“Thank you,” she said with a smile and twinkle in her eye.
“Thank you for what?” I asked, curious.
“Do you know what you’ve done today? You and Jer’s Vision organized Cape Breton’s first LGBTQ youth conference. This is a big deal for our community. It isn’t easy growing up here. For the first time ever, we learned about our LGBTQ community, how we can get help, and what we can do to make our communities safer. You’re a hero!”
Her words caught me off guard. Every single day, the team at Jer’s Vision runs workshops, conferences, and engagement programming with communities. We work hard to address bullying, discrimination, homophobia, and transphobia all over Canada. Frequently we are the first to start work in a community.
In fact, March was a month of many firsts, such as:
- Ran the first LGBTQ Youth Conference in Cape Breton ( Cape Breton Post article)
- Ran the first Alberta Junior High middle school conference looking at homophobia, transphobia, and two-spirit discrimination
- Ran the first anti-homophobia workshops in schools in Petawawa, ON; in Leduc County, AB; and rural & elementary schools in Prince Edward Island
- And ran our regular programming in Charlottetown, PEI; Edmonton, AB; and Eastern Ontario ( read about our work here)
So, why was I so stunned at what she said?
I guess it’s because there’s a general sense in Canada that ‘things are getting better’ but her words reminded me that that’s not true for everyone. On a daily basis, I see schools and communities that are not ‘better’. I meet kids who are marvels of resilience that have learned to deal with situations no child ever should. I get calls and emails from students and teachers who are asking JersVision.org for help in doing groundbreaking long term change. And that takes more than one workshop or presentation to transform our schools and communities from homophobic and transphobic cultures to ones of inclusivity and liberation. Long term change requires ongoing relationship building, training, and engagement.
In Cape Breton, we are already supporting students in new projects, and planning follow up programming for schools, a second conference, and community workshops for parents and youth service providers.
But we need your help. Consider becoming a JersVision.org monthly donor.
We need 100 new donors to donate $10 monthly to bring the conference back to Cape Breton, NS and make new ones in Brampton, ON, and Leduc, AB. For the price of your monthly Starbucks you can make schools safer. Make a difference now.
Find out more about how your investment is making it better by following us on Twitter, Facebookand our blog.
And remember, the Day of Pink is coming up!
On Wednesday, April 10, 8.5 million people will wear pink and organize events to make their community safer. From everyone here, we thank you for your hard work and wish you the best with your Day of Pink!
If you are in the Ottawa valley, we hope to see you at the free JersVision.org & Day of Pink Gala at 6pm at the Government Conference Centre (2 Rideau St) on April 10; the event will feature the Rt. Hon. Michaelle Jean, Mark Tewksbury and many more. (Don’t forget to RSVP by emailing: RSVP@JersVision.org). More information here.
Thank you so much for ongoing support.
Do you know what else JersVision.org is up to?
- MTV’s 1G5G supports the Day of Pink. Check out their Video Here! (And Justin Trudeau& Rick Mercer)
- We are joining dozens of LGBTQ-A* organizations from across Canada to organize Dare to Stand Out: Canada’s FIRST National LGBTQ-A* Service Providers’ Summit (Toronto, June 26 & 27). Join your peers for networking, amazing professional development & visioning the future of our community. And is FREE! Find out more, register and get invovled here.
- YouTube The Musical is raising money to support JersVision.org’s work in schools. Come out to this amazing show on April 6 & 7 at the University of Ottawa (Alumni Auditorium). Tickets are selling fast so get yours now. More info here. And on Facebook.
- Catholic students are raising money for JersVisino.org tommorrow in Toronto. Come for an amazing coffee house!
- Elton John supports JersVision.org. Wanna know more?
- The Canadian Labour Congress stands in solidarity with the Day of Pink. Join them!
- Day of Pink in the US! That is right, we are doing stuff in the USA. See more here.
- JersVision.org is proud to annouce its the Algonquin Theatre Arts Program’s upcoming production of the Laramie Project will support work in schools to stop bullying, discrimination, homophobia & transphobia. More info here on the show running April 17-21, 2013 in Ottawa.
- JersVision.org joins PTS to co-host a conference on Ageism April 29, register here.
- Tickets now availible! JersVision.org is proud to announce it will be bringing SAPPHO…in 9 fragments to Toronto, Ottawa & Montreal this June. More info here!
- Since September, three times a week, we share the story of Canadian politicians who are supporting the Day of Pink.Read their stories and updates on our work in schools on our blog!