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IRIS continues our partnerships with the Saint John Human Development Council, Across Boundaries: An Ethnoracial Mental Health Centre (Toronto), Inclusion Winnipeg; Warriors Against Violence Society (Vancouver), Institut National pour L’Equité -L’Equalité -L’Inclusion (Montréal); and Nunavummi Disabilities Makinnasuaqtiit Society (Iqaluit) to support the work and growth of Local Safety & Inclusion Solidarity Networks (LSISN) that have been established for over a decade!

LSISNs are comprised of Indigenous, Black, refugee and Deaf/disabled people from these racialized groups; as well as front-line, grassroots workers who work to support, and are also members of the target groups. The purpose of convening marginalized groups in each city is to build solidarity amongst our diverse populations, learn about experiences, build awareness on the issues impacting these communities, and design community actions to respond to the issues and barriers that these groups experience.

The various LSISN initiatives aim to build, strengthen, and sustain LSISNs and their ongoing capacity to promote intercultural understandings, and work as a collective to discuss commonalities and distinctiveness of systemically marginalized peoples’ experiences.

Each LSISN has developed community actions to address some of the barriers experienced by our groups and their communities:

In Saint John, a community space that is for, and led by Indigenous, Black, racialized, refugee people and people with intellectual and mental health disabilities and their supporters. This would be a place for Indigenous cultural and healing practices; ethno-cultural and disability-sensitive trauma counselling and harm reduction approaches; cultural and disability sensitive approaches to gender-based violence that aim to heal the whole family; peer support groups; work with elders, etc. As well as being fun! Holding arts workshops and organizing celebratory events for the community.

Vancouver is establishing the Mamook Community Safe Hub, a physical space where 24/7 culturally accessible health and social supports (i.e., culturally/disability-sensitive trauma counselling, peer support groups, work with elders, etc.) will be offered by Indigenous, Black/African, and racialized service providers with expertise in disability access, to their own people dealing with family and gender-based violence.  

Toronto is developing a housing model specific to women-identified people, where 24/7 culturally accessible supports (i.e., culturally responsive mental health and addictions support, Indigenous, ethno-specific, trans and disability-sensitive trauma counselling, work with elders, migrant community leaders, etc.) will be offered to systemically marginalized people who are vulnerable to poverty, violence and homelessness. 

The Winnipeg, Iqaluit and Montreal networks have been meeting around developing their community actions. Winnipeg is considering a youth-led community space that is for, and led by Indigenous, Black, racialized, non-status migrant, refugee people and people with intellectual and mental health disabilities. Iqaluit is focused on establishing a housing initiative to address the high rates of homelessness, housing precarity and barriers to accessing housing in Nunavut, and Montréal, similar to Saint John, has identified needs for a community space that will provide culturally responsive wraparound services and supports to systemically marginalized populations.

For more information on the LSISNs, please follow these links: 

LSISN Video:

LSISN  Info Sheet:

To view more information on an event that brought all the LSISNs together in Saint John, New Brunswick please view the following attachments!

Dialogues on the Edge – Trailer – https://youtu.be/WxL-UmOM_oc 

CBC Saint John Morning Show – https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-28-information-morning-saint-john/clip/16010589-breaking-barriers-marginalized-populations

Pictures –  https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZshDzp3smHLFDrieA

To view the program from the Dialogues on the Edge event, please reach out to us at <contact@irisinstitute.ca>