Archive

July 2018

Browsing

GO Transit allowing dogs onboard until October

Looks like your pups will now be allowed on the GO trains and buses for a trial period after a petition surfaced asking to allow dogs onboard.

A petition was published calling for 30,000 signatures in support of allowing dogs to ride on Go Transit. Technically dogs are allowed on GO Transit, which the petition acknowledged, but only if they’re in crates or licensed service dogs. GO Transit specified previously how the reason for this was to ensure the safety of its customers and for liability reasons.

“This policy does not serve GO customers and is short sighted. Crating a dog is unrealistic because some dogs may be too large to crate in portable crates and are too heavy and owners will struggle to carry them or if they are crated, there is no place to store the crate when the owner arrives at their destination,” the petition stated. “Leashed dogs are allowed to travel on the TTC, allowing dog owners to travel within the city without a car. With the growth of the GTA and excessive traffic congestion, GO Transit customers need to be able to move across the city and into surrounding communities without using a car.”

The petition went on to suggest that GO Transit could designate several cars as being “dog free” while having the rest of the train accessible to dog owners.

To date, the petition received 25,483 signatures.

Metrolinx has since updated their policy to allow for dogs to travel on GO Transit. Their updated policies state that from July 20 – October 15 people will now be allowed to bring a maximum of two leashed dogs on weekdays and holidays between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. They will also be allowed to ride from 6:30 p.m. until the end of service. Outside of those hours, Metrolinx asks that dog owners revert back to the old policy of having dogs that can fit in your lap or that can be placed in crates.

Additional rules state that patrons and their dogs need to be seated on the lower levels of trains and buses, they would obviously need to pick up after their pet and ensure that any dog is kept close by without causing any disturbances for others.

“We aren’t making any changes to our service animal policy. Service animals are welcome on board with their owners all day, every day, and must wear a vest and have identification from an accredited training organization,” the statement read. “Throughout the pilot, we’ll collect and monitor feedback from customers and staff to help guide our future plans. […] We’ll let you know if we make any permanent changes to our policy about travelling with your pets.”

Though nothing is permanent, you’ll be able to participate in GO Transit’s trial period starting this Friday.

Ace lemon chicken: the summer staple

Now that the summertime has officially arrived, it’s time to think about what to cook up for dinner during these warmer months. Sure, there’s always the trusty barbeque food like hot dogs and burgers, but lemon chicken is just as classic.

This is an old family recipe of mine and it’s one I’m going to share with all of you. So, switch it up a bit this summer and serve some citrus!

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of parsley
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of basil
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup of chicken broth
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of freshly grated lemon peel
  • 2 ½ tablespoons of melted butter
  • 3 minced garlic cloves

Tools:

  • Pan
  • Baking dish
  • Meat thermometer

Instructions:

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Stick your olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Once the pan is nice and hot, add the chicken breasts, skin-side down, into the olive oil.
  • Fry them for about 1-2 minutes or until the skin goes brown.
  • As soon as the chicken skin has browned, move the breasts into a baking dish.
  • In a small bowl, combine the butter, seasoning, chicken broth, and lemon zest. Mix everything together and pour it over the breasts in the dish.
  • Stick your chicken in the oven for about 25-35 minutes or until fully cooked. Whip out that meat thermometer and stick it into the chicken to keep track of the temperature. You’ll want to reach about 165 – 175 degrees F.

Pro Tip:

  • You can also cut a lemon into slices and place them on the breasts when they’re done. It adds a nice aesthetic appeal and gives them that added bit of zest.

Lemon chicken is one of those staples in the home that needs to be eaten at least once in the summer. Everyone loves a good chicken breast and once it’s coupled with the tangy flavor of lemon, it’s hard to resist not going back for seconds. Just make sure you make enough for everyone coming over!

Should breastfeeding still be in the news?

American model, Mara Martin, was filmed breastfeeding her infant as she walked down the runway at Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit show. Though, after waking up to seeing her name in headlines, Martin posted an Instagram photo wondering why she was in the news at all.

On Monday, Sports Illustrated shared a video of Martin walking down the runway as she breastfed her baby, who had headphones on to drown out the amount of noise.

Soon after the video was released, the Daily Mail published a story with the headline: “Working mom! Model walks the Sports Illustrated swimsuit runway while breastfeeding five-month-old daughter.” The article was accompanied by several photos.

Martin, herself, posted an Instagram photo that first discussed how amazing it was for her to walk down the runway and how it was a lifelong dream of hers. Though, she added, “I can’t believe I am waking up to headlines with me and my daughter in them for doing something I do every day. It is truly so humbling and unreal to say the least. I’m so grateful to be able to share this message and hopefully normalize breastfeeding and also show others that women CAN DO IT ALL!

“But to be honest, the real reason I can’t believe it is a headline is because it shouldn’t be a headline!!! My story of being a mother and feeding her while walking is just that. Last night there are far more deserving headlines that our world should see,” she continued. Martin noted how there were women going to boot camp before joining the military, how Allyn Rose had a mastectomy, and how Brenna Huckaby survived cancer and is a two-time Paralympic gold medalist.

Stories like this are always a bit of a curious case because the reactions are so often very split. There are mothers everywhere who support women like Martin who do what’s natural without giving it another thought, and there are people out there who think Martin fed her child for attention (a concept I can’t wrap my head around). The comments on Martin’s photo and Sports Illustrated’s video were a pretty mixed bag of support and condemnation, though the majority of comments commended her.

Despite the need to erase the stigma surrounding breastfeeding, Martin also has a point that her feeding a child doesn’t need to outshine the other women who were there. There’s a reason to think about why this is the kind of story that seemingly trumps all others. Martin had a great point that there were other women there who were accomplishing many things, and why is her child having a meal be the talk of the day?

Of course, it’s not fair to insinuate that Sports Illustrated only published the story to gain attention or clicks. Their caption on the video was “GIRL POWER!” and even if Martin doesn’t see it as a big deal, her breastfeeding on a runway sticks it to the people who think that doing something natural needs to be done behind closed doors. But then a weird cycle starts where if stories like this are constantly made into the news, how will people adapt into thinking that it’s an everyday occurrence?

It may not be seen as a ground-breaking move by Martin, her act was bold to many people and is worth talking about. In a way, breastfeeding her child on the runway made it more natural than people may have initially thought. I agree with Martin that she doesn’t need to be in headlines, but she deserves also be commended for taking care of her baby while pointing out that it’s not newsworthy to be a working mother.

Woman of the Week : Imogen Coe

When you think of a scientist, who comes to mind? Albert Einstein? Nikola Tesla? Or, perhaps, Carl Sagan?

It’s rare that the popular answer to this question would be someone more akin to Shirley Ann Jackson, Dian Fossey or Chien-Shiung Wu, and that’s because women, among other marginalized groups, are severely underrepresented in the STEM community. This isn’t merely a matter of the past, in fact, Statistics Canada reported that only 22% of the STEM workforce in 2011 were women – a number that’s nearly on par with that reported in the late 1980s, despite an increase in women holding STEM degrees. Marginalized groups continue to be under-sponsored, underpaid and underrepresented in the professional field, and so, the main character in humanity’s modern snapshot of science remains to be, more often than not, a straight, white male.

Imogen Coe, however, is attempting to change the terrain by increasing awareness of equity, diversity, and inclusivity in this ever-evolving environment. Having experienced this challenging reality herself, she has used her platform as the founding dean of Ryerson University’s faculty of science to convey a message that is crucial for the future of the STEM community.

“It’s about human potential. It’s about human capital,” she says. “When you’re leaving human capital at the side of the road or it’s not present at the table, then you’re missing a whole bunch of brain power. You’re missing a whole bunch of ideas, solutions, creativity, perspective, all of those things that are going to help us find solutions, drive innovation, ensure that we can maintain our quality of life and our standard of living, and that we can find solutions to the really wicked, complex problems that we have, like climate change, urban sustainability, and antibiotic resistance. We’re going to need all of the brain power at that table. We can’t be relying on a subset of humanity to come up with all the answers.”

Imogen, herself, is globally recognized for her pioneering research on membrane transport proteins, which are important in the body’s uptake of anti-cancer, anti-viral and anti-parasite drugs. She has powered through the rough seas of science and academia to build a career seasoned with grand accomplishments, all the while nurturing a natural sense of curiosity that women are so often conditioned to suppress.

Growing up in the UK, Imogen says she can’t remember a time when she didn’t enjoy questioning the natural world – why the earthworms looked the way they did, why the plants grew so tall, and how it all meshed together to create the harmony of life. Naturally, she pursued an education in biology at Exeter University before moving to Canada to work in the mingling fields of science and academia.

She was met along the way with setbacks of all sorts – personal, professional and cultural – a common occurrence for any person, but one that often creates a “glass obstacle course” for marginalized groups. The glass obstacle course is a metaphor that Imogen describes as a set of invisible barriers, such as cultural stereotypes, biased hiring committees, and perceived gender roles, that all add up to exclusionary behaviours, which in turn, can create massive hurdles for certain groups of people.

One memory that Imogen points out, was when she was involved in a major scientific project that the newspapers reported on. When the story went to print, her male colleague was named for his contributions, but Imogen herself was not. “It was, you know, ‘Doctor X and his co-presenter.’ It’s like, well actually, I have a name!” she says with a laugh.

This example goes to prove that the gap is not only perpetuated by the STEM community, but by the greater culture – the media, the marketing, even the educational tools. Identifying these pillars that uphold an unfair playing field is key for the future of women and marginalized groups in STEM, Imogen says.

“We focus a lot of attention on mentoring women, leaning in ‒ things like science camps for little girls ‒ all of these that focus on the problem being the women, or being the underrepresented group,” she says. “All of that stuff is useless if we don’t, at the same time, fix the context and the culture. There’s no amount of leaning in that will help if you have a boss that’s biased or misogynistic or sexist, or if you’re a person of colour and you go into an environment where they don’t understand that jokes are racist. You have to look at the culture and context and shift out to educate people around what equity and diversity really is, and then give them the tools and strategies to make those environments, those workplaces, those educational places, those pathways truly inclusive and welcoming so people can feel comfortable bringing their full selves to work.”

Imogen has shattered the perceived fears of speaking up on these issues, something which she believes women are conditioned to absorb. She regularly speaks out on the problems affecting underrepresented groups in STEM and often works directly with men and other privileged groups to equip them with the knowledge and strategies for creating inclusive work environments.

In 2012, when Imogen joined the team at Ryerson, she pulled science out from under the broad umbrella of architecture and engineering, to a place where it’s able to flourish on its own. Although her current term as founding dean is now coming to a close, I have no doubt that she will continue to shine a light on the power of science and all of its diverse and brilliant minds.

Ford’s sex-ed decision will hurt students

So, Ford officially nixed Ontario’s sexual education curriculum so he could appease pro-life, Christian groups and conservative parents who don’t want children to know about basic things. Big surprise.

When Ford was discussing his idiotic plans for the city on the campaign trail I already knew that I wasn’t going to vote for him. He was too quick to yank decisions out of thin air that only placated a small amount of misinformed, bigoted people. It’s obvious that this is what the next four years will look like now that he’s literally setting the province back 20 years.

In case you missed it, Ford announced on July 11 that he would be reverting the Liberal party’s curriculum and replacing it with the 1998 version. The reason for this was essentially so he could consult with parents on what they wanted their kids to learn at home versus the classroom.

There are many problems with this decision. The 1998 curriculum didn’t include things that matter today like transgender people, same-sex marriage, consent, masturbation, homophobia, online bullying, and sexting. Back then these things were pretty much unheard of, so it wasn’t a big deal to sweep them under the rug.

But when students started entering a technology-driven society, things drastically changed. Kids were getting more open about their sex lives, sending photos to their partners, and had a new platform to bully other kids into suicide or changing schools. The internet is great for a lot of things, but it’s also a dangerous aid to children who weren’t educated in how to behave or protect themselves.

For those parents or conservatives out there who think this is a good move, let me tell you something. I went to high school in a Catholic school. Learning about Jesus for four years when you’re an atheist was already hell enough (please control your applause at these puns), but my class learned nothing about sex. Nothing. The teacher spent half a class once talking about how girls have a vagina and boys have a penis, everyone needs to refrain from having sex until couples were in love, and that everyone has to be safe. The end. But, what does safe mean? Ah, yes, my Catholic high school wanted to cover their butts by saying they technically told students to be safe, but they worked around it by not showing students what that meant. Kids in my school were never taught how to put on condoms or what diseases could be contracted through unprotected sex. This kind of “education” led to the school shutting down hallways because students were having sex too often in them and grade-10 girls walking around the cafeteria pregnant. So, maybe education is a good thing?

Though, it’s not just the Catholic groups out there who wanted Ontario’s sex-ed curriculum repealed. Enter Campaign Life Coalition. Let me stop sighing long enough to express my distaste in their backward views. They published an article talking about graphic lessons on body parts. Words like “penis” (oh no!), “vagina” (the horror!), “testicles” (the travesty!), and “vulva” (sound the alarm!) were all present.

I think I can understand where they were coming from. They don’t want little kids in grade one learning about their genitals because they’re much too young and need to be making macaroni art. However, kids get curious. It’s not unheard of for children that young to start exploring with other kids or even their own siblings. Look at the whole Lena Dunham debacle that happened a few years ago. Tons of people were quick to call her disgusting and a rapist, whereas several therapists actually stated that they didn’t think Dunham abused her sister at all. What happened was a case of curious children who weren’t properly educated by their parents or in schools.

It’s not just the genitals thing that irks me. It’s how the Coalition’s article also demonized same-sex households. A line from their article on grade 3 lessons reads: “Will normalize homosexual family structures and homosexual ‘marriage’ in the minds of 8-year-olds, without regard for the religious/moral beliefs of families.” What about the regard for the children coming from same-sex homes? That means they can be left out entirely so a homophobic agenda can continue being taught?

The article continues by saying, “It would be one thing to teach the fact that such alternative family structures exist, if the plan were to teach it at older ages, and if it were done in a way that respected the deeply held religious and moral beliefs of traditionally-principled families. However, the Kathleen Wynne government will certainly take an activist approach to these lessons and show no respect nor tolerance for traditionally-principled families.” Correct me if I’m wrong but it sounds like you’re upset that “traditional” homophobic, belittling views won’t see the light of day. Forgive me for not shedding tears.

I already knew that Ford promising to rid the new curriculum was going to be trouble. I believed him, and if you want to applaud him for keeping true to his promises then I guess I can give him that as well. I can’t deny that he did what he said he would. It just turns out that what he did was stupid, damaging, ill-informed, and not half as big a win as he thinks.

Regardless of whether or not Ford or the conservative parents out there believe it, kids masturbate. They’re going to have sex. Girls will get their periods. Boys will ask girls to send photos of their breasts. Girls will ask for photos of a boy’s genitals. Your kids are going to experiment. They’re most likely going to have sex in high school and be curious as children, so the least you could do for them is keep them educated.

Ford sets Ontario education back 20 years

After just a few short days in office, Doug Ford has already made good on his promise to remove the liberal’s sexual education program and replace it with one that was literally published decades ago.

When Ford was elected into office he told the public that he would be removing the current sex-ed program, which focussed on important issues such as masturbation, same-sex marriage, cyber safety, and transgender people. It also taught kids about issues more prominent with today’s youth: contraceptives, STIs, and the notion of consent.

On July 11, Ford announced that schools would be reverting back to a 1998 curriculum that has no mention of the important issues highlighted in the current program. Education minister Lisa Thompson told reporters at Queen’s Park that “The sex-ed component is going to be reverted back to the manner in which it was prior to the changes that were introduced by the Liberal government.” She added that the party will be “moving very swiftly with our consultations and I will be sharing with you our process in the weeks to come.”

This decision came from Ford’s decision to consult parents on what they wanted to have taught to their children in schools and what they wanted to teach their young ones at home.

His opposition was quick to criticize the decision. NDP leader Andrea Horwath told reporters on July 11 that, “Going backwards in terms of keeping our kids safe and giving them the information they need to stay safe is not the right direction.” She added, “We worked hard to make sure that everyone in Ontario feels that they are respected, that they are able to be who they are, able to have opportunity, able to be free of violence and hate. And anything that starts to erode people’s ability to be themselves and be respected in this province is problematic.”

A petition is already in place to sway Ford into reverting his decision. The petition, called “Doug Ford: Keep Ontario’s Sex-Ed Curriculum, has already reached 54,283 signatures of their 75,000 goal to date. It reads: “The curriculum was designed and written by experts in child development, internet safety, police, and social workers, in consultation with roughly 4,000 parents. It emphasizes much-needed lessons of consent, acceptance for others and sexual health.”

While some are praising Ford for already living up to his promises, the ones that he’s put into effect will drastically alter the education of children and not the for the better.

Police resume normal operations after Toronto concerns

Normal police operations have resumed after Toronto’s force responded to threats of a van attack occurring at the CN Tower and surrounding areas.

On July 12, Toronto police received a threat suggesting that a copycat van attack would take place near the CN Tower and surrounding areas. Toronto was already struck with tragedy in April when Alek Minassian deliberately drove a rental truck into pedestrians near Yonge and Finch. He killed 10 people and injured another 16, making it one of the deadliest attacks in Canadian history.

The police report, which was obtained by several publications, stated that “On Wednesday, July 11th, 2018, the Toronto Police Service (TPS) received credible information regarding a potential vehicle ramming attack in the area of the CN Tower on Thursday, July 12th.” It continued that the TPS would increase the number of police patrolling the surrounding areas.

A tweet was published by Toronto police at 9:30 a.m. on July 12 stating: “We are responding to an unconfirmed, uncorroborated piece of information relating to the GTA. As a result of this information, you will see an increased number of police officers throughout the city and, specifically, in the downtown core ^sm”

Premier Doug Ford also released a statement on Twitter saying, “We are aware of the reported potential threat in the City of Toronto. While the information is unsubstantiated, the Premier has been briefed by the Provincial Security Advisor and is actively monitoring the situation.”

TPS added that a statement would be provided to reporters at 11:30 a.m. in Bobby Rosenfeld Park. Acting superintendent Mike Barksy spoke with reporters at the time.

“As such, we have increased what we call our ‘footprint of police presence’ in the downtown core,” he said. It was also said that police presence has already increased in the areas surrounding the CN Tower, Rogers Centre and Ripley’s Aquarium due to the playoffs.

When asked by reporters what specific buildings were targeted, police would not comment as it related to their investigation. “Whenever we have a report of a potential risk, we take that seriously. And because of that, we know that the downtown core of Toronto is a significant area for people who travel to the city, live in the city, and come to the visit the city,” Barsky told reporters. “And as such, we’ve called upon our partners from neighbouring police divisions to come and assist us in ensuring that people can continue to come down and enjoy those luxuries.”

They added that shops and hot spots were still open in the surrounding areas at the time and that one of the biggest events of the night, the Foo Fighters concert, was not cancelled. Hondo Indy Toronto also tweeted out that their event remained open and they were following a site and security plan.

Around the time of the press conference, Metrolinx also released a statement saying, “safety of our customers and staff is central to everything we do at Metrolinx.” Their statement also included reassurance that transit safety officers were deployed in “important areas of service to ensure passenger and staff safety.”

Late Thursday evening Toronto police released a statement saying that they were resuming normal police operations in the area. “We know this heightened security can be concerning for the public. Our goal is always to be as transparent as possible while protecting the integrity of our investigations,” it read.

Talking about heavy periods and treatments

With the launch of heavyperiodtalk.ca, Dr. Yolanda Kirkham, an obstetrician and gynecologist, discusses her role in the campaign and why it’s recommended that women educate themselves on their menstruation.

Dr. Kirkham is an OBGYN at the Women’s College Hospital and St Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto. Her role in the campaign is to do what she does on the job every day: educate, counsel, and treat women’s reproductive health concerns. “Through this campaign and website, women can quickly access factual information and peer-to-peer stories that encourage them to seek medical attention for a problem they may not have known was treatable,” she said.

She was a recent panelist at the Heavy Period Talk comedy show in Toronto, which she said was a great way to talk about a taboo topic in a fun and educational way. “The campaign also supports the Canadian Foundation for Women’s Health and local charities. I hope that women will know they don’t have to live with what they think is their ‘normal,’ and that there are so many individualized options for heavy periods,” she said. “They don’t have to live with the fear of leaking, missing out on activities, or feeling miserable each month. Heavy periods don’t have to cramp your style.”

This quote really stuck with me. I thought about myself and how I enjoy running. At times, I felt afraid of leaking and I would be constantly thinking about it on the course instead of my pace.  I found Dr. Kirkham’s information helpful.

If you suffer from heavier periods than you may be familiar with its older term: menorrhagia. Dr. Kirkham explained that heavy periods can affect a woman’s quality of life. “They are periods that are heavy, require pad or tampon changes every one to two hours or through the night, have clots, and last a week.”

“Heavy periods affect 1 in 5 women of all ages. But even one is too much,” she continued. “These can be young women who have just started their periods, are midlife, or nearing menopause. There are various causes, including bleeding disorders, hormonal changes and anovulation (not releasing a monthly egg) in puberty/perimenopause/polycystic ovarian syndrome, medications, other medical conditions, and cervical or uterine cancer.” She added that women in their forties have the highest rates for bleeding and associated conditions that lead to the heavy bleeding, such as polyps, fibroids, pre- or uterine cancer, or anovulation.

“All of these causes are treatable.  And it is important to treat to prevent anemia (low blood levels) that can affect concentration, energy levels, and ability for the body to function at its best,” she said. “Management of heavy bleeding can also reduce the need for blood transfusions, which are sometimes needed in dire cases.”

If you’re dealing with a heavier period or need more information, then Dr. Kirkham believes heavyperiodtalk.ca is a good place to start. “We hope that by sharing stories of how heavy periods affect them, more women will be encouraged to open up that conversation with each other and with their health care professional,” she said. “Stories shared on heavyperiodtalk.ca will benefit the Canadian Foundation for Women’s Health, which is a charity administered by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologist of Canada.”

She added that you should be turning to your family doctor or nurse practitioner if you need treatment or other individualized options that include medications, office procedures, or minimally invasive surgical procedures. “Something as simple as anti-inflammatories at the drug store can help,” she said. “But there are more sophisticated options such as medication to decrease flow (tranexamic acid) during heavy bleeding only, and all contraceptives also decrease flow (and pain).” She recommended hormone blockers, hormonal intrauterine device, or endometrial ablation procedures as well.

Periods were rarely spoken about years ago, and Dr. Kirkham believes this is one of the reasons why there wasn’t much education on the topic. “We are now in a society where people are more comfortable opening up about everything, and finding anonymous avenues to do so, such as online.  Women with very heavy or painful periods also tend to think that it’s normal for them and don’t realize their periods do not have to be dreadful,” she said. “I would encourage women to take time to look after themselves and seek attention for their periods if they are heavy or painful.  Blood is a precious commodity. Periods happen every month and over 40 years, that’s almost 500 periods! That’s something worth talking about!”

Visit your doctor or gynecologist if your periods are affecting your quality of life and keep the conversation going.

#MyNameIsMirian describes horrors of U.S. border patrol

In a heartbreaking letter from an immigrant mother, Mirian described how her only child was taken from her at the United States border; celebrities have now taken part in reading the letter to raise awareness of the atrocities taking place.

A YouTube video has made its rounds on the internet as celebrities like Ryan Reynolds, Chadwick Boseman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Emma Thompson gather together to read the letter of an immigrant mother at the border. So far, over 30 celebrities teamed up to read the letter out loud in an attempt to bring public awareness to Trump’s administration and the separation of immigrant families at the border.

The letter begins with Mirian stating officially that her accounts are true. She stated that she is a resident of Honduras and is the biological mother of her son, born in 2016. She fled Honduras on January 15, 2018, and made her way to America in the hopes of escaping government violence taking place in Mexico. She decided to flee Honduras after the government teargassed her home.

“On February 20, 2018, my son and I crossed the international bridge in Brownsville, Texas and presented ourselves to U.S. immigration officers. We told the officers we needed asylum. After I presented myself at the bridge with [her son], U.S border officers took me and [son] to be interviewed,” the letter said. “The officers took a statement from me regarding the reasons I came to the United States. The U.S immigration officers then told me they were taking my son from me.”

According to Mirian, the immigration officers only informed her that she would be going to one place and her son to another. When she asked why they were being separated, the officers provided no answer.

The officers then made her walk out with her son to a government vehicle before placing him in a car seat. “My son was crying as I put him in the seat. I did not even have a chance to try and comfort my son because the officer slammed the door shut as soon as he was in the car seat. I was crying too. I cry even now when I think about that moment when the border officers took my son away,” she wrote.

She was then moved into Port Isabel Detention Centre, where she stayed for a few days and panicked about her son. She wrote a request asking for information about her son and a detainee told her that her son was at a facility in San Antonio, Texas.

While she was detained she was able to speak with a caseworker who was in charge of her case. The worker informed Mirian that her son was crying for her and asking where she was during the first few days they were separated. She also learned that he was doing a bit better but had since developed an ear infection and a cough.

She added that since her son is only a toddler, he doesn’t speak much yet. He needs to be comforted by her presence and reassured that he is safe and healthy.

“On April 3, 2018, I received a positive, credible fear finding from a San Antonio immigration judge. I understand that I will now be able to present my asylum claim in the immigration court,” she wrote. “I will do everything that I need to do to seek protection in the United States. It would not be safe for me and my son to return to Honduras.”

As the celebrities read out Mirian’s letter, some were reduced to tears as the truth of Trump’s administration was made perfectly clear.

The hashtag “MyNameIsMirian” is currently trending on social media as news of the letter went viral.

Courtney Barnett’s a very needed musician

There’s something to be said for a musician with an incredible onstage presence and something new to bring to the table. With the recent release of her second album, Tell Me How You Really Feel, Courtney Barnett is still crushing the music scene.

Nestled in the balcony of the Danforth Music Hall, a girlfriend and I went to go see Barnett perform last night. She’s come to Toronto before, but I was one of the many unfortunate souls in the past to only watch her through someone else’s Instagram story.

Before things went underway, Barnett left the stage to her opener, Vagabon (Lætitia Tamko). I’m sorry to say that the half-hour set was a disappointment. It was pretty obvious that Tamko’s performance left many concertgoers uninterested and the chatter of the music hall was almost as loud as her music. It’s unfortunate that so few people came out to see someone with such a huge voice, and someone who’s making waves in the indie scene. But, she performed a few tunes and headed backstage where everyone waited in anticipation for the main act.

Barnett, on the other hand, is someone to take note of onstage. Her presence and charisma radiate offstage and onto everyone lucky enough to see her. She has this innate ability to mesh mellow tracks like “Depreston” and “Dead Fox” with more amped tunes like “Pedestrian at Best” that bring out the raspy tones in her voice and a rockstar presence. Being able to indulge in such a character only highlights her talent.

Accompanied by only six lights, kept relatively dim throughout half the set, and her band members, Barnett came out in a pair of jeans and t-shirt to show off her low-key attitude she’s best known for. But, it’s her personality and lyrics that tell tales of her modest fame, insecurities, and struggles with confidence; ironically, these personality traits are what make her stand out from the rest.

The first half of her set included songs off her new album and I appreciated how she quickly informed the crowd that “this song is about depression” before jumping right into a track. She doesn’t give you any time to think about what she said or dwell on it, she just gives you a quick description, so it lingers in the back of your mind as she performs and makes the music more powerful and relatable.

When she comes back to town I would recommend going to see her. There’s something to be gained in seeing a musician parade around onstage and shower you with honesty, not only in her person but in her lyrics.