A Communitas letter to our incarcerated participants during COVID


1 July 2020

(Individual letters were sent via Canada Post to many of our incarcerated participants) 

Greetings from Communitas!

We hope you are hanging in there and that you know that you are in our thoughts.  We have not forgotten that you are in lock-down because of Covid-19, and we share your distress at this situation.

Life outside is also very different.  Not as severe as your situation, but we too have members outside who are confined to their homes and who have not left them for more than four months as a result of COVID!  Yes, some people are more mobile because of their jobs, but they are also more at risk of catching Covid-19 and so more stressed.

We hope that you received our last letter and that you enjoyed the Sou’Wester Spring 2020 edition.  If possible it would be good to get your feedback.  We could include your comments in the next edition.

We get news from CSC periodically about what is going on in the various prisons, and at time of writing, are thankful that there are no cases in B-16, and that the FTC cases are recovering.

The Communitas Directors are in touch with CSC to see what ways are possible for more contact to be established.  We are hopeful that a way will be found for us to be able to make contact via Zoom.  We will see.

Open Door continues apace.  We have a good number of attendees every Tuesday, with between 22 and 30 people zooming in.  Over the past four weeks, Open Door has had the following presentations:

  • Black Lives Matter – Racism in Canada. (Jeri)

An interesting discussion was had among the 27 people gathered for Open Door about what was happening with the BLM movement in the USA, and making comparisons about racism in Canada against both Black and First Nations people.

  • Best case and worst-case scenarios for Climate Change in the next 30 years (Michele)

A presentation was made looking into the future – 30 years later in 2050, and foretelling the best case and the worst-case scenarios if the world did meet its climate change targets in time, or if it failed to meet the targets.  A lively discussion was had after the presentation among the 23 participants.

  • Participatory budgeting – Part 2 (Monika)

The second part of Communitas’ Participatory Budgeting exercise took place among the 22 Communitas members present.  $1,500 was divided (virtually) among the participants for them to vote on 10 projects that were chosen in the pre-Covid days by the Open Doors participants in Part 1 of the Participatory Budgeting exercise.  The 10 projects chosen were:

  1. Host a budgeting workshop
  2. Thank you plaque for the Cathedral Community Bar-B-Q
  3. Host Computer or Technical workshop
  4. Art Expression
  5. Collection of men being released from the pen
  6. Host video-making workshop
  7. Organize outing for Communitas members
  8. Professional artist to lead a project
  9. Organize outing for Communitas members
  10. Attend Art Hire Workshop

Once the results of the vote are computed and released, the $1,500 will be spent by Communitas this year to make sure that the winning activities are implemented.

  • Canada Day Quiz (Margaret)

The night before Canada Day, Tuesday 30 June 2020, we had our yearly Canada Day Quiz led by Margaret as usual.  Quiz questions were divided into the following categories:

History; Geography; Sports; Great Canadians; Canadian Inventions; New Concerns.

Everyone had to answer a question from the category they chose and then they had to tell a Canadian story or give a Canadian joke.  The evening was great, with lots of laughter and wonderful stories shared by all.  We would have wished that your own stories were among them, but we have faith that day will come.

Hope you had a Happy Canada Day!

Your friends from Communitas