There is no good way to soften the first paragraph introducing a discussion night on hate crime and violence. If there is, I don’t have the subtlety to do it. Essentially, violence is a symptom of a society that is out of balance. Where ever violence is allowed to exist, the health and well-being of individuals and the community becomes eroded. Sadly, violence against LGBTQ individuals is not new in our community, our province or our country.
What is a hate crime? What’s the difference between a hate crime & a hate incident? What is the impact of unaddressed hate crime in our community? How do we support someone who has been a victim of a hate crime? What is our community doing to address hate crime?
This could be a heavy topic depending on where the discussion leads. WNDG strives to be a safe space where people can speak honestly and openly. At the same time, there is an awareness that doing so with a very personal topic such as violence could be triggering for oneself and others. This discussion is not asking people to share their personal experiences. Mackenzie Turow (one of the discussion leaders) is available to respond if you do become triggered by the discussion.
Mackenzie Turow is currently working on the Addiction Supportive Housing team at House of Friendship as an addiction counsellor to support adults with complex and multiple health concerns. She was born and raised in Kitchener, Ontario and has been working at non profit social service organizations in this community for the past nine years. She completed the Master of Social Work program at Wilfrid Laurier University in 2014.
Juanita Metzger is a community development and engagement practitioner in the Waterloo Region. Her adventures in development and community building span across her professional capacity with the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council (WRCPC) and various neighbourhoods projects including community gardens, Little Libraries of KW and other small creative community projects. Juanita is current representing WRCPC’s membership on the Rainbow Community Council and is part of the Breaking the Silence on Hidden Violence Working Group focused on preventing hate crime against the LGBTQ community in Waterloo Region.