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East Toronto event uses art to combat hate, call for justice – Toronto Star

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East-end residents will be coming together Saturday, Aug. 29 to colourfully Reclaim Dentonia Park after two of their neighbours recently fell victim to a violent, racially-charged assault there.

The morning of June 25, Mark Austin was walking his dog in the 15-acre park with his partner Candace Zingweg when an altercation broke out that resulted her being knocked to the ground and kicked in the head by two white people. Zinkweg, who was transported to hospital by ambulance, is still dealing with the effects of the concussion she sustained that day.

Austin, who is Black, said he was called the n-word and threatened with future gun violence by a third white person.

He alleges Toronto police, who on July 7 arrested and charged two men in connection with the incident, failed to respond promptly and appropriately to the situation because of the colour of his skin.

That same day, a coalition of groups held a rally outside 55 Division to demand racial justice. Organizers demanded Toronto police “immediately lay charges on the assailants, and publicly apologize for their shocking inaction in the face of a clear case of violent assault, racist abuse and ongoing threats to this couple.” Toronto police have not said sorry.

Since then, those same supporters have been planning a family friendly event at Dentonia Park where people can come together – albeit in a physically distanced way – to speak out against hate and symbolically take back space.

“We all feel unsafe, attacked by that hate crime. It hurt all of us,” said organizer Zahra Dhanani of Old’s Cool General Store, a community hub known for its social justice and anti-racism work.

“Everyone can relate to this incident. It could have happened to anyone in this community.”

Dhanani, who is an immigration and refugee lawyer, said Reclaim Dentonia Park is all about encouraging people in the community to look out for each other, and letting those who victimized Austin and Zinkweg – and anyone else contemplating bringing harm to those enjoying this popular local green space – know their actions aren’t acceptable and won’t be tolerated.

She also said the gathering serves to call on the police to better investigate racially-motivated crimes, and treat everyone equally.

Brian Champ, of Toronto East Anti-Hate Mobilization, said Saturday’s event has been organized to support those who live and work in the highly diverse Crescent Town area, many of whom have had experiences similar to that of Austin and Zinkweg.

“We want to help build support for people who want to come forward and tell their stories,” he said, adding Reclaim Dentonia Park is part of an ongoing effort to hold authorities and institutions accountable to the people they’re supposed to be serving and protecting.

“It’s important to empower people in racialized communities, to remove fears when wrong things happen, to encourage them to speak up.”

Organizer Sultana Jahangir, the executive director of the South Asian Women’s Rights organization, said in the last three or four years there have been a lot of incidents in and around Dentonia Park that have left people in the community feeling unsafe and unwelcome.

“We know there is systemic racism here and that can lead to violence,” she told toronto.com.

“We have had some incidents where people have experienced racism and felt the police weren’t helping or taking their matter seriously. People in the community are feeling a bit discouraged and aren’t calling the cops.”

Jahangir said Reclaim Dentonia Park is part of a greater effort to create harmony, inclusivity, and safety for people of all cultures and ethnic backgrounds in the area.

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“Let’s come together and stand up against racism. … We need to reject these racist attitudes and behaviours in our community,” she said.

As for Austin, he said the kindness they’ve been shown by various groups and area residents has meant a lot to him and his partner, and said they’re looking forward to taking part in Saturday’s event.

“The support of the community and social justice groups and the unions is what keeps us going,” said Austin, who said he still feel shaken by the incident and admitted they’re considering moving out of the city.

Reclaim Dentonia Park, which is being dubbed a United Against Hate community art rally and call for justice, will run from 4 to 7 p.m. at Dentonia Park, 80 Thyra Ave. All are welcome. Don’t forget your mask, hand sanitizer, and colourful art and signs.

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Frankville's Bill Gibbons opens AOG Art Gallery for Culture Days – Ottawa Valley News

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Frankville’s Bill Gibbons opens AOG Art Gallery for Culture Days | InsideOttawaValley.com


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Art tour Rhizomes returns to downtown St. Catharines – NiagaraFallsReview.ca

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It was down, but never out.

Delayed since spring because of the pandemic, a retooled Rhizomes art tour kicks off Thursday in downtown St. Catharines and runs until Sunday night.

Since it started in 2014, the diverse event has been one of the most popular parts of the annual In the Soil arts festival, which was forced to spread programs throughout the summer instead of its usual weekend in late April.

Most years, the show lets small groups tour a variety of art installations, ranging from short plays to music to art displays. Past locations have included Corbloc and the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

This year, there will be site-specific installations and performances throughout the east end of St. Paul Street. Guided tours with a maximum of six people will start at 6, 7 and 8 p.m. each night.

Artistic director Deanna Jones says each tour will be socially distanced, with mandatory masks.

“This year we’re doing some indoor and outdoor locations in different spots and doing all we can to keep it safe,” she says. “It’s the similar spirit where the artists are reacting to different spaces.

“We’re trying to illuminate some unusual places where you may not see a visual art installation.”

This year’s 11 featured artists are Evelyn Atoms, Zach Coull, Magdolene Dykstra, Emily Andrews, Rebekka Gondasch, Jesse Horvath, Matt Jaekell, Roselyn Kelada-Sedra, Katie Mazi, Alex Ring, Chance Mutuku, Jon Shaw and Marcel Stewart.

Each tour starts on the front lawn of Silver Spire United Church, 366 St. Paul St. Tickets, at the pay-what-you-can rates of $10, $20 or $30, are available at www.rhizomes.brownpapertickets.com

“We just decided to keep it small,” says Jones. “We know some people may not be comfortable to go out and about, but for those who come we’re ensuring their safety.”

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Art tour Rhizomes returns to downtown St. Catharines – WellandTribune.ca

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It was down, but never out.

Delayed since spring because of the pandemic, a retooled Rhizomes art tour kicks off Thursday in downtown St. Catharines and runs until Sunday night.

Since it started in 2014, the diverse event has been one of the most popular parts of the annual In the Soil arts festival, which was forced to spread programs throughout the summer instead of its usual weekend in late April.

Most years, the show lets small groups tour a variety of art installations, ranging from short plays to music to art displays. Past locations have included Corbloc and the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

This year, there will be site-specific installations and performances throughout the east end of St. Paul Street. Guided tours with a maximum of six people will start at 6, 7 and 8 p.m. each night.

Artistic director Deanna Jones says each tour will be socially distanced, with mandatory masks.

“This year we’re doing some indoor and outdoor locations in different spots and doing all we can to keep it safe,” she says. “It’s the similar spirit where the artists are reacting to different spaces.

“We’re trying to illuminate some unusual places where you may not see a visual art installation.”

This year’s 11 featured artists are Evelyn Atoms, Zach Coull, Magdolene Dykstra, Emily Andrews, Rebekka Gondasch, Jesse Horvath, Matt Jaekell, Roselyn Kelada-Sedra, Katie Mazi, Alex Ring, Chance Mutuku, Jon Shaw and Marcel Stewart.

Each tour starts on the front lawn of Silver Spire United Church, 366 St. Paul St. Tickets, at the pay-what-you-can rates of $10, $20 or $30, are available at www.rhizomes.brownpapertickets.com

“We just decided to keep it small,” says Jones. “We know some people may not be comfortable to go out and about, but for those who come we’re ensuring their safety.”

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