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Media release: Women’s Wellness Within second anniversary

March 7, 2019 (K’jiuktuk – Halifax, NS) -Women’s Wellness Within celebrates our 2nd anniversary as a registered non-profit organization with Top Ten Lists and Immediate Actions.

WWW launched on International’s Women’s Day, March 8, 2017. We mark our progress and chart the significant work that lies ahead.

Top 10 Achievements

1.      We have provided one on one support to over 30 clients at the Central Nova Correctional Facility, the Nova Institution for Women Federal Prison, The NS Youth Facility and in the community. Our clients are extraordinary role models of resilience and strength.

2.      Our Resource Guide is now a published book covering the entire province, produced in partnership with the Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland Nova Scotia and East Coast Prison Justice:

3.      We have facilitated almost 50 monthly workshops for women at the Burnside Jail, in partnership with Chebucto Family Centre, reaching hundreds of participants.

4.      We delivered countless guest lectures, panels, and public talks, presented at a dozen regional, national and international conferences, and gave an invited address to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Physical and Mental Health, Dr. Dainius Puras.

5.      With grants from the Chebucto and Dartmouth Community Health Boards, our members developed 3 educational modules in collaboration with women experiencing criminalization to support our education mandate.

6.      We hosted our first doula training in partnership with the Elizabeth Fry Society of Cape Breton and the Mi’kmaq Legal Support Network (MLSN) of Eskasoni First Nation, sponsored by the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women. This partnership is growing to include the Mi’kmaq Child Development Centre and organizations for women of colour and seeks to advance representativeness in the perinatal support community.

7.      Our annual conference has become a must-go, sell-out event. In 2018 we featured keynote speaker Robyn Maynard, author of Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present, a national bestseller.

8.      We met with Dr. Angela Davis and talked about prison abolition, sexual violence, racism, and the state of feminist activism in Nova Scotia.

9.      We hosted Idil Abdillahi for a keynote address on surveillance, policing, criminalization, racism and women’s bodies.

10.  We celebrated the liberation of Abdoul Abdi, Debra Spencer, Fliss Cramman, Beverley Braham, and many others.

Top 10 Actions for 2019

1.      End remand (pretrial custody) of pregnant people and primary caregivers.

2.      End administrative segregation (solitary confinement); do not simply change its name.

3.      Provide curative Hepatitis C treatment for provincially-incarcerated people.

4.      End criminal records. Let people move on, find jobs, volunteer, and thrive.

5.      Remove financial and other barriers to telephone use for federal and provincial prisoners.

6.      Grant citizenship for children and former children in state and foster care across Canada.

7.      Allow federal parolees to apply for income assistance in Nova Scotia.

8.      Provide internet for incarcerated people to communicate with support people and to develop health literacy.

9.      Provide fulsome access to abortion care, prenatal support, breastfeeding support, education and health services for incarcerated pregnant and postpartum people.

10.  Decriminalize all drugs.

Three Things You Can Do to Join Our 2nd Anniversary Celebration

1.      Write a letter to your MP about the need to amend the Criminal Code to ban remand (pretrial custody) of pregnant people and primary caregivers.

2.      Join us as we present the March 8th Dalhousie Feminist Seminar Series: “Research and Activism in Carceral Maternity, noon, McCain Building 6135 University, Rm 2190. Free.

3.      Talk with one of your relatives, friends or colleagues to build understanding of the harm of prison and the promise of abolition.