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Our Chinatown Neighbourhood

Pillars of Our Shared Work #4 - sharing the foundation of Six Degrees -

When we say “health”, it includes not only physical health but also holistic wellness, which is often related to the intersection of systemic oppression. In an effort to continue nurturing a culture of health, we decided to start a new section - “Pillars of Our Shared Work” - in our monthly newsletter to talk about the foundation that Six Degrees is built on. We are eager to share with you thoughts and resources on some of the topics that we are passionate about. In this section, we ask: How can we together build a community that values awareness for inclusiveness, respect for shared labour, and creative fostering engaged participation? We would also like to invite you to get in touch with us on any related topics that you are interested. This month we focus on the topic of neighbourhood in our shared work.


The world around us ​

In 2007 Six Degrees opened its doors as the first Community Acupuncture clinic in Canada on traditional Indigenous territory of the Haudenosaunee, Anishnaabe and Huron-Wendat people. Susanda chose the Chinatown community because she wanted to open a clinic rooted in the community from which the medicine originated, because it is centrally located, and is amazing to be a part of the Chinese Medicine epicenter of Toronto.

In the neighbourhood where Six Degrees is situated, there is recently the issue on the relocation of the Yonge Street Mission (YSM), a daytime drop-in centre for street-involved youths, to Spadina Avenue. While the media has mainly portrayed the Chinatown community as unwelcoming of this relocation, we are aware that there are also many supportive voices both in the Chinese community and the general public. This is a complex issue that asks questions about inclusiveness in all aspects: race, class, gender and sexuality, as well as how we may (help each other) challenge stereotypes of all sorts that are deeply implanted in society.

Underneath these complex truths is a clear one, there are youth needing space that is safer or more supportive of their complex lives. Doing the work to ensure a space like this can be in this community, with all of its layers and delicate complex truths is work for our whole health.

Click here to watch the video documentation of the Public Consultation on the Relocation of Yonge Street Mission on January 12, 2016. If you are interested in being part of this conversation, there will be more community consultation coming up at different stages during YSM's planning. More info should be announced through Joe Cressy's Ward 20 City Councillor office.

Neighbourhoods transform. As a member of this community, we hope to be a part of adding to the community, not taking way or changing it so that it may be gentrified and result in erasing the recent roots of the neighbourhood. Writing this piece leads us to look into what communities were here before Chinatown and reminds me that us are all on Indigenous land.

Just last year, for the first time, I (Lamia) heard the phrase "we are all treaty people" during a talk by Chris Corrigan. The sad truth that I was 37 before hearing this speaks volumes and is deeply rooted in my privileges, including my british ancestry. Acknowledging, as a settler, my responsibilities as a treaty person is something I am working on. This acknowledgment and the actions that come as a result of seeking to understand my role, is a part of my health and the health of all beings around me and the earth beneath my feet.

March 21st will mark the beginning of Spring and with it the international day to eliminate racial discrimination. The naming of this day in this newsletter is a connection we can make to the global call for a response to the disharmonies within our shared organism, the Earth. We can think global and act local, we can know the world is aching with atrocities and commit to doing something, anything, in our communities and neighbourhoods. We all, when we are able, need to be actively engaging with justice for the health of Life itself.

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