In honour of Pride Month this year, I am donating 20% of sales of my Rainbow Collection to the 519 in Toronto. The 519 holds a special place in my heart. Way back when I was a law student in Toronto, I was a student caseworker at the legal clinic at my school and one of my jobs was the HIV Wills Clinic, which was held at the 519 once a month. This was back in the 90’s, when a diagnosis of HIV and AIDS was still a death sentence. It was also a time before same-sex marriage was legal, making wills for those dying of AIDS even more important. There were horror stories of long-estranged family members coming out of the woodwork and taking even the smallest of estates after a death, because same-sex partners had no legal protection. Often our clients were too sick to come into the clinic to give instructions. My colleagues and I often visited them at home or in the hospital. Although the service we offered was small, our clients told us how important it was for their peace of mind. Something they could do for their loved ones when everything else seemed impossible. And the 519 was at the centre of that, and still is, for so many people.
I continue to advocate for equality rights for the LGBTQ2S community. I articled for a firm that fought in many landmark cases, such as Little Sisters Bookstore v. Canada, Vriend v. Alberta, M. v. H. and Halpern v. Ontario, which finally led to the legalization of same-sex marriage. Equality rights have been a constant theme in both my academic work post law school and in my practice. Equality in my business life is equally important. Part of that work is giving back to organizations doing incredible work. In a perfect world, organizations like the 519 would have full, stable government funding. But, like many equality seeking organizations, they rely heavily on donations. People like me, and you, need to step up to help out.
So if you’ve had your eye on a Rainbow Bag, now’s the time to buy! Wear your pride! But you don’t need to buy from me to support The 519 or other organizations. If you are able, please consider donating directly to them. The pandemic has been hard on the charitable sector and the need is greater than ever.
* Please note that the processing time for all Rainbow Collection bags is 5 business days.