HERstory: Breaking barriers to create a bond in sisterhood

HERstory: Breaking barriers to create a bond in sisterhood

July 17, 2006

On July 16, 100 young women from Toronto Community Housing neighbourhoods across Toronto spoke out at �HERstory: Breaking Barriers to create a bond in sisterhood.� The day-long event highlighted real issues concerning girls and young women today through dynamic workshops and interactive sessions. Participants told their stories and life experiences along with special guest speakers including Jane Doe, Jacquie Taylor, Captain, Recruitment & Community Services, Toronto Fire Services, and Nkem Anizor, President of The New BYTA (Black Youth Taking Action).

�Women are not equal.� said Jane Doe, author and educator who successfully sued the police for negligence and gender discrimination in the investigation of her rape. �The male oppression of women and other marginalized groups through systems has not gone away. Our work is to identify it. We�ve only just begun to sort it out.�

�At Toronto Community Housing, we are focused on creating opportunities for young people to reach their potential,� said Keiko Nakamura, Chief Operating Officer, Toronto Community Housing. �This forum will go a long way in encouraging young women to use their power for positive change.�

The journey to this event began in late 2005, when Toronto Community Housing offered �Tomorrow�s Leaders� for young people in 13 neighbourhooods impacted by violence and lack of services. As part of the successful leadership program, a survey indicated that young women wanted to have their voices heard and clearly identified social issues that were important to them. This provided the framework for HERstory.

Workshops included: Different Folks, Different Strokes; Through Thick and Thin; Know Yourself to Be Yourself; and Dollars and �Sense.� Entertainment was provided by Grupo Uniao Na Capoeira, Phase One and Lady Noyz. Event partners included Sheena�s Place and Planned Parenthood and sponsors included Enbridge, Toronto Women�s Bookstore, the bargains group, Grand & Toy, and World�s Biggest Bookstore.

Toronto Community Housing is Canada�s largest landlord and one of the largest social housing providers in North America. More than 164,000 low and moderate income tenants live in Toronto Community Housing � about six percent of Toronto�s population. These families, seniors, refugees, recent immigrants and people with special needs reside in 58,500 households in communities throughout Toronto.