2020 was very different from what we all expected. Navigating a pandemic showed us how important community is and highlighted the needs of our most vulnerable populations.
We Created a COVID-19 Safety Planning Handbook
When the pandemic started our staff received an increased number of crisis calls from women experiencing violence and severe isolation. With lockdown protocols and service closures women were forced to stay at home with their abusers with little access to services, family and friends. Our counselling team quickly responded to these calls of concern by creating a safety handbook. The handbook includes templates for personalized safety plans while in an abusive situation, preparing to leave and what to do after leaving an abusive situation. It also provides women with telephone numbers for domestic abuse organizations and hotlines. Click here to view the full handbook.
We partnered with PASAN, Church of the Holy Trinity and Several Other Organizations to Celebrate Prisoners Justice Day
With the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions, we were able to plan an outdoor event for PJD 2020 following social distancing guidelines. The event commemorated the lives of those lost while incarcerated, advocated for those currently imprisoned and highlighted the impact of COVID-19 on incarcerated folks.
People who are incarcerated are at a high risk of contracting COVID -19 due to living in unsanitary conditions, overcrowding of prisons and jails, lack of PPE and underlying health conditions. Several organizations have rallied together to create open letters and call to actions demanding that the government prioritize the health and safety of those behind bars. If you are interested in signing the petition, please click here.
We Hosted a Virtual AGM with the Theme ‘The Colour of Justice’
Last year we were able to transition to hosting our first ever online AGM, somewhat seamlessly. After our annual general meeting portion of the evening concluded we hosted a panel discussion. Elder Laureenblu Water started us off with an opening ceremony followed by a discussion with Dr. Jill Andrew, Dr. Notisha Massaquoi, Kassandra Churcher, Dr. Pam Palmater, Thy Do and our host Beth Jordan.
The panellists touched on:
the ways we can amplify the voices of our incarcerated Black sisters so that they are a part of the larger Black Lives Matters movement conversation
Toronto’s response to BLM protests and calls to defund the police
the implications of Ontario’s justice system not collecting Race-based data
how we can take action to ensure that the Truth & Reconciliation calls to action and recommendations of the Missing and Murdered Genocide are put into action
what Elizabeth Fry agencies need to do to raise the voices of racialized, criminalized, and imprisoned women in our service delivery and advocacy efforts
The conversation was compelling and left many people feeling hopeful and ready to take action.
We Distributed Holiday Hampers to our Clients
Historically we host a holiday party for our clients and children. However, last year due to COVID-19 we were unable to but wanted our clients to feel supported and cared for during the holiday season. Sheen for She Foundation donated Love Boxes that came with non perishable foods and personal care items which were the base items of our hampers! Mastercard and The Shoebox Project donated additional personal care items, non-perishable items and self-care items to add to the boxes. We focused our Giving Tuesday campaign around our holidays hampers and received money from CP24 CHUM Christmas Wish to purchase gift cards, winter accessories, the remaining personal care times and some sweet treats to add a little bit of holiday cheer. We are grateful to everyone that donated and the women were thrilled to receive such big boxes filled with a variety of items.
Even though 2020 was challenging, as an organization we were able to adapt to the changes and provide support to as many clients as possible!
Written by: Kendra St. Cyr
Elizabeth Fry Toronto ~ 416-924-3708 ~ Toll Free 1-855-924-3708 ~ firstname.lastname@example.org