2021 has been a whirlwind of a year. We at Monogram are committed to uplifting our community and helping whenever we can. Did you know that every single month, we take 1 day and donate the entirety of our drink proceeds from all 4 cafes to a charity/organization in Calgary that does great things for the community?
Here is a summary of all of the wonderful groups we have supported this past year!
Donation proceeds went towards Hurricane Eta & Iona relief
This month, from the recommendation of co-founders Justin Eyford and Ben Put, we have decided to continue donating to hurricane relief funds. Last month we donated to hurricane relief efforts in Honduras and this month, we will be donating to our Guatemala through partner, Onyx Coffee.
Onyx Coffee has been working closely with the community of Agua Dulce (you may remember our coffee from this community, earlier this year). They are working to provide immediate needs of shelter, blankets, food, etc.
You can find more details on their GoFundMe page, along with their donation allocation spreadsheet. If you’re interested in donating, you can check out the GoFundMe page or donate to Habitat for Humanity Guatemala.
We were able to donate $1852.25 for our January 1st drink sales and you can read about updates here!
We Donated to - The Colour Factor
As many of you may know, February is Black History Month
According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, "In 1978, the Ontario Black History Society (OBHS) was established" and there was "a petition to the City of Toronto to have February formally proclaimed as Black History Month. In 1979, the first-ever Canadian proclamation was issued by Toronto." However, it wasn't until 1995/6 that the House of Commons nationally declared February as Black History Month in Canada thanks to a big help from Jean Augustine who "was the first Black woman elected to the House of Commons (1993) and the first Black woman to be appointed to Cabinet (2002). "
Despite the misconception that Canada is not racist, The Canadian Human Rights Commission eloquently states "The roots of anti-Black racism and systemic discrimination in Canada run deep. They are historically embedded in our society, in our culture, in our laws and in our attitudes. They are built into our institutions and perpetuate the social and economic disparities that exist in everything from education, to healthcare, to housing and employment." Canada always has been a racist country built off the backs of people of colour and it is our responsibility as settlers of this land to unlearn our westernized history and work towards a anti-racist country for everyone.
To continue on our anti-racism journey as a company, a small gesture of allyship can be done with our first-of-the-month drink sales donation. There are an abundance of black-led organizations and individuals that do incredible work in their community and this month, we voted to donate to The Colour Factor!
About The Colour Factor
The Colour Factor is a Calgary based non-profit whose vision is to decolonize wellness for an inclusive and restored society. "The Colour Factor is a non-profit organization aimed at decolonizing wellness and creating brave spaces of healing for the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) community, through conversation, collaboration and creativity." - The Colour Factor.com
The founders for The Colour Factor are mainly mental health professionals, who noticed there is a gap in service. "The people we serve and the people that lead us do not looks like us." With this realization, they made it their responsibility to fill this gap, and face discrimination in representation head on.
They work to reimagine and reclaim ancestral practices, and create brave spaces for the BIPoC community though conversation, collaboration and creativity. The lead and facilitate culturally sensitive healing practices by people actually of that ethic group. These spaces and events are made accessible by doing a pay-what-you-can model and by having most of it available online.
We are so happy to be supporting such an important group, and thankful for the things we've learned from them already. We are currently working together to create a Coffee Acknowledgement (inspired by Land Acknowledgements) to launch in March and a Brave Space for coffee professionals in (potentially) April.
We were able to raise $2541.52 from our first of the month drink sales!
We Donated to - Calgary Immigrant Women's Association
March 8 is International Women's Day!
When we talk about women in coffee, we must view it from two perspectives: women in our western context and women in the context of producing countries.
According to a report in 2018 by International Coffee Organization, "Between 20% and 30% of coffee farms are female-operated and up to 70% of labour in coffee production is provided by women" ... "However, [...] women have systematically lower access to resources such as land, credit and information, than men." On top of that, we see that although women are very present in the fieldwork, harvesting and sorting of coffee, we see only a few women in decision making roles such as trading and exporting. Despite the multitude of barriers that women in producing countries face, we are so proud to be able to purchase and roast some excellent coffees from women from around the world!
As for women in coffee in a North American context, we actually don't have lots of quantitative data about women's experience in the coffee industry, we have a p l e t h o r a of documentation in its emergent stage. History is in the making with our very own Jill Hoff being the first ever woman to represent Canada for the next World Barista Championship!
About Calgary Immigrant Women's Association
Calgary Immigrant Women's Association (CIWA) is a local non-profit organization that provides supports immigrant and refugee women, girls and their families. They run more than 50 programs that help individuals and families with their settlement needs, provides employment training, and support with family matters, and much more.
CIWA provides services that are targeted towards newcomers in Calgary and the programs are mindful of each person's unique experience before arriving in Canada such as education level, work experience and refugee status. What makes CIWA unique is their gender-based approach to settlement services, all their clients have access to childcare and first language support and they have programs specifically for seniors and younger girls.
About Women Newcomers
There are many systemic barriers to prosperity for immigrants, but women immigrants statistically face even more adversity which is why gender-specific approaches are so crucial to the wellness of our immigrant populations.
For example, "23% of all foreign-born females lived in a low-income situation, compared with just 16% of their Canadian-born counterparts. For recent immigrants, this number jumps even higher, to 35%" (Women's Economic Council, 2011)
Since its humble beginnings in 1982, Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association (CIWA) has responded to emerging needs of immigrant women, developed innovative programs and has come to be recognised as a provincial and national leader in outcome-based gender-specific settlement services. Our passion is developing customized, holistic, gender-specific interventions in all areas of family and community needs from literacy and language supports, youth and seniors programs, counselling, health, employment and support services such as childcare and interpretation and emergency housing for all women that access our programs.
CIWA offers programs and services that use a holistic approach to support clients in the areas of settlement and integration, literacy and language training, employment support and bridging programs, family violence, parenting, individual counselling, in-home support, civic engagement, health, housing, and community development. All clients have access to childcare and first language support during group sessions and individual appointments.
In 2016, the number of forcibly displaced people was the highest in recorded history, many of them women and children. Canada is one of the most desired destinations of choice for immigrants around the world. In the last several years, Calgary has experienced unprecedented growth in the number of immigrant families coming to our city.
We plan to build human and social capital for successful settlement of immigrant women by responding to current and emerging social, political, economic and cultural trends that impact our clients and their families. Immigration is a two-way street. Its success depends on the effort of newcomers to learn, connect, integrate and model citizenship. For host communities and neighborhoods, creating a welcoming and supportive space for immigrants, result in the benefits and assets of immigration being realised. We will be focusing on supporting appreciation of diversity, acceptability and inclusion of newcomers as a collective effort and responsibility of all of us living in Calgary.
(Taken from 2019/2020 CIWA annual report)
+ Immigrants make up 70.4% of the labour force in Calgary;
+ CIWA transitioned more than 700 clients to employment in the past year.
+ Over 144K private incorporated businesses in Calgary are owned by immigrants
+ CIWA’s Easy Reading Business Development Tool helps immigrant women become entrepreneurs in 4 industries: beauty and body, childcare, cleaning and food. #socialinnovation
+ Immigrants account for 1 out of every 4 health-care sector workers
more than 500 clients served this past year come from this professional background
+ Over 400K foreign born residents call Calgary home
last year, CIWA served more than 17K clients through individual & group services at the main office as well as at 81 locations across the city of Calgary
+ One-third of all immigrants in Canada volunteer and two-thirds are members of social organizations
+ Of the total number of 971 volunteers at CIWA, 95% are immigrants that bring years of skills and experience from their home countries
Why are we supporting CIWA?
To continue celebrating women this month, it was suggested by our beloved Geraldine to donate to Calgary Immigrant Women's Association! She said:
“As an immigrant myself, I was once a new comer. Challenges that newcomers are facing everyday are difficult and exhausting. Different language, finding a place to stay, a job, a new community and a new environment. It is sometimes even more challenging as a woman. We are all aware of discrimination to women in the workplace. This is even more accurate when you are a woman and immigrant. This center helps women newcomers to step up and build a sustainable, and hopefully successful life. This association also supports women refugees and their family to find a place to stay and start a new life after a traumatic experience. As Monogram always supported newcomers and immigrants by hiring them, I think it would be a way to share our core values.”
In a nutshell, what does your organization do?
- Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association (CIWA) supports immigrant and refugee women, girls and their families. CIWA has more than 50 programs that can support with settlement needs, employment training, family matters and much more. CIWA is a non-profit organization established in 1982 as a registered charity.
What programs are you most proud of having created and why?
- CIWA’s uniqueness is based on its gender specific mandate. Over the years, we have continually responded to emerging needs of immigrant women and girls, developed innovative programs, established meaningful partnerships, and have come to be recognized as a provincial and national leader in outcome-based gender-specific settlement services.
- CIWA offers programs and services that use a holistic approach to support clients in the areas of settlement and integration, literacy and language training, employment support and bridging programs, family violence, parenting, individual counselling, in-home support, civic engagement, health, housing, and community development.
We host programs and services in over 90 community locations
Clients fleeing family violence have access to emergency housing support
Childcare support is available for all clients attending CIWA services (including services in community locations)
Certified interpreters and translators offer services in 37 languages
Over 230 businesses/employers collaborate with us to support access to employment for immigrant women
What is something you hope more people will know and understand about immigrant women? (could be a common struggle you wish more people understood and/or some accomplishments of your clients and participants that you want more people to know)
CIWA recognizes that immigrant and refugee women come to Canada with a wide variety of individual backgrounds and experiences, but the strength and resilience that these women possess in order to be able to start over from nothing in a new country is incredible.
One of the most common struggles that our clients face as immigrant women are having their voices and opinions recognized by Canadian society. For most of these women, English is a second language (or in many cases a third or a fourth language) and possessing an accent or struggling to express themselves clearly often leads to their opinions being overlooked. Any native English speaker who has studied French in a Canadian school can relate to the experience of struggling to express oneself in a second language, and that it is in no way indicative of your ability to think, reason, or achieve.
If there was one thing we wish more people understood about our clients is that their diverse experiences, thought, perceptions and opinions bring richness and strength to Canadian society, and building towards a more inclusive and diverse future will only benefit our communities.
We encourage all Calgarians to empathetically put themselves in our clients' shoes and be open to learning more from and listening to the stories of immigrant and refugee women in their communities. We can always do more to engage in conversations with people that are different from us and continue to grow as a country and as individuals.
This month, our community raised $2415.76 for CIWA
We Donated to - The Inclusive Literature Initiative
From The Inclusive Literature Initiative:
1. In a nutshell, what does your organization do?
The Inclusive Literature Initiative is an organization that is doing our part to create diversity and inclusion in one of the places that it matters most, youth academics. We believe that having access to diverse classroom literature is a key step towards introducing children to the vast world around us, starting conversations around the concepts of racism and anti-racism, and providing amazing role models to students not traditionally represented in literature. Therefore, our organization raises money to purchase books written by authors or featuring characters from the BIPOC community that are then donated into K-6 classroom libraries across Calgary. We also try to reflect intersectionality, and feature books around gender identity, disability and mental health.
2. What programs are you most proud of having created and why?
Though I cannot speak to the rest of the team, the day we passed 500 books purchased was a big moment of achievement. We started this charity back in July and our goal was 500 books by the new year, and in the end we surpassed 600. The 500 mark was when I truly felt like ILI was real and that even if we packed it in that day, we would have changed the attitude or expanded the knowledge of at least one child, which was the whole goal when we started. The reviews from the classrooms also always warm my heart.
3. What is something you hope more people will know and understand about the importance of representation in media and literature?
That answer is two-fold. First, I don’t know if it is well known how poor representation is in our current publishing system. At the publishing employee level, surveys have found that 77-89% of respondents are White, 86-91% are straight, and 88-96% do not consider themselves disabled. As for the characters in the books in 2018, 50% of children’s books published had mainly white characters and 27% featured mainly animals, leaving 23% of books to tell the stories of every other background. Secondly, studies have shown that race becomes a factor in our lives as early as 3 months old. Children as young as two use race to reason about people’s behaviors and there is a peak of racial prejudice displayed around 4 or 5. By kindergarten, children show many of the same racial attitudes that adults in their culture hold. However, explicit conversations about race and interracial friendship, studied in children 5 to 7 years old, can dramatically improve their racial attitudes in as little as a single week. As much as we would like to change the socialization around race that occurs within homes, we can start by changing the socialization that occurs at school.
Adding diverse and inclusive literature to elementary classrooms is ILI’s way of helping make that happen.
Mission & Vision statement
Our mission is to bring representation into the literature in elementary classroom libraries across Calgary, to act as both a window into other cultures, and a door to further conversations around culture, identity and race. We hope to be the first step in adding diversity into youth education, with the hopes that it leads to inclusion and equity in the rest of the curriculum. We want literature to be a familiar place and a interesting exploration for every student.
- 100% of donations to Inclusive Literature Initiative go to purchasing books. All of their work is done by volunteers so if you would like to join their small buy mighty team, send them a DM or email!
- Each teacher that they donate to gets between 5-10 books and each set of books are curated to the observed needs of the classroom by the teacher. For example, if the teacher has lots of books with Indigenous characters, Inclusive Literature Initiative will fill in more books with other racialized characters.
- Inclusive Literature Initiative is intentional that all books they purchase are from a local book store and right now, they have partnered with The Next Page as their book supplier. They have surpassed more than 600 books donated to various classrooms across Calgary!
- As of March 2021, they have donated books to 4 schools including:
- St. Michael School
- St. Damien School
- St. Patrick School
- and Bowcroft School
- They have also donated to 15 individual teachers
- Outside of schools, they hope to be able to donate books to other institutions and organizations that children are likely to be reading books such as women's shelters and the Children's Hospital.
- Because of Inclusive Literature Initiative's efforts, some of the feedback they gave gotten from teachers are that conversations in the classroom about race and culture have increased amongst their students. This shows the beginning of the impact these pieces of literature has on the young minds of our students.
- In the future, Inclusive Literature Initiative hopes to expand their library of books to include a greater amount of intersectionality such as to include gender identity as well as mental health.
We were able to raise $2683.58 for ICI this month!
This month we donated to - Biodiversal
Biodiversal is a small company, founded in 2018, that manages regenerative agriculture projects.
" They provide producers with the infrastructure to produce their own compost, which improves there coffee quality, gives them another revenue stream as they can sell whatever compost they don’t use, and helps maintain the soil health in the region. I think that this program checks a lot of the things that monogram cares about! I actually think that part of the secret of the quality of la Palma y el Tucan is that every tree receives 10lbs of organic compost a year" - Ben Put
How did this organization start? What need did you see in the community that prompted the beginning of this organization?
Our story begins with our coffee farm, La Palma & El Tucán. After 5 years of producing specialty coffees under the conventional model of high-yield monocultures (a model based on chemical applications and highly dependent upon external inputs), in 2017 we decided to transition into an organic polyculture model supported by the production of our own biofertilizers and biological controls. Our need was clear: to protect the crops and supply them with all the necessary nutrients to obtain fruits (coffee cherries) of excellent quality. For this reason we decided to make the shift to an agroecological production model where coffee would grow in association with other crops, improving our soils, and guaranteeing a clean agriculture in harmony with nature. Our permanent challenge had been, precisely, soil health, due to the fact that most of our lots are located on hillsides. With continuous applications of chemical fertilizers, what we were actually encouraging was nutrient leaching and erosion, leading to low fertility levels in the crop. So, to increase the percentage of organic matter in our soils, we planted more than 120 shade trees per hectare (of 24 different species), and designed and produced our own organic fertilizers, along with implementing other agroecological practices year-round. The results of the change have been very satisfactory. In addition to increasing the resilience of La Palma & El Tucan to climate change with the number and variety of new species we incorporated, we have managed to improve soil texture and porosity, cationic exchange capacity and soil moisture retention. This has contributed to improving the crop and has also enriched our soils and the ecosystem in general. Not only have plants become more resilient to drought stress, but nutrients are now easily assimilated by crops. Over time, fertilizations with our own products have become more efficient and have improved productivity per tree by more than 50% in just three years. The best part is that this new model of coffee farming soon became an example for our neighboring coffee growers, with whom we now dream of transforming more and more farms.
Do you have a mission and vision statement?
Our mission is to elevate coffee culture into a more resilient and regenerative production system.
I saw that you have 3 lines of transformation. Can you explain the differences?
New agroecological productive projects (or lines of transformation) are encouraged alongside coffee production at farm level: vermicompost production; smart horticulture; crop association; and pasture-based agriculture projects can be integrated to coffee production in order to increase economic, social and environmental resilience of coffee farms and families.
The transformation journey relies on 4 main activities:
- Research and development to launch new agroecological productive projects.
- Engagement with impact-driven investors to enable pilot project development and transformation lines' scale-up.
- Engagement with coffee-growing families to drive change on a project by project basis at farm level (from monoculture to a regenerative production system connected to Biodiversal's inclusive supply chain through contract farming with technical assistance).
- Value-adding processes to provide traceable agroecological products to consumers.
What is something you are most proud of that your organization has done so far?
Biodiversal is just a 3 year old company. During this time we have prioritized the development of the biofertilizers value chain. We have built a certified organic fertilizers production plant and developed three new products under the brand Biogrowth.
2020 was a very important year because we launched the vermicompost production project connecting the first 32 families to this supply chain. They currently are receiving access to investment in digital and physical infrastructure, inputs, technical assistance alongside a contract farming scheme with Biodiversal, to produce high quality humus using organic waste from their coffee farms.
As a background to our first-of-the-month drink sales donations, all 100% of drink sales on May 1(not just the profits) will be donated to your organization. In the past, the donations have ranged from $1200-$2000+. How do you anticipate the money being spent or allocated?
During 2021 Biodiversal will enrich their input to produce Wormix and SolidBlend, two of the products under Biogrowth's portfolio. This way, coffee growing families are developing new capacities that will lead them to start diversifying their source of income while increasing 20% their annual net income.
We would love to allocate the resources provided by Monogram Coffee specifically towards achieving this goal, by supporting these families through educational resources and technical assistance that will help them produce high-quality vermicompost needed in the production of Biogrowth’s products.
What is something you want to achieve in the future?
We envision to have enabled the productive transformation of 50,000 coffee-growing families and their insertion into new agro-ecological value chains by 2030.As a measure of success, we have defined 10 coffee resilience goals per farm/family:
- At least 4 productive line per farm (including coffee)
- 20% net income increase per year / per project
- At least 1 women-led production line
- Significant participation of next-gen in at least 1 project
- Connected farm and family
- 4 per 1000 soil organic matter increase/year
- 50% nutrition requirements provided by biofertilizers
- Carbon-neutral/positive farms (5years)
- Water management system implemented
- 8 species associated with coffee per hectare
This month we were able to raise $4220.80 for Biodiversal!
This month we donated to - Urban Society for Aboriginal Youth (USAY)
About National Indigenous History Month
In Turtle Island (a.k.a. Canada), we celebrate National Indigenous History Month in June and on June 21st is National Indigenous Peoples Day!
Historica Canada states that "Indigenous peoples have lived in what is now Canada since time immemorial" and it wasn't until 2009 that June was declared National Indigenous History Month, following the passing of a unanimous motion at the House of Commons (MCos, 2019. There have been many steps taken towards reconciliation in this country for all the atrocities done towards our Indigenous communities but "popular narratives of Canadian history have most frequently been told from the perspective of European settlers. As a result, Indigenous experiences have often been neglected or excluded from the telling of our country’s history ... It is also necessary to examine the legacy and consequences of colonialism and the repressive policies to which Indigenous peoples have been subjected" (Historica Canada).
Indigenous peoples in Canada have faced extreme hate and discrimination since being colonized and as settlers of this land (settlers meaning that we are not Indigenous), it is our responsibility to understand the true history of Canada and to work towards truth and reconciliation together, as a community. "The actual process of reconciliation would only be possible through meaningful action on the part of non-Indigenous people in Canada" says Yellowhead Institute in their 2019 status update.
Something we can do to work towards truth and reconciliation on a person level is to (re)learn Canada's history from an Indigenous perspective! There's a very good (and free) course being offered on Coursera by the University of Alberta's Faculty of Native Studies that "explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada."
One notable step towards reconciliation is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) which was launched in 2008 and after hearing the stories of 6,750 survivor and witness statements from across the country after over a century of abuse an Indian Residential Schools, they published the 94 Calls to Action in 2015. The chair of TRC said "The 94 calls to action represent the first step toward redressing the legacy of Indian Residential Schools and advancing the process of reconciliation." However, since 2019, Canada has only completed 9 Calls to Action and [Aboriginal Peoples Television Network](https://www.aptnnews.ca/national-news/canada-has-made-dreadful-progress-in-fulfilling-trcs-calls-to-action/#:~:text=A new analysis reveals “dreadful,at Toronto's Ryerson University Tuesday.) described this as "dreadful progress".
Due to colonization, their rich and deep culture full of many languages and complex social systems have sadly been suppressed. However, there is still a fight to re-learn their own cultures, languages and systems such as Turtle Island Teachings from The Alex Community Food Centre and the offering of Indigenous Programs at Inn from the Cold.. So for this month's first-of-the-month drink sales donation, we have 3 organizations you can vote for that are led by and empowers our Indigenous community.
The Urban Society for Aboriginal Youth has been an influential not-for profit organization in Calgary since 2001. USAY strives to provide essential programming and services to Calgary’s Indigenous youth between the ages of twelve and twenty-nine.
Mission: The Urban Society for Aboriginal Youth (USAY) will enrich the lives of all urban Indigenous youth by nurturing self-empowerment and fostering healthy collaboration and communication to ensure healthy future generations. Vision: The Urban Society for Aboriginal Youth (USAY) will be recognized as a fundamental organization in society, empowering urban Indigenous youth to envision and attain a healthy sustainable future while upholding traditional Indigenous values.
You can see their list of programs here.
Notable things they've done:
- 92% of Indigenous youth in USAY’s programs feel more connected to their culture; a huge accomplishment when 69% of Indigenous youth are in the child welfare system and detached from their families.
- Research indicates as few as 11% of Indigenous youth graduate from high school in Calgary; however, when Indigenous youth participate in USAY’s programs high school success and completion significantly increases.
- During covid, they were able to : distribute school supplies, help celebrate milestones (birthday, graduation), provide technology into community so they can connect, impacted more than 1000 individuals
1. In a nutshell, what does your organization do?
The Urban Society for Aboriginal Youth (USAY) supports urban Indigenous youth ages 12 to 29 years old living in the City of Calgary. USAY focuses on providing opportunity to Indigenous young people to navigate their own journey’s toward success.
Our organization has a philosophy of art meets technology meets tradition, and this is epitomized in our projects that range from virtual reality games, escape rooms, board games, and all the way to basic needs.
The goal is provide empowerment and leadership roles for Indigenous youth that provide them with the skills they need to be the best version of themselves.
2. What programs are you most proud of having created and why?
USAY is proud of all our programming, but we are particularly proud of our suite of virtual and augmented reality programs, which allows community to engage in traditional Indigenous stories through an engaging technology. Over the past three years, USAY has created three engaging virtual reality games that focuses on Blackfoot language learning, reducing homelessness and providing a spiritual tour of sacred lands.
Our augmented reality projects allow USAY to bring written words in the oral Indigenous language tradition through our New Tribe Magazine, murals and other static projects. To check out USAY’s AR and VR projects, you can go to our website: usay.ca.
3. What is something you hope more people will know and understand about the work you do?
USAY is a super diverse and vibrant organization that works with amazing Indigenous young people that have strong ideas, voices and abilities. USAY does not view Indigenous people as ‘have nots’ or buy into the negative narrative that Indigenous youth do not contribute to the community, but in fact the opposite, that Indigenous youth having amazing skills that build up our community. USAY wants people to know that given opportunities to explore their interests, Indigenous youth have amazing abilities to enhance and expand their communities.
- LeeAnne Ireland, Executive Director of USAY
WE RAISED $2839.27 and even had people hand us cash to donate to USAY which is unprecedented for us!
This month we donated to - Indian Residential School Survivors Society
What is Indian Residential School Survivors Society?
Formally founded in March 2002 after the Indian Residential School Survivors Society took part as a working committee as part of the BC First Nations Summit and has grown until today to provide "essential services to Residential School Survivors, their families, and those dealing with Intergenerational traumas."
Some of the services they provide include counselling, health support, cultural support and cultural services request. Their counselling includes grief and loss, crisis, trauma, family and group counselling and much more in various forms such as utilizing art therapy and circles. Their health support services supports former Indigenous Residential School students through legal proceedings such as the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and "those participating in Truth and Reconciliation Commission events and Commemoration activities.
They even have a cultural support team that provide "guidance at ceremonies, and workshops" such as smudging, language, traditional medicines and therapies and healing and sharing circles and so much more.
They state that "One of our Society’s goals is to continually expand our support to partner organizations and maximize access to culturally sensitive, emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual care."
For about twenty-five years, the Indian Residential School Survivors Society has been quietly operating and doing the necessary work for the cultural, spiritual and physical well-being of not just former student of residential school, but to the multitude of those adversely impacted intergenerationally. We have been transitioning slowly and growing the services we offer and have several new and existing programs, such as:
- Missing Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
- Missing Murdered Indigenous Men and Boys
- Indian Day School Survivors
- Indian Day Scholars
- 60’s scoop survivors
- Indian Hospitals
- Those that have aged out of Child and Family services
- Qwum Qwum Xxii Xxaa (Youth justice program)
- Education Workshops on Colonialism and impacts
- Healing Workshops
- Cultural safe spaces for healing
- Cultural connections to the land and Elders
- Now the 24 hour crisis line
Why we are supporting this organization?
This year alone, Canada has found more than 1000 unmarked graves of children at various residential schools across the country. This is a time of intense mourning for the families who have finally have closure for their sons and daughters who never returned home. However, because the graves are unmarked, closure still may not be granted to all families who are still looking for their loved ones. "The commission estimated that about 4,100 children went missing nationwide from the schools. But an Indigenous former judge who led the commission, Murray Sinclair, said in an email this month that he now believed the number was “well beyond 10,000.”
Angela White, executive director of IRSSS said, "acknowledging the history and the reality of residential schools validates what survivors have been sharing for years and is an important part of the healing process."
We hope that through our support as a community on July 1, proclaimed as Canada Day, we are able to support those who need the services provided by Indian Residential School Survivors Society. We see and acknowledge the damage the country and we, as settlers, who have benefitted from the systems that precede us, have contributed to the erasure of Indigenous culture, language, and spirituality.
Our support for Indigenous organizations is not sparked by and does not end at each new uncovered atrocity. We continually stand by all Indigenous and other organizations focused the truth and reconciliation our country so desperately needs.
A message on why we are not celebrating Canada Day:
This year, we continue not to celebrate Canada Day. We cannot be proud of our complicacy to the genocide of the Indigenous people. For stealing their children and placing them in schools to never return home only to have it happen today under the form of foster care. Based on the 2016 Canadian Census, although less than 10% of children aged 0-4 in Canada are Indigenous, they still represent more than half of children in foster care.
We do not celebrate Canada day for the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. For the lands and treaties we encroach to build pipelines to sustain our lives today. For the lands we take away in order to build ring roads to make our lives easier. For not even being able to provide clean drinking water to every Canadian despite multiple promises by government leaders.
This year, we grieve with the Indigenous community whose sisters, brothers, sons and daughters were forcibly removed from their families and who never came home. For those who did come home but were stripped of their childhood alongside their culture and language.
“This was a crime against humanity, an assault on a First Nation people,” said Chief Bobby Cameron, of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, the provincial federation of Indigenous groups. “The only crime we ever committed as children was being born Indigenous,” he said."
As Sol Mamakwa, Member of Provincial Parliament, eloquently states:
"This year, Canada Day should be nothing more than a reflection. Not a day of picnics and parties. I will not celebrate a birth of a nation that destroyed our children. Instead, I will continue to mourn for our lost children and dig deep to find the strength to help build a path toward a better future. For all of us, this is a good time to reflect on the dark roots of Canada, and commit to doing better now and in the future."
We at Indian Residential School Survivor Society (IRSSS) strive to provide physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual growth, development, and healing through culturally-based values and guiding principles for Survivors, Families, and Communities.
To assist First Nation Peoples in British Columbia to recognize and be holistically empowered from the primary and generational effect of the Residential Schools by supporting research, education, awareness, partnerships, and advocating for justice and healing. The Society assists Survivors with counselling, court support, information, referrals, workshops, and more.
- "One of our Society’s goals is to continually expand our support to partner organizations and maximize access to culturally sensitive, emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual care."
- Some of the services they provide include counselling, health support, cultural support and cultural services request.
- Their counselling includes grief and loss, crisis, trauma, family and group counselling and much more in various forms such as utilizing art therapy and circles.
- Their health support services supports former Indigenous Residential School students through legal proceedings such as the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and "those participating in Truth and Reconciliation Commission events and Commemoration activities.
- Call to action from IRSSS:
- Learn about the impacts of the Indian Residential School system
- Read the TRC's 94 recommendations
- Contact your MPs and local officials
- Actively listen to people of First Nations, Inuit and Métis backgrounds
- Stand up to stereotypes, prejudice and systemic racism
- Have conversations with your family and friends (even children)
- Be respectful towards trauma survivors and elders
- Support Indigenous-led community organizations
- Be patient, empathetic and receptive (it's distressing for everyone)
- Raise awareness in your community and online (wear orange)
This month we donated to - Fundacion FormemosFundacion Formemos is a non profit entity whose corporate purpose is to provide an integral and preventive education to youngsters, farmers and displaced who form part of our vulnerable population.
Their Vision: To offer its beneficiaries the possibility to improve their quality of life and that of their families, so that they are projected within the community.
Their Mission: integral and preventive education for rural and displaced children of vulnerable populations, positioning them at a productive level at the rural sector, involving the community so that they become leaders within it.
Their programs have provided tools that allowed the children to built a life project and stay in the countryside. Children and rural areas are the future of our country and we are promoting the importance of education from the countryside and for the countryside. They provide housing for children who need a place to stay while attending their programs and they are directed by several counselors who help the children not only with basic home hygiene, but they also help with things like conflict resolution, guidelines of study, and teamwork.
Their formal education program began in 1997 with serving children from grades 1 to 9 and has now expanded to include preschool and grades 10 & 11 for Technical Media with specialization in Agriculture. They also have a farm where the children can practice their applied learnings of the classroom! This farm includes livestock such as rabbits, poulty, pork and worms as well as agriculture that includes coffee!
- Carlos Francisco Rodriguez Riascos, subdirección financiera
"These resources are life-changing for our young boys and girls, allowing them to have their first personal computer and the connectivity required to continue with their educational program at their homes."
Our community raised $5005.32!
This month we donated to - Calgary Outlink
Calgary Outlink is a community-based, not-for-profit charity dedicated to providing support, education, outreach, and referrals for the LGBTQ2IA+ and allied community in Calgary, Alberta.
“Mission: Calgary Outlink is a hub that promotes support and community connectedness for all gender and sexually diverse people.
Vision: Calgary Outlink envisions a welcoming gender and sexually diverse community that fosters unity and resilience among its members.”
Calgary Outlink exists to connect community with community. They provide peer support, community groups, and education for 2SLGBTQ+ people and their allies. They often serve as a first point of contact for people looking for resources, information, and connection around gender and sexual diversity.
Their peer support groups are the heart of our work at Outlink. These are open, supportive, and often just fun spaces. These groups are continuously adapting and evolving to meet the needs of the communities accessing them and include groups that are specific to particular ages or identities as well as groups that are an open invitation to just see a friendly face.
They also offer workshops and consultation with other organizations and businesses who want to better support gender and sexually diverse people.
PRIDE Month in Calgary
Calgary Pride was formed in 1987 by Project Pride Calgary (PPC). What started out as small and humble beginnings, grew to be a week-long celebration that included local bars and venues. In 1990, Vancouver hosted the International Gay Games, and the Calgary Pride that year doubled as a fundraiser to help get Calgarians to the games. At this time, it was still seen as a risk to attend the event, and stories arose of people scared that if they attended they would be fired, evicted, or denied services. This concern increased for school teachers, government employees, and social workers. The Calgary Lesbian and Gay Political Action Guild (CLAGPAG) encouraged people to wear Lone Ranger Masks as a symbol of the discrimination faced against the community, as well as a safeguard for people who were concerned about being identified.
Pride week was protested by numerous groups in Calgary, and was denounced by the mayor after pressure from the public. Pride week lived on because of the hard work of the queer community, declaring the week in 1992 and taking out ads in public newspapers without mayoral or civic endorsement.
In 2009, the pride parade and week was changed from June to the September long weekend in order to attract more tourists, which proved successful. They also transitioned from a grass roots collective to an incorporated non-profit society.
You can watch an interview with Emma from Calgary Outlink Here:
" Monogram's generous donation, made possible through the enthusiastic support of this city's coffee aficionados, is so deeply appreciated by the entire Outlink team. Community support is an essential core of our service and funding model and we are overwhelmed with the feeling of care we are feeling right now. These funds will allow us to continue our peer support work, running community groups and offering one-on-one support and resource navigation for queer and trans people and their allies across the city and beyond. This year we have put a primary focus on community engagement and identifying the gaps in our own service delivery. We have received so much invaluable feedback and are excited to continue moving forward with the wisdom and guidance of our community. While the specifics are not quite ready to release just yet, we have some exciting plans to expand our mentorship program, our group offerings, and our one-on-one support services. Stay tuned for these developments in the next year! "
Our community was able to raise $4,892 for Calgary Outlink this month!
Additional Donations and Events this month:
Sept. 28th - Did an Instagram Live interview with Emma Ladouceur who is the operations manager for Calgary Outlink
Sept. 25th - Donated 150 drink coupons and a 30 cup growler of coffee to the Terminator Run: The Terminator Run event is to mainly raise awareness for youth & young adult addiction & mental health + Terminate the stigma + provide supports to individuals and families who are impacted by addiction and mental health. (Which is even more prevalent since COVID-19) The event also helps sponsor individuals who have faced or are facing addiction & mental health issues, through their Triathlon Training Program.
Sept. 30th - National Truth and Reconciliation Day: Donated all drink profits to the Indigenous Residential School Survivors Society in which we raised $2207.48
This month we Donated to - Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support Centre
October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month
Each year thousands of families across Canada mourn the death of their babies. In 2017 1,699 infants died within the first year after birth and 3,159 babies were stillborn. Parents get isolated in their grief and the stigma around the death of children prevents society from speaking about the devastating effects on parents and their families.
- Mission: To support and connect individuals of all identities, backgrounds or circumstances, who have experienced the trauma around miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal loss, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), or infertility. Acknowledging that the journey through loss towards healing is as complex as it is individual. As such, they offer many no-cost pathways to healing including a help line, peer support, mental health sessions, and somatic therapies.
- Vision: Create a place for individuals and families who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss or infertility to connect and build community. Their vision is to provide a broad continuum of care and compassionate support that all parents, including diverse and marginalized populations, can access no matter what stage of the parenting journey they are in (acute grief, trying to conceive, pregnant after loss, or parenting after loss, etc.)
- Community – Founded by bereaved parents who address the programming gaps that still remain for the community.
- Grief as a lifelong journey – Provide support that addresses the lifelong impacts of loss and at every stage of the parenting journey (initial grief, trying to conceive, pregnant again, and parenting after loss)
- Accessibility – Offer in-person and remote support, making support accessible from anywhere.
- Diversity and Inclusion – Hold an affirming space for all people regardless of faith, ethnicities, cultures, abilities, socio-economic status, sexual orientations and gender identities. They hold affirming space for diverse types of loss including termination for medical reasons (TMFR), infertility, loss through surrogacy and missed adoption.
What programs are you most proud of having created and why?
- Our helpline was created in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. When the pandemic began we wanted a way to reach our already isolated community. The acute crisis helpline connects people anonymously and immediately to trained peer volunteers through text or webchat. We started with 5 volunteers and now have over 60. We have supported thousands of chats from across North America. The steadily fast growing helpline is a testament to the need for this program and we are incredibly proud of it.
What is something you hope more people will know and understand about the work you do?
- SO much! Two things we would want people to know are:
- the deep impacts that loss has. Many people think that loss is something you "get over". It has lifelong impacts that stay with you at every step of your parenting journey and has deep mental health implications. Raising this awareness is a critical part of the work that we do. Another thing that we want more people to know about the work we do is how loss is further complicated for marginalized communities. Oftentimes marginalized communities are not represented in parenting and loss spaces, leaving them to be unsupported. A foundational part of our work is to raise awareness around the intersections that loss has in marginalized communities and how those intersections further complicate their healing journeys. We work hard to create affirmative support offerings so that ALL people who experience loss find the support they need. No one should walk this journey alone.
Our community was able to raise $4,144.93 for PILSC this month!
"The cost of your coffee is going towards supporting families who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal loss, SIDS and infertility. As a grassroots organization, every dollar goes right back to the loss community in Calgary. With your collective donation, PILSC will be using the funds to further support their Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support Helpline. The donation will allow for 410 unique texts and chats to be facilitated on the helpline. Thank you Calgary, for bringing this much needed support to bereaved families."
- Aditi Loveridge (she/her), Founder Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support Centre
This month we donated to - Pink Flamingo
As a Queer, Black-led organization, Pink Flamingo’s devotion is to the QTBIPOC community. By facilitating equity-based programming in Canada, Pink Flamingo promotes culture, safety and the expression of self for marginalized people.
Pink Flamingo is a unique organization that does work in the realm of anti-racism training, accountability tracking of industry partnerships, promoting access to platforms and resources through small and large-scale events, and of course, the infamous Black Lives Matter Murals project, which includes six murals across diverse neighbourhoods in Calgary. Showcasing moments of euphoria under oppression helps heal, inspire and gives hope to survivors of discrimination and bigotry, and that's what Pink Flamingo advocates for.
Pink Flamingo is involved with MANY community events, bringing these events to life and building artist networks with arts groups like Femme Wave, Sled Island, Vogue YYC, Snap Canada and Umoja Sessions. They have collaborated with artist Jae Sterling for a Black Lives Matter Mural in 2020, and are now partnered with the Calgary Philharmonic for 4 more murals!
"The funds are going directly to mental health mutual aid for QTBIPOC in need. Pink Flamingo considers mental health to be one of the greatest barriers in our community, especially when engaging with DEI work. We distribute this throughout our organization and partners by offering them access to our mental health resources free of charge. We are also able to pay fees incurred while we develop our new bystander intervention training wedcast programming called Intentional Instincts. We have moved beyond the awareness of bigotry, and our networks are ready for tangible and actionable information in order to stop the cycles of targeted violence immediately. Partnering with bystander trainers and attending their programs have shown us the real value of this work and how lives can be saved by showing the general public how to support victims while intervening in confrontations. We are constantly developing new and unique ways to address oppression and to learn better ways of being. Thank you for your support, it means so much to us that we are not alone in this journey."
Our community was able to raise $3,569.67 this month for Pink Flamingo
This month we Donated to - The Mustard Seed
In addition to our drink sales, Monogram has also teamed up with Ellen Doty for the holiday give back campaign, in which proceeds will also go towards the mustard seed!
The Mustard Seed is a non-profit organization founded in 1984. Their vision is to eliminate homelessness and reduce poverty where we serve, their mission is to build hope and well-being for our most vulnerable citizens, and their values are based on Christ-centredness transparent accountability, treating all with respect, open communication, and holistic innovation that cares for individuals experience homelessness and poverty. They create a safe space and work to meet the physical, mental, and spiritual needs of the individuals they meet.
The Mustard Seed has programs and services for basic needs, (emergency shelter, meals, clothing, hygine, etc.) health and wellness, employment, and place an emphasis on finding housing for people in need.
Their Wellness Centre staff work with over 600 agencies across Calgary to provide advocacy, mental health and addiction counselling, chaplaincy, tax clinics and legal advice. Advocates also connect with guests to provide assistance when applying for Alberta Works, AISH, and obtaining referrals for clothing, prescription glasses, and legal assistance.
The Employment Services Team works closely with clients to help them find meaningful, dignified work, and financial stability. Their coaches help individuals with skill development, resume building, job searches, employment retention assistance, access to work and protective equipment, and much more.
Our Community engagement and events coordinator was able to speak with Drew from the Mustard Seed about the organization:
This month, $4030.66 was raised on the Drink Donations!
We are so proud to be a part of this amazing community, and continue our dedication to donate to and uplift organizations that support marginalized groups, the BIPOC/Queer community, and the coffee community at large.
We want to say a huge THANK YOU to our customers, for buying drinks on donation day, and being actively involved in supporting us and your community!