Paint a rock as part of the NOT Safer at Home campaign designed to draw attention to the problem of domestic violence during the pandemic. (submitted)

Coming up in Cowichan: NOT Safer at Home campaign, library reading club goes online

What’s happening in Cowichan

NOT “Safer At Home”

“I’m all done with women being murdered because we are women. I’m all done with antiquated myths that men of privilege and economic status who are articulate, charming, community conscious or politically active don’t murder their wives, that the root cause of violence against women is mental health, or alcohol, or loss of control because she pushed his buttons, or pandemics. These are exacerbating factors, not root causes. Gender-based violence is perpetrated against women of all colour, ethnicity, class, age, ability and geographic location,” said Kendra Thomas of Warmland Women’s Support Services Society. “We are shattered by the atrocious violence of John Quesnel on Salt Spring Island and the soul crushing pain for Jennifer Quesnel’s sons. Our hearts go out to their neighbours, friends and family at this time.”

In April Warmland Women’s Support Service Society launched a socially distanced social action campaign to raise awareness about the increased risk of gender-based violence, “NOT Safer At Home”. During times of isolation, restricted access to services, economic downturn and increased stress occurrences of violence against women escalate — intimate partner violence, family violence, sexual assault.

The group invites all community members to become more than bystanders to violence against women. Paint rocks with messages of love, courage and resilience with the group’s message on the back: Domestic Violence… women are NOT “Safer At Home” COVID-19 #sharethelovecovid19.

“Share the Love and generate a sense of community during these socially challenging times by using sanitized hands to leave your rock in a public place,” said Thomas.

“We extend this invitation specifically to the men in our community. Help us end femicide. Stand with us in solidarity, accountability and visibility,” said Thomas. “Show yourselves to the women in our community, to our daughters and granddaughters. Show yourselves to your brotherhood and most importantly to our young men and boys. Confront toxic masculinity that robs men of their right to express their innate emotions. Challenge old patriarchal attitudes of women as property and men’s entitlement to women’s lives and sexual ‘access rights’ to our bodies. Paint rocks with us and don’t worry if they aren’t ‘pretty’ because femicide isn’t pretty either. #sharethelovecovid19”

Library’s Summer Reading Club goes online

For the first time, the public libraries’ BC Summer Reading Club (BC SRC) is being offered virtually to young readers and their families, thanks to a $65,000 investment from the Government of British Columbia.

This literacy program is usually offered in person. This year, as work continues to flatten the curve of COVID-19, young readers will be able to follow their passion for reading and still participate by registering and tracking their progress online.

“Fun and engaging programs like the BC Summer Reading Club that help our kids strengthen their literacy skills and stay motivated to keep reading over the summer are even more important this year,” said Rob Fleming, minister of Education. “I’m so pleased this incredibly popular program will continue this summer with expanded online features thanks to the great work done by library staff and the BC Library Association.”

The BC SRC is a free literacy program offered through B.C.’s 71 public libraries to children ages five to 14. Online registration for BC SRC is now open, and children and families can access the new website until the end of September. Some of the new online features that have been added to the program include:

• digital badges for reaching reading goals, as well as a certificate of completion for finishing the program;

• live events and video demonstrations, including hands-on crafts and experiments;

• weekly stay-at-home activity packages; and

• a dashboard for parents/guardians to track their kids’ reading progress and the digital badges they have earned.

All reading counts and participation is easy. Kids can read whatever they want, including story books, information books, graphic novels and comic books, in whatever language they feel most comfortable reading. They can also listen to someone else read or tell stories. Parents and guardians can register their kids on the BC SRC website, selecting their library and accessing some activities to do at home. This year’s theme is Explore Our Universe, featuring illustrations by B.C. artist Bambi Edlund.

Families are asked to contact their local library to find out about their local programs as branches throughout B.C. have been impacted differently by COVID-19.

The BC SRC is sponsored by the British Columbia Library Association and public libraries, with annual support from the Ministry of Education’s libraries branch and CUPE BC. More Information about the BC SRC is also available in several languages on its website.


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Paint a rock as part of the NOT Safer at Home campaign designed to draw attention to the problem of domestic violence during the pandemic. (submitted)

The Summer Reading Club “has all sorts of great benefits especially for kids because kids who read throughout the summer, studies have shown, tend to do better in school come the fall,” says community librarian Katie Burns. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress)

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