June is Pride Month.

While Pride is a celebration of diversity, it is also a call to action. A protest. A reminder of past, present and future challenges.

Despite tremendous progress toward acceptance and equality in society, the 2LGBTQ+ community suffers from significant health inequities perpetuated by ongoing homophobia and transphobia in the health-care system.

It is well documented that widespread barriers to health-care access continue to exist for  2LGBTQ+people, resulting in negative health outcomes across this population. In North America alone, there are more than 20 million 2LGBTQ+people (which is likely an underestimate); it is clear that ongoing health inequity for simply existing is not acceptable. Immediate and systemic action is required to address and mitigate these issues.

In Canada, the  2LGBTQ+ population “experiences numerous health inequities” such as poor mental and physical health outcomes, decreased access to treatment (including HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP ), higher rates of substance misuse and higher rates of chronic illness. 2LGBTQ+ people are also four times more likely to have suicidal thoughts compared to the general population.

There are many reasons for these inequities, including “social, legal and identity-related (such as age or ethnocultural background)” , social determinants of health relating to “oppression and discrimination” and overall intersectionality, which depicts how people often face multiple facets of oppression simultaneously (i.e., racism, homophobia and classism).

During PRIDE… and throughout the year… it is critical that we continue to shine light on to health and social inequity while also celebrating tolerance, community and love.

Interested in learning more about Queer rights in the Canadian context? Visit our friends at Queer Events for their thorough timeline.

 

Join us every Tuesday for 8 weeks starting October 3 at 6:30 p.m. for Gender Journeys. Primarily for individuals 16 and older and in the beginning stages of transition, this group is for anyone thinking about or having already taken early steps toward transition as well as those who are gender-questioning.

The program will take place at the London InterCommunity Health Centre Argyle Clinic at 1700 Dundas Street. This is not a drop-in program: participants should plan to attend all eight weeks.

Gender change is a journey!

Visit https://thamesvalleyfht.ca/programregistration/gender-journeys/ to register.

Last year, our neighbours across the street at the London Clay Art Centre (now Clayworx), in partnership with the City of London and the Old East Village BIA, worked with community partners in OEV to create permanent mosaic tiles that were installed along Dundas St.  Three Health Centre group participants, as well as Henry and Shelly, all of whom live in the neighbourhood, helped design and create sidewalk tiles reflecting different aspects of the Health Centre and its relationship to the OEV.  The Health Centre’s contribution can be seen in the attached photos, and is now installed on the sidewalk in front of Chapman’s Pharmacy. 

NO MORE STOLEN SISTERS

Violence against women, and certainly violence against Indigenous women, is rarely understood as a human rights issue. When governments, media and the general public consider violence against women, it is often described as a criminal concern or a social issue. It is both of those things, of course. But it is also a human rights issue.

Indigenous women and girls have the right to be safe and free from violence. When a woman is targeted with violence because of her gender or Indigenous identity, her fundamental rights are abused. And when state authorities do not offer her adequate protection because of her gender or Indigenous identity, those rights are violated.

(Amnesty International)

CALLS FOR JUSTICE

The contents of the Call to Action outline the steps necessary to end one of the worst and ongoing genocides in Canadian history that are being committed against Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people. Detailed are the 231 Calls for Justice formulated by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls that were established by the federal government in 2016.

The National Inquiry issued its final report on June 3, 2019. These legal imperatives are the wide ranging and well-considered results of two and a half years of work on the part of Chief Commissioner Marion Buller and her fellow Commissioners Michèle Audette, Brian Eyolfson, and Qajaq Robinson. They are responses to the truths shared by more than 2,380 family members of victims, survivors of violence, experts, Elders, and Knowledge Keepers during cross country public hearings.

They are the measures that must follow the National Inquiry’s affirmation that persistent and deliberate human and Indigenous rights violations and abuses are the root cause behind Canada’s staggering rates of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people. We, at the Native Women’s Association of Canada, want to thank the Commissioners for their work, for these Calls for Justice, and for the finding that the violence that is being perpetrated against us and against our mothers, daughters, sisters, and aunties is, in fact, a genocide.

To read the entire Calls for Justice document, click on the image.

The Strong Women’s Song is credited to the Anishinabe kwewag and Zhoganosh kwewag who were in solitary confinement in the Prison For Women in Kingston, Ontario during the 1970’s.

It was these women who had this song come to them. This song emerged as a way of staying alive, of supporting each other in terrible conditions. Many women in P4W lost their lives because of the horrendous conditions there.

We sing this song to honour them, and all women.

 

HEALTH CENTRE AND COMMUNITY INITIATIVES

On Sunday, May 5th, Althosa Family Healing Services will commemorate Red Dress Day through their REDress Day Maamigin, also known as a gathering. This Maamigin will be held in Victoria Park, from 12:30pm to 4:30pm. Activities at the event will be centered around bringing the community together by providing a space for education, advocacy, and remembrance. More details on the event can be found here.

In addition, to honour the memory of the victims and provide support to our team, clients, and the community, LIHC will have a memorial table at each one of our sites. These tables will feature candles and resources informed by trauma and violence – providing a moment of silence and reflection. Our Dundas site (659 Dundas Street) will have a table set up to offer smudging, from 10am-12pm and again from 1pm-3pm. 

PRIVATE OBSERVANCE

Documentary: Finding Dawn

This feature-length documentary addresses the ongoing epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) across Canada. In the film, the family of Dawn Crey reflect on the days, weeks, and months following the discovery of Dawn’s remains on Robert Pickton’s farm, and what her life was like leading up to her death. Dawn’s DNA was one of 23 sets of women’s DNA found on the Pickton farm; however, not enough of it was found to have her listed as one of the victims at Pickton’s trial. Families of MMIWG who disappeared on the Highway of Tears and in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside also share their stories in the film.

Documentary: This River

Fourteen-year-old Tina Fontaine was pulled from Winnipeg’s Red River in 2014. Indigenous leaders from across Canada rallied to renew calls for an inquiry into the missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada. As a result of this tragedy, the organization Drag the Red was formed by community volunteers. These men and women scour the river and its shores to search for clues about the missing. As members of this group, Kyle Kematch and organizer Katherena Vermette share their experiences of searching for a missing loved one.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxHr5Ygs2g0

Wear Red. Be social.

Talk about it. Raising awareness is part of the solution.

Join the national campaign and wear red or one of our Health Centre MMIWG+2S buttons for the day.

Share a photo. Make sure to use hashtags #MMIW, #MMIWG, #MMIWG2S, #MMIWActionNow, and #NoMoreStolenSisters!

Personal Contemplation

Is the MMIWG+2S crisis something that has just surfaced in recent years? What do you think are the reasons behind the tragic deaths of Indigenous women?

How would you describe colonialism, the Indian Act, residential schools, and the Sixties Scoop, and how have they shaped the lives of Indigenous women in Canada?

What can I do as a learner to change the way that I relate to Indigenous people?

REPORT BY THE NATIVE WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION OF CANADA

Aboriginal women and girls are strong and beautiful. They are our mothers, our daughters, our sisters, our aunties and our grandmothers, yet Aboriginal women face life-threatening, gender-based violence, and disproportionately experience violent crimes because of hatred and racism.

According to Statistics Canada’s 2004 General Social Survey (GSS), Aboriginal women experience much higher rates of violence than non-Aboriginal women.

 

 

 

 

 

Statistics Canada reports that Aboriginal women are significantly overrepresented as victims of homicide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Statistics Canada reports that Aboriginal women are more likely to experience more severe and potentially life-threatening forms of family violence than non-Aboriginal women.

 

 

 

 

 

Certainly, family violence represents one of the most urgent issues impacting Aboriginal women. However, there is also a need for more research and awareness about other forms of violence—particularly violence perpetrated by strangers or acquaintances.

 

 

 

 

Community-based research has found levels of violence against Aboriginal women to be even higher than those reported by government surveys. There are many limitations to government-collected statistics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Are More than Murdered & Missing

With a talk that encourages hope, love, empowerment and igniting a new way of learning together as a nation, Tamara Bernard lays bare the world of violence impacting indigenous women. Wearing a high heel on one foot, and a moccasin on the other….we view things through her lens, where indigenous women are more than “murdered and missing”. Much more. Tamara is pursuing her masters degree in education at Lakehead University. Personally connected to her topic through her great grandmother, she has been speaking out about “Decolonization of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women”, giving a voice to the voiceless.

Running for Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women

Rosalie Fish is an 18-year-old member of the Cowlitz Tribe and a competitive runner from the Muckleshoot Reservation in Auburn, Washington. She graduated this year from the Muckleshoot Tribal School, where she represented her school in the Class 1B Washington State Track Meet, earned three gold medals, a silver and a sportsmanship award, and used that platform to raise awareness for missing and murdered indigenous women (MMIW). Her passions include running, youth empowerment, indigenous visibility, upholding and practicing native traditions, as well as uplifting and advocating for native communities and native women. She is excited to share her work on MMIW with the TedXYouth @ Seattle community because, according to the Urban Indian Health Institute, Seattle leads the nation in MMIW cases. Recruited for her running ability and proven leadership Rosalie will attend Iowa Central Community College in the fall where she will continue her athletic career and her activism for MMIW. Rosalie Fish is an 18-year-old member of the Cowlitz Tribe and a competitive runner from the Muckleshoot Reservation in Auburn, Washington. She graduated this year from the Muckleshoot Tribal School, where she represented her school in the Class 1B Washington State Track Meet, earned three gold medals, a silver and a sportsmanship award, and used that platform to raise awareness for missing and murdered indigenous women (MMIW). Her passions include running, youth empowerment, indigenous visibility, upholding and practicing native traditions, as well as uplifting and advocating for native communities and native women.

Health Centre Executive Director Scott Courtice joins our friends at the London Community Foundation for their podcast: What London Can Be, to talk about the Health Centre’s role in tackling London’s homelessness crisis, and the plan for our whole community to tackle this problem together, born from the homelessness summits held over the past few months.

Listen wherever you get your podcasts or online at lcf.on.ca/whatlondoncanbe

Welcome to What London Can Be, the podcast where we navigate our shifting world, shine a light on the issues our city is facing, and explore the innovative, made-in-London solutions to critical challenges in our community. Host Diane Silva, Director of Philanthropy at London Community Foundation, talks to experts, leaders and changemakers in London, Ontario, to discover together how to create a vibrant, resilient and just community.

Today, we mark National Indigenous Languages Day with a promise of ajuinnata. This is a word in Inuktitut that means to never give up, no matter how difficult the task ahead might be. In
 
Canada, there are more 70 Indigenous languages, spoken by First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. Many of these languages are in danger of disappearing entirely. We cannot let that happen—we need to encourage communities not only to speak the language of their ancestors, but also to pass it down to their children and grandchildren, both in the home and at school. This requires support, hard work and perseverance. It requires ajuinnata.
 
And there are signs of hope. Some communities have been successful at breathing new life into their languages. And Canadians are starting to see the importance of the preservation and promotion of Indigenous languages as a way forward for reconciliation. Languages are not only central to identity, culture, spirituality, worldview and history, as we can see, but they are also a fundamental and human right for Indigenous peoples.
 
Whether we speak these languages or not, we are all responsible for this unique part of our country’s story—a story that could only be told with the nuance and distinctiveness of linguistic diversity. In fact, to allow these languages to slip into anonymity is to lose the great diversity in this country.
 
On this day and every day, let us uplift Indigenous languages, so Indigenous peoples can speak them for many generations to come. And so we can continue to tell the true story of Canada in all its expressive wonder.
 
– Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada
 
Lindsay Morcom explores why Indigenous languages are matter to linguists and to Indigenous communities. She begins with a discussion of the cultural and linguistic reasons that Indigenous languages are so important. She then describes why they are at risk of being lost, with a focus on Canadian historical and current social contexts, from the genocide of residential schools to modern policy developments. Finally, she explores what practical things communities can do to help make sure that Indigenous language revitalization is a reality. She also describes what is needed in terms of policy, education, and support to ensure that Indigenous languages survive to be passed on to the next seven generations. After all, any reconciliation that does not involve the preservation and growth of Indigenous languages and cultures is no reconciliation at all: it is assimilation. Dr. Lindsay Morcom (Algonquin Métis, Bear Clan) is an interdisciplinary researcher with experience in education, Aboriginal languages, language revitalization, and linguistics. She earned her Master’s degree in Linguistics at First Nations University through the University of Regina in 2006. She then completed her doctorate in General Linguistics and Comparative Philology as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University in 2010. She now works as an assistant professor and coordinator of the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.
 

Why Indigenous Language Matters and What We Can Do to Save Them

 

Language is Our Life Line

In this powerful talk, Kwak’wala language teacher Joye Walkus passionately shows the cultural and spiritual significance of saving indigenous languages and culture for future generations. Joye Walkus, a member of the Kwakiutl Nation on Vancouver Island, is well known for wearing a 300-year-old indigenous blanket owned by her late grandfather to her University of Victoria convocation. She is well educated in the Indigenous Language Revitalization, earning a Bachelor of Education from the University of Victoria.

 

LANGUAGE LEARNING RESOURCES

RAMADAN 2023 – CALENDAR & INFORMATION

Ramadan 2023 starts on the evening of Wednesday, March 22 and lasts 30 days, ending at sundown on Thursday, April 20.

Ramadan is one of the holiest months of the year for Muslims. In Ramadan, Muslims commemorate the revelation of the Qur’an, and fast from food and drink during the sunlit hours as a means of drawing closer to God and cultivating self-control, gratitude, and compassion for those less fortunate. Ramadan is a month of intense spiritual rejuvenation with a heightened focus on devotion, during which Muslims spend extra time reading the Qur’an and performing special prayers.

Muslims welcome Ramadan as an opportunity for self-reflection and spiritual improvement, and as a means to grow in moral excellence. Ramadan is also a highly social time as Muslims invite each other to break the fast together and meet for prayers at the mosque.

The ultimate goal of fasting is gaining greater God-consciousness, known in Arabic as taqwa, signifying a state of constant awareness of God. From this awareness a person should gain discipline, self-restraint and a greater incentive to do well and avoid wrong. In commemoration of the revelation the Qur’an, which began in the month of Ramadan, Muslims attempt to read the entire book during Ramadan. The entire Qur’an is recited during special nightly prayers.

You can generate your own Ramadan Schedule including sunset and sunrise times here: https://www.islamicreliefcanada.org/resources/ramadan-timetable/london-ramadan-timetable/.

Attached are local calendars prepared by MAC London and London Mosque including fast times as well as special events for the London Muslim community.

A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO RAMADAN

Millions of Muslims around the world will mark the start of Ramadan on Wednesday, a month of intense prayer, dawn-to-dusk fasting and nightly feasts. From Arab New, here are some questions and answers about Islam’s holiest month.

READ MORE

RAMADAN RECIPES

Food and fellowship are part of every tradition. Celebrating by preparing a meal for friends and family is privilege that humans experience around the world. We can celebrate with others by enjoying the cultural aspects of holidays that are not necessarily our own: whether it be through storytelling, music, food and so on, our appetite for culture brings us closer as a people. Want to get into the Ramadan spirit with a few traditional recipes? The fast does not mean that you cannot eat delicious food: it just means you can only eat it after sundown. Some of the most extraordinary Middle Eastern dishes are regularly part of the Ramadan celebration of breaking the fast.

Attached are some of our Health Centre team favourites from across the Muslim world including : Labanese Fattoush Salad, Chicken Biryani from Pakistan, Begedil Potato Patty from Malaysia, Chachuka from Morocco, Yemini Massoub, Kubbeh Red Soup via Iraq,  Norinj Pilau (orange rice with saffron and lamb) from Afghanistan, Falafel from Egypt and the perfect end to every meal or delicious pre-sunrise breakfast, Rice Pudding from Palestine.

Just right click & save to see the full size recipe.

DIABETES AND RAMADAN

Diabetes Canada believes that people with diabetes should have the best information available to guide their choices about diabetes management. Knowing the most current research and recommendations will help Muslims with diabetes to avoid risks if they decide to fast during Ramadan.

Fasting from dawn to dusk during Ramadan, including abstaining from water and food, is one of the pillars of Islam and is observed by most Muslims. This requires changes in eating and sleeping habits. During Ramadan, the predawn and sunset meals are different from regular meals and often include more carbohydrate-containing foods that may cause a rapid rise in blood sugar. In addition, individuals tend to consume larger-than-usual portions during these meals, especially at the sunset meal when they break the fast.

Canadians living with diabetes who fast during Ramadan should work with their health-care team to clearly identify key safety issues during Ramadan.

If an individual has blood sugar levels in the target range prior to Ramadan, they are more likely to keep them in the target range during the period of fasting. For individuals with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, fasting during Ramadan is associated with an increased risk for severe episodes of low blood sugar. However, some people with type 1 diabetes may also have episodes of high blood sugar.

Individuals with diabetes who are otherwise healthy and have stable blood sugar levels may fast safely if they regularly test their blood sugar and check in with their health-care team.

Fasting can be done safely for those who take insulin, if the treatment is individualized and adjusted. Other diabetes medications used by people with type 2 diabetes may need to be adjusted one to three months before Ramadan.

For more information on a healthy fast, please refer to the Guide to a Safe Fast below.

Guide to a Safe Fast – English Version

Guide to a Safe Fast – Arabic Version

Guide to a Safe Fast – Urdu Version

Guide to a Safe Fast – French Version

THE BEAUTY AND DIVERSITY OF MUSLIM LIFE

Bassam Tariq is a blogger, a filmmaker, and a halal butcher — but one thread unites his work: His joy in the diversity, the humanness of our individual experiences. In this charming talk, he shares clips from his film “These Birds Walk” and images from his tour of 30 mosques in 30 days — and reminds us to consider the beautiful complexity within us all.

 

The Winter Health in Housing series for the Argyle Community is almost over. Fun fact about the Argyle community in 1956, 42,000 feet of cable was laid underground in East London and fed into the dial central office on Whitney St, which allowed dial service to be provided to around 12 000 phones that were previously routed into the dial office on Clarence St.

The London Free Press caption reads: “Phone cable goes underground–Workmen fill in part of a trench carrying phone cables on Brydges street. The cable, 42,000 feet of which are being laid in East London, will lead to a new office to be opened in May, 1958, which will provide dial service to some 12,000 phones now routed through the Bell central office on Clarence street. The cable will feed into a new No. 5 crossbar dial central office on Whitney street.”

Rather give greetings in person than send a phone cable? Come out to our Card Making event on Monday March 20th at the East Lion’s Community Centre (1731 Churchill Ave) from 3:00 to 5:00 pm. Carding making can be traced back to the early Egyptians sending greetings using papyrus scrolls and the ancient Chinese seeing greeting cards for New Year’s Day.

On March 8, people around the country will come together to celebrate International Women’s Day 2023 in Canada. It’s a global day organized

annually that recognizes and celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.

While the U.N.’s “digitALL” theme underscores how the fight for gender equality has evolved in the 21st century, celebrations around the world are also focused on longstanding issues including poverty and violence.

A World Health Organization report in 2021 found that nearly one in three women worldwide is subjected to physical or sexual violence during her lifetime, an issue that ties in with women’s economic opportunities, access to sex education and reproductive rights.

In recent years, there has also been a push to make IWD more inclusive of racialized women as well as of transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming people, since the early movement was largely focused on cisgender white women fighting for voting rights.

While IWD is a chance to raise awareness on rights gaps, organizers also use the day to celebrate progress and the achievements of individual women.

“The world’s crises do not impact equally, let alone fairly. The disproportionate impacts on women’s and girls’ rights are well-documented yet still neglected, when not ignored outright.”

– Agnès Callamard, Amnesty’s Secretary General

As CEO of the Global Fund for Women, Musimbi Kanyoro works to support women and their ideas so they can expand and grow. She introduces us to the Maragoli concept of “isirika” — a pragmatic way of life that embraces the mutual responsibility to care for one another — something she sees women practicing all over the world. And she calls for those who have more to give more to people working to improve their communities. “Imagine what it would look like if you embraced isirika and made it your default,” Kanyoro says. “What could we achieve for each other? For humanity?” Let’s find out — together.

We’re raising our girls to be perfect, and we’re raising our boys to be brave, says Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code. Saujani has taken up the charge to socialize young girls to take risks and learn to program — two skills they need to move society forward. To truly innovate, we cannot leave behind half of our population, she says. “I need each of you to tell every young woman you know to be comfortable with imperfection.”

 

We are already at week 8 of the Argyle Health is Housing series. Fun fact about the Argyle Community: the main east-west route across southwestern Ontario used to be Dundas Street also known as the meandering Highway 2. Prior to 1998, Highway 2 stretched all the way to Windsor heading west, and to Quebec heading east. Argyle was the heart of Ontario’s own Route 66 before the 401 took over major road travel. 

But you don’t have to head on down the highway to go on a road trip. Your local branch of the London Public Library is a perfect way for a quick getaway or a long trip to parts unknown from here to the edges of the universe.  In 1947, the Argyle Community Library was established. With the annexation in 1961, it was moved into the Argyle Mall. On June 25 of 1986, the library relocated to the Eastwood Plaza and was renamed to the Eastwood Centre Branch. Today, this library is known as the East London Branch Library and Community Centre. 

For this week’s program, hop on the bus with us to the Arva Flour Mill.  The Historic Arva Flour Mill, situated on the banks of Medway Creek in Arva Ontario (just north of London), has been in continuous operation for 203 years, making the Mill Canada’s 6th oldest continuously operating business and perhaps the oldest food producing Company in Canada. The Mill is believed to be the oldest operating water powered Flour Mill in this part of the world. The Mill  produces a true artisan flour, using their antique Goldie & McCullough cold roller mills that replaced the stone ground grist mills in 1904.