This won't be a secret or surprise to anyone reading this—but I live a life of incredible privilege. The supportive family, friends, and colleagues who have never failed to enrich my life and enable my aspirations are the single most important reason I live the life I do.
When the time comes to celebrate my birthday each year, the incredible, generous people in my life never hesitate to spend their precious time and hard-earned money to make me feel special. This year, circumstances are different. We can't gather as we once did.
But much more importantly than a lost birthday, 2020 has been an exceptionally painful and challenging year for so many communities—especially Black people, Indigenous peoples, and other people of colour; LGBTQ+ people; and other marginalized people engaged daily in the struggle for justice. That struggle isn't new. As a privileged cisgender man, I have no right to pontificate about it, but I will say this: I want so deeply to be a part of a lasting solution.
Now—ordinarily, we'd get together to share some drinks and good times. Instead, I'd love it if we could come together (virtually) to support an incredible cause that's close to my heart: The 519, Canada's most prominent LGBTQ2S community centre and service provider. The 519 offers services, space, and leadership that makes a real difference in peoples' lives, from education and training to housing services to a (very special) Trans People of Colour project .
If you're one of the amazing people who would have shown up to my birthday party and bought me a drink or gifted me a bottle of wine—it would mean the world to me if you chipped in to support The 519's life-changing and life-saving work instead. If 100 people donate $27, we can raise $2700 in support of an organization that supports so many communities here in Toronto. I know it's a tall order, especially when times are tough. But if you're able to support, I'd be eternally grateful.
In closing: I know donations aren't going to single-handedly affect the systemic change we need. But every dollar donated to a good cause helps bend the arc of the moral universe towards justice, and that would be the greatest birthday gift of all.
Thanks for reading this far. Lots of love,
- Jackie Kendrick
- Matthew Wilson
- Vivek Prabhu
- Bradley Metlin
- Alana K