BIST members had the opportunity to hear Melanie Moore from the Centre for Independent Living in Toronto speak at our November community meeting. Moore talked about Safe Inclusive Toronto Streets – the idea that Toronto’s streets should be safe for everyone who lives here, whether they have a disability or not.
“Safety means different things to different people,” Moore told us. She asked members to describe what safety means to them:
- Being aware of what’s around us – people and things
- Making a clear path
- Preventing accidents, i.e. riding a bike with a helmet
- Locking doors
- Carrying money in a safe place
- Have a good attitude in public
Melanie showed us a self-defence video taught by Savoy Howe of Toronto News Girls – a boxing club for women and trans people which focuses on empowerment and “exploring the art of boxing”. In the video, Howe showed people with disabilities – the majority of whom were in wheelchairs – how to throw traditional boxing punches versus “street fighting” punches.
Moore emphasized, as did Howe in the video, that self-defense is just one part of safety training. Using your voice effectively can stop a potentially dangerous situation from escalating, for example.
Here are other tips from Moore:
- If you’re in trouble, yell “fire.” People are much more likely to respond to “fire” than “help” or anything else you can yell.
- Get a case for your cards which lets you use them without taking them out of the case – they’re not expensive and means you don’t have to expose all of your cards.
- The City of Toronto says people with disabilities and seniors can have their sidewalks cleared of snow for free this winter. You need to register in advance.
Next meeting: BIST Holiday Party!
Dec. 15, 6-8 p.m., Northern District Libary
40 Orchard View Blvd, 2nd Floor meeting room