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Women’s House Serving Bruce & Grey Solidarity Statement

July 2020

Women’s House Serving Bruce & Grey (WHSBG) acknowledges and condemns the recent events of racial injustice and systemic violence affecting racialized populations, both in Canada and around the globe.  It is systemic because it keeps happening repeatedly, and because little is done to hold those that harm accountable. We express our solidarity with Black Lives Matter, and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls movements, and join the call to action to help create the change that is needed.

We, in the helping sector, acknowledge the power imbalance between service providers and those who access services. We work diligently to create a safe, nonjudgmental, and supportive environment for the vulnerable population that reaches out. Women’s House has zero tolerance for any service provider abusing this power to re-victimize, bring trauma and create divide. Women’s House calls for all service providers to be mindful of this dynamic and to exercise thoughtful care in practicing the great honour of being a helping professional.

Women’s House Serving Bruce & Grey operates with the following principles in mind:

  • We believe that education is necessary to bring about effective changes in attitude. We believe in challenging statements and beliefs that minimize the seriousness of racism, oppression, abuse and sexual violence.
  • We recognize that all women face misogyny and sexism; however, some bear an additional burden of oppression due to racism.
  • We believe that systemic racism, discrimination, and oppression based on race, religion, class, sexual orientation, gender identification, age and ability must be addressed as part of an integrated approach to ending poverty, abuse, sexual violence and homelessness in the lives of women.

If you are directly affected by systemic violence or racism, please know that we care about you and what you are dealing with. We stand in support of you.

If you are a white ally to people and communities of color, there are things you can do. You can:

  • Learn about the history of anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism in Canada
  • Reflect on the biases this has created in you and in others
  • Remain as a witness or bystander in situations where someone may be affected by racial stereotyping, stigma or systemic violence
  • If you see person of color being questioned or detained, ask if they need support
  • Understand that there are alternative, non-punitive ways of dealing with crisis or conflict that do not always involve law enforcement.

We stand in solidarity with our communities both locally, provincially, nationally and globally. We are committed to addressing systemic racism and violence through educating ourselves and promoting public awareness. We recognize that being an ally is a continual and ongoing practice. We strive to be the best allies possible by being informed, engaged and thinking critically about our own actions online, in person, and within radical moments of change like the one we are currently living in.

Women’s House encourages solidarity, support and celebration on National Indigenous Peoples Day

Media Release – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact Name: Michelle Lamont

Telephone number: (519)396-9814 Ex.225

Email: mlamont@whsbg.on.ca

Date: Monday, June 22, 2020

Women’s House encourages solidarity, support and celebration on National Indigenous Peoples Day

National Indigenous Peoples Day/MMIW June 21, 2020

National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations may look different this year, but creativity and imagination can provide many options for marking the occasion.

For generations, many Indigenous peoples and communities have celebrated their culture and heritage on or near this date due to the significance of the summer solstice as the longest day of the year. Having a National Indigenous Peoples Day reminds all Canadians to celebrate the heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Metis.

One way to learn more is to read a digital copy of one of the books from the #IndigenousReads reading list. Virtual activities are available as well, such as museum exhibits. Social media is a great source to find Indigenous musicians, comedians and historians. In one Grey-Bruce town, local businesses have partnered with a young Indigenous woman and have created displays of her First Nations regalia and collection of First Nations art as a way to mark the occasion.

In this current climate of increased awareness and calls to action to end systemic racial violence, Women’s House Serving Bruce & Grey takes this opportunity to express support for the recommendations of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry.

The final report of the Inquiry was published in June 2019 and includes many calls to action. Among them, the need to address the root causes of the disproportionate violence against Indigenous women and girls, the need for preventative action, and improved responses from the justice system.

This fundamental report, made possible through the truths and impacts on thousands of survivors, family members and experts, continues to sit in waiting for the Federal government to respond with action. The failure to implement a timely response perpetuates the ongoing systemic oppression of Indigenous women and girls. It is time to show national solidarity in addressing the Inquiry’s recommendations, and support Indigenous peoples working to eradicate violence against women and girls.

We encourage each other to educate ourselves, read the report and find ways to be allies in this most important struggle.

Service Update Regarding Covid-19 as of March 26, 2020

We have modified our services in order to promote self-isolation and social distancing in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, however we are still providing essential services. We are doing our best to ensure that we maintain the safety and security of women and children in Shelter, as well as our staff members who must remain on site to provide support in the Shelter and maintain our crisis lines.

We recognize that in times of stress and uncertainty, our services are required more than ever in our community. When a woman is in a home that is unsafe, the practice of self-isolation can put her at further risk for domestic violence, can create less opportunity for her to get the support she needs, and can make it even more difficult to leave an unsafe situation.

All staff at Women’s House who have the ability to work remotely will be doing so. Outreach Services are being offered in a remote capacity, and are providing services by phone and email.

The Shelter and crisis lines remain operational, and we have taken the following measures to ensure staff and resident safety:

• Increased sanitation and infection control measures have been put in place and social distancing practices have been implemented for staff and residents.
• At this time, we are unable to accept in kind donations at our shelter. Financial donations can be accepted via direct mail or online through CanadaHelps at https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/15772
• Guests will not be provided access to the Shelter at this time.