centre.
Coalition Building is comprised of BIPOC and people who are trans, two-spirit and/or queer. We are a self-organized group of artists on the margins, using community organizing and creative expression to connect and give voice to problems that are unique to our communities. Our lives are intersectional and therefore our art is as well, with issues such as criminalization, colonization, and pacification allowing us to connect to the wider world. Everything we do is to support the communities that support us.
We are the coordinating committee for Bricks and Glitter, a festival launching this year from July 19 to 29, 2018. In the lead-up to the festival, we are organizing a series of workshops to train community organizers/artists. Participants will be trained in the essential skills of organizing public events (including workshops, parties, craft fairs, fashion shows, etc.) and given an opportunity to organize events for the festival itself. Groundswell funds will pay for the staff hours necessary to develop the workshops, support their execution, and lay the groundwork for the festival.
Education Not Incarceration
Education Not Incarceration is a team of educators, researchers, journalists, youth, students, parents/caregivers, and community organizers in Toronto. We have come together to address the school-to-prison pipeline, which criminalizes students and disproportionately impacts those who are Black, Indigenous, and racialized. We are committed to challenging educational policies and practices that compromise the safety and quality of learning environments for young people, as well as the equity and integrity of the education system as a whole.
These include a reliance on punitive disciplinary measures such as suspension and expulsion, police presence in schools, increased surveillance and intelligence gathering, excessive use of force, racial profiling, and collusion with the Canada Border Services Agency.
Recently, in coalition with other organizers, we successfully campaigned for the removal of School Resource Officers (i.e., permanent armed and uniformed police presence) from the largest public school board in Canada, the Toronto District School Board. We will use Groundswell funds to continue to build capacity to pursue constructive and holistic alternatives that transform our schools into places where all students can thrive.
Grassy Narrows Women’s Drum Group
The Grassy Narrows Women's Drum Group was formed in 2002 after Grassy Narrows’ opposition to logging became internationally known through a community-led blockade. The Drum Group raises awareness about the community's ongoing struggle to protect the land, water, air, wild plants and animals, and the Anishinabek. We work to empower our women and youth to take action in defence of our people and mother earth according to traditional responsibilities. We also keep the fire of our land-based culture burning through land use, ceremony, healing, and teachings.
The Grassy Narrows Women’s Drum Group will use the Groundswell grant to help organize a three-day Anishinaabekwe (Indigenous women) gathering in July, bringing together the Indigenous land-defending women of our community and region to strengthen our movement, to defend our territory from clear-cut logging, resource extraction, and to demand restitution for mercury poisoning.
Indigenous Land Defence Across Borders (ILDAB)
Indigenous Land Defence Across Borders (ILDAB) is a grassroots initiative that aims to coordinate efforts between Indigenous peoples for the defense of their lands against colonial practices of land confiscation, resource extractions and forced expulsions. To challenge the global process of colonialism, imperialism, capitalism, racism and patriarchy across colonized territories, ILDAB is partnering with members of No More Silence (NMS) to conduct solidarity delegations (from Palestine to Turtle Island and vice versa). The purpose of these delegations is to engage in educational exchanges to learn more about the colonial violence that is being experienced by Indigenous peoples across these geographies, and to develop political alliances and initiatives in the protection of Indigenous people lands, water and life.
Participants from Palestine will include members of the Stop the Wall Campaign and activists from the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions Movement. Delegates from Turtle Island will include members from NMS and Palestine solidarity activists. All participating members are frontline grassroots organizers that will mobilize and build the capacity of their respective communities while forming global grassroots relations linking these struggles for decolonization. The delegations will be videotaped, and a documentary produced by Wolf Dog Productions. ILDAB will use the Groundswell grant to fund the travel of Palestinian participants to Turtle Island in the fall of 2018.
The Mashkiki Collective is a knowledge revitalization project for Womxn, Two-Spirit, Trans, Queer, LGBIAP+, Non-Binary, Genderqueer, Bigender, and Agender community members who identify as Anishinaabe (Anishinaabe, Ojibwe, Chippewa, Saulteaux, Oji-Cree, Odawa, Potawatomi, Algonquin) and/or Métis. Through this collective, we aim to revitalize our land-based healing practices, reclaim our traditional roles as community healers in working with our plant medicines, and examine approaches to ecological restoration that are informed by our teachings, stories, experiences, and lived knowledges.
Through online workshops and meet-ups with our medicines, this collective serves as a knowledge-sharing community for us to have intimate discussions on how we can reorient our ceremonial, sacred, and everyday spaces to honour our safety and existences. This collective operates in solidarity with TQBIPOC and WOC and aims to generate collective political, spiritual, and medicinal healing and support through our decolonial and ancestral practices.
Groundswell funding will support our operational and materials costs. This support will allow us to ensure that community workshops and knowledge-sharing events are accessible to community members by continuing to provide mailed medicines and provide medicine-making materials to community members (many of whom are located in Ontario) at no cost to them. This support will further go towards maintaining and expanding our existing medicine garden so that we have a wider variety and quantity of our traditional medicines available for wellness, educational, and spiritual purposes.
No More Silence
No More Silence (NMS) aims to develop an inter/national network to support the work being done by activists, academics, researchers, agencies, and communities to stop the murders and disappearances of Indigenous women. NMS is made up of Indigenous women and Two Spirits and their allies. We take our direction from cis and trans women working on the frontlines to end violence against Indigenous women and girls and Two Spirit people across Turtle Island.
This year, Indigenous Land Defence Across Borders (ILDAB) was initiated by No More Silence along with members of the Palestinian community in Toronto and the West Bank. The collaboration is organizing a solidarity exchange between Six Nations and Palestine. This feminist-led initiative of Indigenous women and their allies will coordinate between Indigenous activists on Turtle Island and in Palestine. Solidarity exchanges will begin with visits to the Six Nations Land Reclamation, and a delegation of Indigenous community members who will travel to Palestine in the summer of 2018. The goal is to educate our respective communities and build the global network for the defence of our lands against colonial confiscation, resource extraction, and forced expulsions. The delegations will be videotaped, and a documentary produced by Wolf Dog Productions. No More Silence will use the Groundswell funds to fund the travel of Indigenous community members to Palestine in the summer of 2018.
OCAP strives to develop the capacity of oppressed communities to confront injustice by demonstrating the power of collective action. Through direct action and casework, OCAP strives to build a mass movement capable of confronting the capitalist system while simultaneously fighting to seek redress for cases of individual injustice.
Groundswell funds will help support OCAP's monthly speakers' series in the downtown east neighbourhood. The event has become an invaluable bridge to the neighbouring community and features a community meal, followed by a presentation and discussion on issues that are critical to the success of poor people's movements.
Odemin Giizis Indigenous Full Spectrum Doula Collective
Indigenous women and Two-spirit people form this growing collective working to provide the support we wish we had through birth, miscarriages, terminations, sexual health, trauma recovery, and parenting. We are parents or have direct lived experience that drove us to seek out this work and see the need in our communities for this kind of support.
Doulas provide non-clinical, emotional, and physical support to pregnant people before, during and after labor and birth. Full Spectrum doulas can also accompany people to sexual and reproductive health appointments or support with ﬁnding resources speciﬁc to their needs. They can play the role of an auntie, friend, companion, and listening ear. This is especially important for Indigenous people who face racism and extreme discrimination in health care settings.
We endeavor to do this not as a frontline service but through community referrals, relationships and those who know and trust us already. Indigenous people from rural and remote communities must often travel to major urban centres like Toronto and, while they can sometimes take a single companion, they may not know anyone else. As we are currently a grassroots collective providing direct peer support, Groundswell funds will help cover transportation costs, food, and small gifts or needs that clients may have.
Rethink 150 is an Okanagan/Syilx-led awareness-raising initiative that prioritizes involvement from members of the Syilx Nation, while welcoming the collective efforts of both Okanagan and non-Okanagan. The idea for Rethink 150 emerged from the desire from Syilx community members to create an alternative narrative for the Canada 150 celebrations in 2017. Through conversations about the need to resist Canada 150, some members of the Syilx community expressed their interest to others—both Indigenous and settler—and the idea started to grow.
Last year, through Canada’s 150-year celebrations, Rethink 150 raised two billboards on Okanagan/Syilx reserve land, located on high-traffic highways. These billboards gained a lot of public attention and opened important conversation among the broader public. We want to keep the success and momentum of this campaign moving forward. Groundswell funds will help support another two rounds of billboard designs aimed at raising awareness about systemic racism and injustices produced from the ongoing settler colonial project. Rethink 150 will employee two Okanagan/Syilx artists to create the designs for these billboards and the mounting, maintenance, and repair of the billboards will come from the work of volunteers.
Sacred Seeds Collective (fka Mno Wiisini Gitigaanan)
Sacred Seeds Collective is a rural, grassroots, mixed-race Two Spirit (Queer & Trans Indigenous)-led sustenance sovereignty initiative located on shared traditional Métis, Anishinaabek, and Rotinosaunee (longhouse) homelands near the shores of Waaseyaagami-wiikwed (Georgian Bay), in Dish with One Spoon Treaty territory. We steward garden spaces on an Indigenous-owned and -operated farm in Simcoe County, as well as a modest sugar bush in Tiny Township, where we gather to share Indigenous earthwork knowledges, alongside growing traditional plant foods and medicines to distribute in community.
Groundswell funds will support the expansion of our sustenance sovereignty initiative through the implementation of basic infrastructure to enhance our general operations, make our gardens more accessible, and keep the medicine we distribute free or low-cost. We plan to develop a plant nursery, create a more accessible gathering space at the gardens for participants, and purchase a printer to build capacity for outreach, labeling/packaging, and completing administrative tasks.
3R International works with racialized youth from disadvantaged backgrounds facing the Canadian justice system. We work with families of racially profiled youth who have criminal records and who do not understand anything about the Canadian justice system. We build the power of racialized communities by taking the time, through information workshops and a hotline, to inform as best we can the members of our communities.
We disseminate information about the Canadian justice system in community centers, schools, and to citizens. With the Groundswell grant, 3R International is planning a youth training program, to prepare youth to become agents of change in their own schools, neighbourhoods, and with their peers.