Do you remember the TV and radio commercials in the 1950s, 60s and 70s…the ones with that tiny woman in a uniform with her Czech accent:
“This is Lotta Hitschmanova. Please give generously to the Unitarian Service Committee, 56 Sparks Street, Ottawa 4!”
If you do remember Lotta, you’re encouraged to sign this petition, and to share any stories or reminiscences you may have about Lotta.
She worked for decades to make the world a “better, kinder place for all.” She inspired Canadians to make layettes for women in refugee camps halfway around the globe and trained midwives to help bring their babies safely into the world. She sent clothes to France in the 1940s and funded orphanages and school programs for kids the war left without parents.
Lotta’s work criss-crossed the country and the world. In her years with USC Canada she left her mark on many people. Singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn remembers her as someone who “radiated love and concern.” Read more here.
On Sunday, October 14, UFP will be taking a special collection to support Burundi refugees. In 2015, the Unitarian Church of Bujumbura in Burundi was targeted by the government and half of the Church membership fled the country and went to neighboring countries for safety. They are now mostly in Rwanda and Kenya with some settled in Canada, USA and Europe.
These refugees are part of a population of 400,000 people who had to flee Burundi in 2015. Read more here.
Hello refugee sponsors, social justice folks & friends in and around Toronto,
The CUC would like to invite you, and ask your help in publicizing, a book reading by Edafe Okporo on Friday, Oct 26, 2018. Edafe left Nigeria due to persecution, and is now living in New York. He is the Executive Director of RDJ Refugee Shelter, a Nigerian LGBTQ refugee, and advocate for human rights of LGBTQ, immigrants, and minorities. Edafe will read from his book, “Bed 26: A Memoir of an African Man’s Asylum in the United States.”
WHEN: Friday, Oct 26 | 7 pm
WHERE: 192 Spadina Ave | Toronto | The Atrium
Refreshments and book signing to follow. Sign up here to attend and reserve a copy of the book.
Based on a true life story, “Bed 26” narrates the experiences of Nigerian and West African gay, bisexual men and the reason they are forced to flee from their home country. The book also talks about the experiences of immigrants in an immigration detention, and the gap between the perceived American dream and its reality of racism, discrimination and phobia for people of color in America.
Through the book, Okporo stresses why people should not be categorized based on accepted norms “that are created to suit people who created them.” His story encourages looking beyond labels such as “refugees” and “citizens” and looking inward into human character and behavior. “The stigma in today’s society is overbearing and this book helps us to accept people the way they are and love them just the same,” he adds.
“I want my readers to be more compassionate and caring for people around them, their loved ones and people who are close to them. You should not judge people without knowing how far they have come,” Okporo reminds. “This book is also about forgiveness for people who have wronged you in the past, and resilience for young and old people to challenge the norm.”
The book reading will be followed by Middle Eastern refreshments, and book signing by Edafe.
Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) residential school commemoration event held in Williams Lake, BC, Canada, in the spring of 2013. It grew out of Phyllis’ story of having her shiny new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school at the Mission, and it has become an opportunity to keep the discussion on all aspects of residential schools happening annually. Every Child Matters.