5,000 signatures reached
To: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Save the Church and Wellesley Village
Dear PM Trudeau,
Toronto's LGBTQ2S village, centred around Church and Wellesley, is in danger of disappearing due to COVID-19.
We need to act now. The government should take immediate steps to identify endangered businesses and protect them as not only places of employment for LGBTQ2S individuals but also as safe spaces.
As the 519 Community Centre has recently proposed, we need an intergovernmental emergency fund to protect queer owned local businesses/venues that have been hit hardest by COVID-19, before they're forced to close for good.
Why is this important?
Between the lockdown and the cancellation of Pride, the Church and Wellesley community, endangered even before COVID-19, may not recover. LGBTQ2S performers, artists, servers, creators and other workers have been particularly hard hit. If our stores, cafes, restaurants and bars close permanently, we will lose an essential, life-saving network for LGBTQ2S youths, now and in the future.
When I was a struggling teenager, bullied in school and often lonely, knowing the community was there was a lifeline for me, even if I was too young to go to bars and had to settle on a Starbucks coffee. I was lucky. For me, "it got better." But LGBTQ2S young people are still struggling, and we've seen an increase in hate crimes during the pandemic.
Canada and Toronto in particular are recognized as a beacon for LGBTQ2S rights. Toronto Pride is rightfully known around the world, contributing millions to the local economy. Prime Minister, we appreciate that you have marched in the parade and shown your support.
But every year, the village shrinks, with queer-opened businesses and venues closing and our once-vibrant community fading.
Now is the time for action, before our neighbourhood disappears forever. Please, we need a Rainbow Emergency Fund now.