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Keeping Six

NewsletterK6 & HAMSMaRT Weekly Newsletter no. 22

K6 & HAMSMaRT Weekly Newsletter no. 22

August 17, 2020

Dear HAMSMaRT and Keeping Six Supporters,  We hope you are all doing well and staying cool and dry! Read the bolded sentences below to get the main points from our weekly update. We are trying to shorten our weekly newsletters to only include new information each week.  The September volunteer sign up comes out this week! Sign up to go on outreach, bake, or decorate paper lunch bags. If you are a registered volunteer, you will receive the sign up link this week – shoot us an email at volunteer@keepingsix.org if you haven’t received it by Friday.  If you are not already registered as a volunteer and want to join the volunteer crew for September, sign up here https://keepingsix.org/volunteer.We remain hopeful for a just and amicable resolution with the city regarding their approach to homeless encampments. Stay tuned for updates on this process. For a perspective from frontline shelter social workers on some of the many barriers to housing for people who are homeless, check out this op ed in The Spec. For a perspective from a City Councillor who is taking the time to understand the nuance, complexity, and human rights at stake in this issue, read Maureen Wilson’s statement here.  Prior to the start of the pandemic, we did not operate any street outreach. Thanks to funding from the City of Hamilton and the Hamilton Community Foundation and private donors, we have been able to operate street outreach three times a week for over 5 months now, delivering over 16000 lunches! Our funding runs out in mid-September, and we are looking at ways to continue our street outreach operation because the need still exists. If you have ideas on how we can sustain our work – please let us know!  We issued a statement of solidarity this week with the family of Soleiman Faqiri and Justice for Soli. They are calling for accountability in the wake of the Ontario Provincial Police’s decision not to lay criminal charges against any of the guards in relation to the beating and death of Soleiman in December 2016. They share that “Soleiman, who lived with schizophrenia, was in custody at Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, Ontario, as he waited for a bed to open up at the Ontario Shores hospital. But on December 15, 2016, while transporting Soleiman from one unit to another, guards pepper sprayed Soleiman, put a spit hood on his head, punched and kicked him, and left him face down and restrained with his hands tied behind his back in a cell. Soleiman died during the attack.”  CONTINUE TO SUPPORT SIX NATIONS LAND DEFENDERS. This week HAMSMaRT visited 1492 Landback Lane to deliver supplies and show our support. We encourage Keeping Six and HAMSMaRT supporters to follow the 1492 Landback Lane facebook page for regular updates and lots of great resources on the history and political context.  This compilation was put together by The Laurier Centre for Student Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and has some great background documents.  If you are pressed for time and can only read one thing, read this statement to the community by the land defenders.  To donate to the land and legal defence fund, you can e transfer landback6nations@gmail.com.  If you are a health worker or any other worker whose employer, association or union has issued statements or created initiatives about land acknowledgements and/or reconciliation, please reach out and ask what they are doing now to call for a political solution to this conflict.  If you have a leadership role in any of these same institutions, please take the step of issuing a statement in support of non-violence on the part of the provincial and federal governments and call on them to come to the table, as requested by the land defenders.   There is an urgent need for people in positions of privilege to echo the calls from the community for calm, de-escalation and a political and non-violent resolution to the conflict. We must show all levels of government that Canadians, as treatied people, support political resolutions to land claims.  We are thrilled to hear that Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion is leading the new Hamilton Community Benefits Network.In their words, “the network is a coalition of likeminded organizations and unions in Hamilton committed to building an inclusive, thriving city where all residents from Ward 1 to 15 have equitable economic, political and social opportunities.” This network is an essential part of pushing against the austerity measures we are expecting as part of a post-COVID “economic recovery” plan from all levels of government. Thank you again to HCCI for their leadership.  And finally – what else is possible? What are we working towards? How could healthcare be a liberatory practice? For inspiration, check out this podcast with family physician Dr. Anjali Taneja about Casa De Salud in New Mexico. In her words, ““We feel like we’ll die trying – we don’t know if we’ll get there but we’re aiming to build power with our community – and what does it mean for a healthcare clinic or institution … to build power with community?“ ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE THIS WEEK:DONATE TO FUND REPAIRS TO KANYENKEHAKA KANONHSES via GoFundMe – they are $6700 away from their goal!DONATE TO THE SIX NATIONS LAND DEFENDERS via e-transfer to landback6nations@gmail.comCONTACT YOUR CITY COUNCILLOR AND THE MAYOR To ask them about what they are doing to support people who are homeless and people who use drugs, and request they place a moratorium on the removal of encampments and ticketing, and instead focus the city’s efforts on providing people with adequate water, shelter, food, and services. You can find contact info for your city councillor here.VOLUNTEER to decorate brown paper bags for outreach lunches, bake sweet treats, go on outreach, shop for supplies, or help staff rest and hygiene stations, by signing up here.DONATE CASH (or ask people in your network to donate) here.DONATE LIKE-NEW/EXCELLENT CONDITION TENTS, SLEEPING BAGS, FLEECE BLANKETS, OR TARPS by emailing us tents@keepingsix.org. Fleece blankets are a great project for sewers!AMPLIFY our messages on twitter @HAMSMaRTeam and @keepingsix and by forwarding this email, so that decision makers LISTEN to people who are homeless and/or who use drugs about what they need right now.

EST. 2018

Keeping Six – Hamilton Harm Reduction Action League is a community-based organization that defends the rights, dignity, and humanity of people who use drugs.