Stayed tuned for more information regarding the 2023 Social Justice Series.
In 2019, the Fr. Joseph Quinn, CSB Social Justice Series was relaunched. This series is named in honour of the late Fr. Joseph Quinn, CSB (1933-2019) who served as Interim President of Assumption University and dedicated his priestly ministry to social justice causes. In the past, this event has historically brought students together to learn about a social justice issue, such as the Holocaust, human trafficking, and the Underground Railroad.
Power of One
Suzie Sawicki (Facilitator) is a 4th year International Relations and Business student at the University of Windsor. You may recognize her from campus as host of the Windsor Wednesday Show which features a roundtable interview with University of Windsor students, staff, faculty, and alumni, live on the Office of Student Experience Facebook page every Wednesday at noon. The show gives viewers a chance to hear first-hand why people are proud to be a part of the UWindsor community.
Suzie is passionate about social justice and activism. She chairs the Tecumseh Youth Advisory Committee which provides advice to Council and Administration of the Town on issues that affect area youth. She is also a member of the Tecumseh Community Policing Committee, a group that promotes public commitment and awareness through active involvement in the resolution of crime, traffic and social order issues.
Suzie is looking forward to continuing her studies at a graduate level in the field of public policy and staying involved within her community.
Safia Abdulle is a 1st generation immigrant-settler, and Somali-Canadian woman, raised in Windsor, Ontario. Safia is a Registered Social Worker with a Masters’ degree in Social Work, and a BA in Developmental Psychology, from the University of Windsor. Safia currently works as a Clinical Social Worker and Therapist at a counselling agency for Black and racialized people. Most recently, Safia has published a research article in the Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal on the mental health impacts of poverty on children with disabilities. Safia’s research and career interests include anti-oppressive, anti-racist social work practice; poverty reduction; neurodiversity; the impacts of intersectionality on mental health; and the liberation of marginalized populations. Safia is currently earning her PhD in Social Work at York University.
Michael Braithwaite has been working to end homelessness for the last 13 years and in the field of social services for over 25 years. He is the CEO of Blue Door, the largest emergency housing, health, and employment provider in York Region, that’s housed thousands of people over the last 30 years. Michael also was the CEO of Raising the Roof Canada and previously the Executive Director at 360kids. Proud of his start in employment as a dishwasher at Mother’s Pizza, Michael is working hard with his team of dedicated and talented professionals to prevent and end homelessness in York Region! He has a BRLS from Brock University, a Post Grad Certificate in Fundraising and Volunteer Management from Georgian College and a Master’s Certificate in Public Sector Management from UOIT.
Jeffrey Menear is a certified yoga instructor, mental health advocate and healer.
Jeff is a deep believer of community service and understands that volunteering time and energy is an important practice and centers much of his work around joy and building relationships. He is often in spaces such as public parks teaching yoga and tai chi for free.
Jeff’s work and therapies including yoga, tai chi, qigong, skateboarding and other wellness activities.
Christine Wilson-Furlonger, Administrator, Street Help Homeless Centre
49 years ago, when I was a homeless teenager, a man of God prophesied to me two messages. The first message was that all the suffering and social injustices I was experiencing were actually training for me. My future would find me serving others who would then be going through the same things. The second message was that I was so hardheaded, God knew I would need the personal experience to understand and learn compassion.
28 years ago, I was a social activist intent on ending poverty, inequality, and homelessness. 23 years ago, God had other plans for me and arranged for me to open Street Help as a small storefront drop-in centre for the homeless. I was determined to end homelessness. I’d soon find out that wasn’t in God’s plan for me. Matthew 26:11 “The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.”
At that time, we served up to 25 people each day. Today, we serve over 400 people each day. I never expected to see housed families, living in poverty bringing their children to a homeless food line for a meal at school lunchtime. I am so pleased our homeless folks are extra kind and sensitive to these families, making them feel welcome and safe.
The most important thing to know about Street Help is that we are a Self-Help agency. God has blessed Street Help by providing other folks to serve. Most of our staff have been or are homeless. Learning to love others before loving yourself was a thought that astounded me for years, but this hardheaded lady finally got it!