It is estimated that 1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage or pregnancy loss in their lives. Although it is so prevalent, it’s not often talked about, leaving many families to experience their grief in isolation. The stigma surrounding pregnancy and infant loss is profound and an additional source of pain during an already devastating time. While support exists, programs are often relatively unknown and can be hard to access. And medical treatment during miscarriage and stillbirth tend to focus on physical rather than emotional treatment.
JustChange’s recent grant winner, Butterfly Box, is a platform for growing awareness and busting the stigma and taboo around pregnancy and infant loss. Butterfly Boxes contain thoughtful items and information resources and are delivered to bereaved families to support them through their grief journey. The Butterfly Boxes also engage the community in dialogue. Handwritten sympathy cards included in the box help bereaved families know their community cares about them and their experiences. Recipients of the boxes are invited to share their experiences through a story card, which will then be displayed during October 2018, which is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month.
Butterfly Box is a partnership betweenMom Friends, an organization that creates postpartum care kits for women, andAaron’s Butterfly Run, a volunteer-led group raising money and awareness for perinatal and infant loss in Ottawa. The JustChange grant will enable Mom Friends and Aaron’s Butterfly Run to develop the first series of Butterfly Boxes to help grieving Ottawa families.
Come and celebrate Butterfly Box at JustDrinks: Heart and Crown Byward Market on September 19, 7-9pm.
“I don’t know much about trans health,” is a term that our next grantee hears all too often. Trans Health Information Ottawa (THIO) is working to eliminate that phrase from Ottawa’s healthcare vernacular. Completely unfunded, this group of dedicated people have been serving as a voice for the trans, Two Spirit and gender diverse communities in the Champlain region. Their focus is on navigating the healthcare system and raising awareness of healthcare issues faced by trans people.
The group at THIO has already managed impressive results: developing a solid online presence as a trusted source of information for trans patients in Ottawa, making substantial contributions to provincial level training curriculum, and advocating for 50% trans representation at all decision making tables related to trans healthcare in Ottawa. Despite this, they are completely unfunded, and have told us that options for funding for trans health initiatives are few and far between.
With the JustChange grant, THIO will continue to support those who provide user feedback on their health navigation tools and cover small operating costs. JustChange funding will allow THIO to complete their first few projects and demonstrate that the Ottawa community, both trans and their supporters, can do really big things together.
Come and celebrate our at JustDrinks: Grounded Kitchen on October 18, 6 – 8PM.
We are thrilled to announce our August 2016 grantee: Building Purple Bridges. This grassroots initiative aims to address the service gaps for outdoor/survival sex-workers in the Vanier neighbourhood.
Building Purple Bridges is lead by a team composed of individuals with lived experience in outdoor/survival sex-work, as well as two of their allies with several years of relevant front-line experience.
The project recognizes that outdoor sex-workers face staggeringly high rates of violence and marginalization. There are very few places workers can go to feel safe and truly welcomed. Currently in Ottawa there are no services that operate 24 hours a day that are specifically designed to meet the needs of this population.
The project aims to fill this gap by addressing the basic and immediate concerns of outdoor/survival sex-workers while strengthening overall community connectedness. Their ultimate vision is to establish permanent, 24 hr programming in Vanier that specifically meets the needs of outdoor sex-workers.
The JustChange grant will go to supporting a pilot 8 week drop-in space open to all self-identified sex-workers in the Vanier neighbourhood (LGBT inclusive). It will be guided by sex-worker rights and harm-reduction frameworks. Building Purple Bridges hopes to bring people together over food and other programming (themed workshops and activities). Ultimately, the aim is to create a dedicated and safe space where people can go to find solace, understanding, fun, and community.
For this month’s JustChange grantee, her introduction to activism hit very close to home: with her own hair. Questioning why she hadn’t felt comfortable wearing her hair naturally, Asma realized the beauty standards we all internalize keep many people from embracing themselves as they naturally are.
Because it’s about hair, but it isn’t just about hair: it’s about the subtle, systematic messages black youth internalize about what is considered beautiful, and the consequences of those messages can be significant. Living in Ottawa, it’s easy to assume our community has no need to engage in discussion on racism; that we’ve moved beyond it. But that kind of thinking can unintentionally silence people’s experiences. Asma wants to shine a light on the issue by giving black youth a chance to hear the stories of those who know first-hand how they feel.
Black Hair: A Documentary is bringing together Asma’s experience as an amateur videographer with what she sees as a need to open a dialogue for and with young black people, who have often internalized negative feelings toward their hair without realizing the underlying causes and consequences of that self-hatred. She’ll be sharing the stories of a diverse group of black Ottawans’ experiences surrounding their hair in an upbeat, colourful, joyful documentary to be shared on YouTube. After seeing the amazing exemplary video she’s made to date, we can’t wait to see the finished product!
Black Hair is just the first step for Asma: she wants to create a virtual community black youth can access to engage further in issues that matter to them and make more documentaries on issues at the intersection of race and beauty, such as colorism, as well as on other social justice issues. Over time, she wants to see Black Hair: A Documentary become a tool supporting self-acceptance for young black students. As a former student and volunteer at Ottawa’s Pathways to Education, Asma hopes to work with such organizations that are already supporting youth.
Our $1,000 grant will support filming of Black Hair and future documentaries through equipment that will increase production values and give Asma greater freedom to explore more filming possibilities.
We invite you to join us in celebrating Asma and her documentary project at our June JustDrinks event, taking place at the Ministry of Coffee and Social Affairs at 1013 Wellington St W from 7:00pm-9:00pm. To connect with Asma directly about Black Hair, you can find her on Twitter @_ahamediaand on Instagram @aha_ok3.
JustChange is thrilled to announce our February 2016 grantee: Kind! Kind is a space for LGBTTQ+ communities in Ottawa. Offering a wide variety of services, from counselling to education programs to the Purrfect Café, Kind is an inclusive and welcoming space for people and communities of all kinds: lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans., non-binary, Two Spirit, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, QTBIPoC, youth, adults, seniors, elders. Kind provides a diverse, protective and nonjudgmental environment for talking, learning, laughing, napping, petting cats, sharing food, hanging out, finding community and simply being.
Kind believes everyone on the human sexuality and gender spectrum should be celebrated and supported. Kind actively works to deconstruct oppressive structures, speaking up loudly and proudly. This means educating students, teachers and parents, talking to the media, and advising government how to ensure the rights of all people.
JustChange is proud to support Kind’s continued activities. This will include a spa day for trans folks involving haircuts, nails, and makeup in support of their mission of inclusion and self-love. The funds will also be used to further support the training and workshops that Kind already provides.