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 Creek Food Justice Network
The Black Creek Food Justice Network (BCFJN) is a grassroots, social justice working group of Jane-Finch residents, partnering with like-minded food movement community organizations and agencies to fight for food justice in our community and beyond. We are an action-focused and social justice-based group. We believe that fighting for food justice requires addressing the intersections of food with health, income, labour, migration, race, policing, the environment, gender and more.
BCFJN is currently operating on a skeleton team because of lack of sustainable and ethical funding. We have been working on meeting the demands from our report, Fighting for Food Justice in the Black Creek Community: Report, Analyses and Steps Forward. We will use Groundswell funding to host a community event on the report's demands, further advance our radio program "Food Frequencies" that we are transitioning into a podcast on issues of food justice in Toronto, and assist in providing food, childcare, and transportation for our monthly meetings, helping residents to meet, develop actions, and build capacity.
Black Creek Food Justice on Facebook
Black Lives Matter
Black Lives Matter's vision is to be a platform upon which black communities across Toronto can actively dismantle all forms of anti-black racism, liberate blackness, support black healing, affirm black existence, and create freedom to love and self- determine. Our mission is to forge critical connections and to work in solidarity with black communities, black-centric networks, solidarity movements, and allies in order to dismantle all forms of state-sanctioned oppression, violence, and brutality committed against African, Caribbean, and Black cis, queer, trans, and disabled populations in Toronto.
Caribbean Solidarity Network
Caribbean Solidarity Network engages in community education initiatives to build power within the Caribbean diaspora in Toronto, providing a space for Caribbean community and invested allies to foment ideas and build collective knowledge of present circumstances. Political education, providing resources, and sharing knowledge is central. Communities can only be strong if organizing and activism is grounded in historical knowledge, especially Caribbean and diaspora radical thought.
Some of our key activities include community research, teach-ins, partnerships with A Different Book List, information sharing about how to get involved in cannabis farming, and more. While most of our events happen downtown, most of our membership is based in the inner suburbs. Groundswell funding will help us organize and host our events and engage in community outreach and education.
Circle of Care Collective
The Circle of Care Collective project brings together POC birth workers (doulas and lactation consultant) to provide emotional, spiritual, educational, and physical support from conception to postpartum to POC communities in the Ottawa region.
Groundswell funding will be used to offer a skills and evidence-based training to Ottawa birth workers through a POC and social justice lens, facilitated by members of established doula collectives from Canada and the US. As well, the money will help organize prenatal/postpartum groups for POC parents, acquire items to better support people giving birth, create resource materials, and collect data that will inform the birth experiences of people within POC communities.
Georgian Bay Two Spirit Pow Wow
The Georgian Bay Two Spirit Pow Wow (GBTSPW) was born out of a need to create safe ceremonial space in community for Two Spirit people, especially youth. GBTSPW is organized by and for Two Spirit Indigenous peoples. We work hard to ensure that Two Spirit youth are in leadership roles in all aspects of Pow Wow organizing, as well as the Pow Wow itself (Head Dancers, Big Drum groups, ceremony conductors, MCs, and within the Grand Entry procession). Two Spirit people face intersecting forms of oppression, including white supremacy, colonization, homophobia, transphobia, displacement, poverty, and lack of access to culture.
Due to ongoing colonization, many of our traditions around gender and sexual diversity have been repressed and forgotten. Many of our Elders and knowledge keepers are survivors of residential schools and other forms of violent assimilation. This has created a situation where Two Spirit people are oftentimes excluded from ceremony and cultural activities. The GBTSPW confronts these forms of oppression through an inside-out approach, helping to restore the places of Two Spirit people in Indigenous communities.
Groundswell funding will allow us to host the second annual, youth-led, Two Spirit Pow Wow. Ours is the only youth-led and the only Two Spirit Pow Wow in the region. We launched last year with very limited resources. With more funding support this year, we plan on enhancing the ceremonial and educational components of the Pow Wow, as well as strengthening our outreach in community to enhance participation. Specifically, funds will be directed towards gifts, honorariums (for Head Dancers, Elders, youth leaders, an arena director, and MCs), facilities rental, materials for ceremonies, feast foods, advertising materials, transportation, and general equipment.
Hamilton Tenants Solidarity Network (HTNS)
The Hamilton Tenants Solidarity Network (HTSN) is a grassroots initiative that seeks to link tenants through mutual support and direct action. Our goal is to build working-class resistance to absentee slumlords, rising rents, tenant harassment, and the municipally encouraged gentrification that is reducing housing affordability and displacing both long-time and newer tenants in favour of middle-income residents fleeing the Toronto property market. We will organize block-by-block and building-by-building, providing resources, training, and support as needed. Established and newly organized building committees and tenant associations will work to bring our collective weight to bear on issues and injustices affecting renters across the city.
HTSN and our affiliated organization, the Stoney Creek Towers Tenant Committee (SCTTC), have been deeply engaged in tenant organizing in the east-end Riverdale neighbourhood. In 2018, HTSN and SCTTC co-organized a rent strike in the Stoney Creek Towers to challenge an Above Guideline Increase (AGI) in rent being levied on residents by their landlord, a major real estate investment trust. This year, we hope to set up a broader neighbourhood organization in Riverdale to expand tenant organizing beyond the four Stoney Creek Towers high-rises to the many other rental apartment buildings in the neighbourhood. As we expand, Groundswell funding will help pay for room bookings for meetings and events, translation, and the printing of flyers.
jiishaakwa'igan | ʔĮghol | scraper collective
This project is by and for Indigenous hide workers revitalizing the art of hide working in their communities and we prioritize Two Spirit, trans, and femme hide workers. Collective members are Indigenous hide workers, accountable to our respective communities, who are doing important resurgence work with tanning animal hides and focusing on reviving skills fractured by the impacts of colonization. We have all faced a lack of support and access to knowledge carriers and experts in this work. This collective will help break that isolation. By inviting members from various Indigenous communities to take part in processing hides with the collective, more of our people will learn and receive hands on experience in hide work.
Groundswell funding will support the resurgence work of our collective in purchasing tools, supplies, and equipment necessary for tanning hides, making tools, connecting with knowledge carriers, establishing support networks, and hosting community learning opportunities.
Justicia for Migrant Workers (J4MW)
Justicia for Migrant Workers (J4MW) is a volunteer-run political collective comprised of people from diverse walks of life (including migrant workers, labour organizers, educators, researchers, students and racialized youth) based in Toronto, Ontario. J4MW strives to promote the rights of migrant farm workers (participating in the Canadian Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program, the Low Skilled Workers Program and other programs) and farm workers without status. Promoting workers’ rights entails creating spaces where workers themselves can organize and voice their concerns without losing their work or being repatriated.
The collective starts with workers’ knowledge and concerns, and fights for change collectively, basing our work on fighting racism, sexism and capitalism. We see ourselves as a movement of workers and allies and strive to support organizing that is led and directed by workers in the fields, farms, and greenhouses.
Groundswell funding will be used to organize outreach trips, develop workshops, translate materials, and gas and car rental for outreach to rural communities across southwestern Ontario. The money will also be used to develop specific strategies for outreach with migrant women. This work will contribute to long-term relationship building with migrant workers across Ontario, specifically in communities where no community infrastructure exists.
Kii-ga-do-waak Nookimisuk Northern Grandmothers Council
Kii-Ga-Do-Waak Nookimisuk is a grassroots collective that works to address sexual violence, exploitation, and human trafficking in Anishinaabek communities along the north shore of Ontario. Anishinaabe worldview respects Grandmothers as authorities, educators, and keepers of important cultural knowledge, and Grandmothers councils, such as Kii-Ga-Do- Waak Nookimisuk, are an important form of Indigenous Governance in communities, as they assist in the healing and wellness of their people through addressing gender-based violence.
Kii-Ga-Do-Waak Nookimisuk have worked along the north shore of Ontario to support their respective communities, including Sault Ste Marie, Batchewana First Nation, Serpent River First Nation and Wikwemikong Unceded First Nation, to name a few. They have fostered relationships with Indigenous communities and organizations around the province by speaking at conferences and gatherings, doing one-on-one support work like traditional counselling and healing, supporting traditional rites of passage like Grandmother ceremonies and strawberry teachings for young women, as well as cedar baths, sweats and fasting.
The Grandmothers have worked for several years doing their grassroots work as one-off programs within larger mainstream anti-human trafficking coalitions but have found it imperative to branch off to continue their work as their own solo collective, centering their Indigenous-centered worldview. Kii-Ga-Do-Waak Nookimisuk would like to create more capacity for their initiative’s work, which supports healing of communities and the prevention and awareness of sexual violence, exploitation, and human trafficking. Groundswell funding will help the Grandmothers in furthering the work done through their previous gatherings, building capacity through strategic planning, more administrative capacity, and creating a custom culturally relevant manual to further train more Grandmothers in their and other communities to forward this important work.
LesBond: Asian Queer Women Migrants Support Project
LesBond is an Asian queer migrant group in Toronto, supporting people who are queer women and migrants coming from Asian countries, who have been through the immigration process, and who are looking for a community in Canada. Most of our members are directly affected by the issues of isolation, racism, homophobia, and lack of resources and networks. Racialized queer women migrants' needs have been ignored by current community/settlement services under heteronormative, male, and white dominant worldviews. Through connecting Asian queer women migrants who share common concerns and struggles, we can develop our strategies of dealing with oppression, racism, and challenges.
We will be able to form a community with strong support and understanding of our unique transnational background and experiences, to talk about the issues we all face in Canada and back home and build up the confidence to fight for equal opportunities in the future. We can dream about life in Canada as queer women migrants and start building our career, family, and relationships based on others' successful experiences. We can become visible in Canadian society to represent the diversity in queer communities and believe in our own way of living counter to Westernized and white-washed discourse of identities.
Groundswell funding will help LesBond carry out monthly leadership building in 2019 to support Asian queer women migrants in sharing knowledge, living strategies, and experiences and challenges of using/approaching current settlement/LGBTQ services in Canada, to eliminate the gaps between current LGBTQ/ethnic community services and individuals' needs, and to decolonize Western perspectives of sexuality/normativity imposed on Asian queer women migrants that shape their identities. Our leadership-building group is a platform for members to deal with challenges through collecting resources, sharing experiences, and empowering collective voices.
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.
Migrant Detainee Support Coalition (Midesuco)
The Migrant Detainee Support Coalition (Midesuco) is a network of individuals whose communities are directly affected by immigration detention. Since our inception in 2016, we have supported current and former detainees by organizing visits, observing detention reviews, coordinating with legal counsel and relevant service agencies to come up with release plans, fundraising for legal fees, providing support post-release/post-detention, and uplifting the leadership of detainees and families.
Midesuco believes that non-migrants who want to support the migrant justice movement and anti-immigration detention work should focus on diverting resources to former detainees and their families. We believe that only a strong movement of migrants who feel the impacts and consequences of detention can truly end immigration detention. We recognize that the axis of settler colonialism, imperialism, and anti-Blackness is manifested in Canada’s immigration detention system.
With newly secured funding, we plan to restart the Immigration Detainee Support Line. The phoneline aims to be a support service for migrants incarcerated due to immigration issues. The primary purpose is to connect detainees and their families with information on what services they can access, as well as to other relevant community supports. While the phoneline has mostly run out of Central East Correctional Facility, we want to focus on reaching out to women, trans, and non-binary detainees in Vanier, and the holding centre in Rexdale. Groundswell funding will help to cover phoneline costs for 6 months and hire a former immigration detainee as a part-time coordinator, in charge of coordinating shifts and fundraising money for the phoneline to keep receiving calls.
Ocama Collective is a community-directed group of queer birth workers of colour, living in Tkaronto (Toronto), who are dedicated to the reclamation of traditional and holistic child-bearing and birthing practices among IBPOC folx. We formed this collective because, in our individual work as doulas, we witness first-hand the oppressive structures within the medical industrial complex, which can often lead to triggering and traumatic birthing experiences for racialized, queer, and trans families journeying through pregnancy, miscarriage, labour, birth, self-determined termination, and postpartum.
Ocama Collective comes from a place of understanding the detrimental effects colonization and white centering have had on Indigenous, Black, and racialized peoples all over the world. We acknowledge the inter-generational trauma experienced, and that colonization is on-going, and we hold space for birth workers and pregnant folks healing from this trauma and the continued trauma of miscarriage, still birth, neo-natal loss, seizure of our children by CAS, loss of language, and loss of ritual and ceremony to honour our pregnancies, labours, and postpartum truths.
Our mission as a collective is to be able to provide free support to folx with limited access to doulas, including people who are immigrants, refugees and non-status folx with a lack of family or community supports in Toronto, or folx in our city's shelter systems, as well as those facing criminalization. Groundswell funding will be used to provide free care and free supplies (such as postpartum care boxes) for clients, along with putting on free educational programming for folx seeking to become active in birth work and clients navigating pregnancy, parenthood, loss and birth.
Trans Liberation Now! (TLN!)
TLN! is a grassroots community initiative by and for the Two Spirit and/or Trans community. We are shifting the landscape in Simcoe County away from a social service/charity model towards a self and community empowerment model. We emerged in response to dominant institutions that have access to resources to learn and gain skills about servicing our community. Meanwhile, our community itself is under-resourced with little to no opportunities for us to share knowledge and skills together in an organized, accessible manner.
Groundswell funding will go directly towards TLN! program and capacity-building costs with a focus on accessibility for all Two-Spirit and Trans community members who want to be a part of TLN! This includes promotional and outreach materials, training fees, food and refreshments, transportation costs, program materials, honorariums and space rentals.