Solidarity with the Black Community
We would like to express our solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, and the Black community as a whole. As a group, CWI strongly believes that ending gender-based violence cannot happen if BIPOC communities are oppressed by the systems and organizations that are meant to be protecting and aiding them. These organizations must now realize that going above and beyond to support BIPOC people is fundamental. CWI has committed to partnering with organizations that demonstrate an exceptional dedication to supporting women who are members of marginalized communities. We will continue to partner with these organizations, and will seek out more opportunities to provide assistance to these women. If you are helping with, or are aware of, any women’s shelters in Canada advocating for these communities, please contact us so we can connect with them.
We recognize our privilege as medical students, and are committed to continue listening to, learning from, and uplifting members of the Black community. In order to support those who are experts in helping Black women and the Black community, we have made donations to Women’s Health in Women’s Hands, Black Women in Motion, and Black Health Alliance. To our followers who are BIPOC, we are listening and want to hear your voices. Please DM us any suggestions you have for how we can better support you and your community.
- Black Health Alliance (http://blackhealthalliance.ca/)
- Women’s Health in Women’s Hands (http://www.whiwh.com/) and
- Black Women in Motion (https://blackwomeninmotion.org/)
- African Canadian Federation of London and Area (http://www.acfola.ca/)
- London InterCommunity Health Centre (https://lihc.on.ca/)
- City for All Women Initiative (https://www.cawi-ivtf.org/)
- Cornerstone Housing for Women (https://www.cornerstonewomen.ca/)
- Support Network for Indigenous Women & Women of Colour (SNIWWOC) (https://www.sniwwoc.ca/)
- Kiwassa Neighbourhood House (https://www.kiwassa.ca/)
- Calgary Foundation (https://calgaryfoundation.org/black-led-black-serving-organizations-in-our-community/)
- SheMeetsYYC (https://shemeets.weebly.com/resources.html)
We have partnered with Conquer COVID-19 to distribute items to Ontario women’s shelters in need. CWI volunteers collected the lists of items that each shelter needed, and then coordinated the pick up and distribution of some of the items that were collected through the Conquer COVID-19 donation drives. Along with generous donations from Conquer COVID-19 item drives, money fundraised through the CWI GoFundMe was used to purchase outstanding items to ensure all of these shelters received the items they requested.
- Masks (2000)
- Gloves (2000)
- Face shields (10)
- Baby formula
- Feminine hygiene products (hundreds)
- Disposable underwear (hundreds)
- Diapers (thousands)
- Baby wipes (thousands)
- YWCA Toronto
- The Redwood (Toronto)
- Mission Services of Hamilton
- ANOVA (London)
- My Sister’s Place (London)
Link to Conquer COVID-19: https://www.conquercovid19.ca/
Food Insecurity Drive
The Food Insecurity Initiative is an ongoing project run in collaboration with CWI volunteers and the University of Toronto OB/GYN Resident Advocacy Team. During COVID-19, food insecurity is at an all-time high, and many community members are struggling. At baseline, 18.5% of homes in Toronto report food insecurity. In Canada, 1 in 8 households are food insecure, leaving over 4 million Canadians struggling to put food on the table.
The OB/GYN residents have been touched by the outpouring of support from their community as healthcare workers, especially from local restaurants, and planned this project as a way to give back to their community. We are currently fundraising for this initiative to purchase meals for women’s shelters in the GTA, Hamilton, and London. Meals are purchased from local restaurants and delivered directly to women’s shelters on a weekly basis. We have currently provided meals for over 150 women and children in Toronto.
Donations to the Food Insecurity Initiative can be made here:
Maternal Mental Health Campaign
With support from Mount Sinai’s Perinatal Psychiatry and Obstetrics departments, the U of T OB/GYN residents advocacy team host weekly online meetings for pregnant persons regarding current policies and expectations surrounding pregnancy and delivery. To support this work, CWI volunteers helped develop an evidence-based maternal mental health tool kit. This tool kit was made into an infographic that was released nationally on May 6. CWI has also worked to advocate for maternal mental health by promoting the Pandemic Pregnancy Guide, an initiative started to offer reliable, current information about pregnancy and delivery in the context of COVID-19. You can read our interview with Dr. Eliane Shore, one of the creators of the Pandemic Pregnancy Guide here.
General Mental Health Resources:
- Big White Wall: online peer-to-peer support and interactive groups (https://www.bigwhitewall.com/?lang=en-ca)
- Bounce Back Ontario: depression and anxiety skill-building program (https://bouncebackontario.ca/)
- Care for your Coronavirus Anxiety: general anxiety and support regarding COVID-19 (https://www.virusanxiety.com/)
- Free Online Support Groups: https://www.relationalcenter.org/onlinesupport/
- Sleep Health Resource: https://mysleepwell.ca/
Maternal Mental Health Resources:
- Postpartum Support: international helpline, online support group. 1-800-944-4773, https://www.postpartum.net/
- Mother Matters: online 8-week support groups. https://www.womenscollegehospital.ca/care-programs/mental-health/mother-matters
- Women’s Connection Program: individual counselling and support groups. https://pqwchc.org/programs-services/community-services-and-programs/pregnancy-and-parenting-programs/post-partum-mood-disorders-program/
- Free online CBT for new moms: https://rsjh.ca/redcap/surveys/?s=3LHLN98DJL
- Mother to Baby: fact sheets and live counselling. https://mothertobaby.org/mentalhealth/
- Postpartum Progress: peer-to-peer support. https://postpartumprogress.com/
Sources: Mount Sinai Hospital, Women’s College Hospital, Mother to Baby