This one you’re a part of!
Last month we took youth from some local schools and United Churches to Meet Me at the Bell Tower. We did this to celebrate Bell Tower’s birthday as part of the Just a Warm SleepOVER for youth. The youth went to Bell Tower, most for their first time and though it was a night of celebration it was also important to remember why Meet Me at The Bell Tower came to be. And so they told their origin story.
A young man whom many of them knew and loved was stabbed- and died.
This was tragic and out of the tragedy the youth in their grief sought ways to reduce the violence in their neighborhood. They knew it would take more than marching, or extra lights they had to create a mentality of ending violence by building community.
Fast forward only a year and I’m at my second Bell Tower but first as a speaker in response to another tragedy, a suicide. Working then for the Canadian Mental Health Association I was chatting with the group after them having lost someone to suicide in their community. How to cope, where to access free resources, etc.
Fast forward one more year and I’ve been to Bell Tower intermittently but every time I feel welcome, I am welcome. This time I’m there because it’s about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women – and I know one of the most important things privileged people can do is Show UP! We need to work to change the systems sure, but we also need to make sure Indigenous families know we mourn with them.
Fast forward 2 more years and I’m insisting my boyfriend must check out Bell Tower with me. At this point I’m working with 1JustCity and plans are on for our first co-event. We host a big Feast at Bell Tower and my now husband shoots an amazing video about why Bell Tower is the the best also detailing our member charity North End Stella Community Ministry!
Then I’m there because it’s about Labour, or this or that. It’s always topically compelling!
Then there’s 2016 and we get this tweet:
And people say that’s impossible or difficult/l- but it’s time for another origin story.
Just a Warm Sleep exists because of brilliant grass roots activists being willing to demand that resources be put to public good, but it also exists because of you!!
It’s a crazy story.
It involves a faithful congregation at Augustine United Church willing to do the right and very inconvenient thing.
It involves a board at 1JustCity saying a daring yes when a no would have been easier.
It involves YOU. You answering the call to volunteer, to donate, to Plarn.
And it involves over 200 people having a warm place to sleep when they were in need.
Great Ideas + Faithful Leaps + Your Generosity = Just a Warm Sleep
Thank you for being a big part of this equation.