On Tuesday June 14th, Storefront Staff gathered virtually for a staff learning session to celebrate Pride Month, and hold space to reflect and share how we’d like to support 2SLGBTQI+ inclusion at the Storefront.
At the Storefront, we champion the Connected Community Approach (CCA) and are guided by the 10 Keys to foster spaces of welcoming and belonging for everyone connecting to the Storefront.
As Storefront Director Sahar Vermezyari shared, “We welcome folks from the community and treat everyone with respect. However, it’s important to remember that different communities feel welcomed with different environments and in different ways. Knowing our communities gives us the tools to learn how we can support them”.
Understanding the experiences of 2SLGBTQ+ community members connects back to our work on addressing anti-Black racism. We take an intersectional lens to this work, and we know that we cannot eradicate one form of oppression without looking at how oppressions are all interconnected. It is important for us to be aware and acknowledge these unique experiences, so that we can work together to eradicate these inequities that keep folks at the margins.
The learning session consisted of Storefront staff watching two short documentaries: Looking Back at Toronto Pride, which provided the historical context of the emergence of Toronto Pride, and I am Gay by Ajahnis Charley, which showcased their personal experience of coming out to their family members and navigating next steps with family on their journey.
The Learning session ended with staff sharing their own thoughts, questions and connections of the film and Pride to their work at Storefront, and how we can continue the momentum of celebrating Pride beyond the month of June. Here are some of the action-oriented questions staff identified that we’d like to continue exploring to strengthen our work in the area of 2SLGBTQ+ inclusion:
- How can we be more proactive in building relationships with groups and organizations that are providing access to spaces and resources by & for 2SLGBTQ+ communities in Scarborough?
- What more can we learn about the history of local 2SLGBTQ+ communities in Scarborough?
- What more can we do to signal to the community that our service hub is a safer space for 2SLGBTQ+ community members?
- How can we use our voices and advocate for community members?
The Storefront team will continue learning together by sharing resources and supporting one another with exploring these questions beyond the month of June.