World Refugee Day recognizes the many newcomers in Waterloo Region. You can celebrate World Refugee Day at the launch event at THEMUSEUM on Sunday June 9th, starting at 1pm. The event features the 2019 WRD Awards of Distinction which are presented to "outstanding members of the local community with lived refugee experience, and volunteers dedicated to working with refugees, who have contributed to making Waterloo Region a better place."
There will also be refreshments and beverages, "performances and installations by the the YMCA Newcomer Youth Drama group, the Gatako singers, Lovemyhood, the Waterloo Public Library and others. The event will also feature an art exhibit inspired by the refugee journey." I attended this event last year and found it informative, moving, and enjoyable.
This free event is open to all and you can find out more event details here. Also, read this reflection on World Refugee Day by Marika Galadza and visit the World Refugee Day website to learn more about this important day. #365ofgoodWR
Waterloo Region celebrates Pride and you're welcome to join in the festivities as well! There are a wide variety of events happening as part of tri-Pride and you can find them listed in their events calendar. I'm looking forward to the music festival this Saturday and the picnic on Sunday. The music festival offers live music and entertainment, drag performers, yoga in the park, kids activities, and more. If you're attending Sunday's picnic, bring along a lawn chair, some food, and head over to Roos Island for a picnic lunch with others from the community. Tri-Pride is "the non-profit Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer+ (LGBTQ+) pride celebration in Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and area" Find out more about the organization on their website. #365ofgoodWR
Today's #365ofgoodWR post is a follow-up to yesterday's post regarding the snow clearing pilot going to Kitchener Council last night. After several delegations presented, many questions of staff, and suggestions of amendments, the snow clearing pilot did pass. Here's the synopsis from the City of Kitchener:
"Tonight council approved the following recommendations put forth at Community Infrastructure Services Committee on May 13 directing staff to:
You can read more updates from last night's meeting on the City's website.
Are you familiar with the term 'tactical urbanism'? It refers to low-cost, usually temporary, changes to a city's built environment. It's also known as DIY urbanism or city repair. It usually involves a citizen (or citizens) becoming frustrated with the current city design and creating some sort of temporary fix or adjustment. The photo on the left is an example of tactical urbanism in response to 'beg buttons' (buttons that pedestrians must push in order to for the walk signal to appear). Another common example is folks placing small, moveable 'dividers' along painted bike lanes. Of course, many of these dividers are quickly crushed, perhaps reiterating the point that painted bike lanes do not provide sufficient protection.
As I mentioned, tactical urbanism is often seen as a result of people becoming frustrated with the current infrastructure. However, it is only one tool in the toolkit. I also believe that it's important to voice your concerns to any and all elected officials that have a say in city planning. On that note, I would encourage anyone who would like the City of Kitchener to run a more fulsome snow clearing pilot this winter, to reach out to your ward councillor today as the issue goes to council tonight. You can also join me and others in attending tonight's council meeting (7pm, City Hall Council Chambers) to share your thoughts on the pilot project. Register to speak as a delegate here. You can have a say in growing our city well! #365ofgoodWR
Next weekend is the premiere of the Kitchener Waterloo Film Festival which showcases "shorts and feature films from an equal balance of local, national, and international filmmakers". There are some wonderful local productions being shown at the film festival including Finding John Lingwood and Kitchener Sync. You can see more about the line-up and schedule on their Facebook page. Read more about how the festival came to be in this article from Martin De Groot. #365ofgoodWR
It's Food Revolution Day at the Kitchener Market today! It's the 6th year for this fun food event. Head to the market today between 10am-12pm for free cooking demonstrations, face painting, arts and crafts, and a variety of vendors featuring information and products that support healthy lifestyle choices. Of course, while there, you can pick up all the fresh, local fruits and vegetables you need for the week, including my favourite of the season - asparagus! #365ofgoodWR
FREE Event Activities Include:
Kids In The Kitchen w/Kitchener Market’s Chef
Source For Sports Colouring Area
Colour Paradise Greenhouses Planting
Artshine-Arts4all Arts and Crafts
Facepaint by Bre Creative
Early On Activities
Info from Nutrition for Learning
Gary’s Lens Photo Booth
University of Waterloo’s Infant Development Lab
Meet City of Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic
Someone recently asked me why I have so many arts-based posts in the #365ofgoodWR project. I believe there are a wide variety of reasons to include 'the arts' in a project that highlights good things happening in the community, but a couple come to mind immediately.
First, the arts encourage exploration and discussion of important and pressing issues in our society. This can lead to real and positive changes. For example, this week I attended Guarded Girls through Green Light Arts, a play that explores the experience and role of incarceration in our communities. The play was powerful and thought provoking and I'm sure sparked some important conversations among attendees. In addition, Green Light Arts sold popcorn from the newly established Cons and Kernels. This supports a new business as well as brings awareness to the challenges formerly incarcerated people face in gaining employment.
I also believe arts are therapeutic. This article in the Record shows one way the arts are being used to support children born of India's sex trade workers. Also, one of my favourite local artists Pamela Rojas offers art classes through Reception House for newly arrived families and children. Both of these projects offer an opportunity to explore, reflect upon, and work through their experiences.
These are only a few examples of why arts has been, and will continue to be, highlighted often in the #365ofgoodWR project. Why do you think arts are an important part of our community? Comment below!
Today's post is short and sweet but one that I am excited about - the Kitchener Market will be having a (scaled down) mid-week evening market for four weeks this summer! That sounds like #365ofgoodWR to me (well, at least 4 weeks of good WR anyway!) Head over to the market on June 26th, July 3rd, 10th, and 17th between 4-8pm. There will be vendors selling fruit, veggies, bread, cheese, and more. You may even want to pick up your supper from one of the food hall vendors while you're there. Find out more about the mid-week market in this Record article.
We are now at city resolution #11 from Brent Toderian. It states: "Do everything you can to ensure that immigrants, and especially refugees, feel welcomed, supported, and valued in your community. Your family was very likely at some point in their shoes, and they will make your city better."
If you are not already connected to newcomers in our community, there are a number of local organizations that can help with that! First off, take some time to learn more about some common experiences of newcomers to better understand current conditions, patterns, and stories. I recommend subscribing to the Immigration Waterloo Weekly which provides updates on a variety of events, statistics, and news articles relating to newcomers. You can subscribe to that here.
You'll also want to connect with the KW Multicultural Centre. For many in our community, this organization is well-known for it's annual Multicultural Festival in Victoria Park. And of course that is returning this year, on June 22nd and 23rd. However, KWMC also offers a myriad of services including settlement and refugee services, career planning workshops, and English language support.
Reception House is another organization supporting newcomers in our community. They also offer various services such as a refugee health clinic, youth programs, art with Pamela, and resettlement assistance. Many of these organizations have several ways you can become involved, whether it's through a donation of time, money, or needed items. If you are able to contribute you some way, please connect with the organization directly.
This is only a small sample of organizations supporting our newcomer population. There are many more (and I hope to highlight more of them soon). Perhaps you'll follow today's city resolution and find a way to connect and support newcomers in your neighbourhood. #365ofgoodWR