Rainbow Railroad of Toronto received $17,500 in grant awards from FOH last year, largely thanks to funds brought in through our inaugural STRUT event held last year, which raised nearly $45,000 through grassroots fundraising efforts and corporate partnerships.
Justin Taylor, Executive Director at Rainbow Railroad was pleased to provide FOH with a status report on how those funds went to help LGBT individuals find a safe haven from state-sponsored violence. Funds directly contributed to assisting four individuals at significant risk.
Travel support went out to a young gay Jamaican man who sustained severe stab wounds while defending a homeless LGBT+ youth against a violent attack. Rainbow Railroad assisted him to travel to a safer destination.
Rainbow Railroad stepped in to help a young lesbian Jamaican woman and her young son travel to safety after witnessing the murder of a suspected gay man in their neighbourhood. Following the murder, she was threatened from a local gang so her family asked her to leave their home out of concern that she would attract violence.
A young woman from Uganda experienced extreme violence, abduction, and “corrective therapy”, which included rape. Ostracized from her community just weeks before Rainbow Railroad could help her get to safety, she was abducted, drugged, and assaulted by religious extremists. Rainbow Railroad relocated her to a safe haven in Western Europe and she is now in the process of claiming asylum.
These situations are real. They are often hard to digest and all too easy to overlook in countries like Canada. Even in Canada, we are not yet there, although the government recently tabled legislation to protect and enshrine the rights of transgendered individuals, which is a huge win. Still, the walk is not over for us and it has only begun in places like Jamaica and Uganda, among many other nations in the world.
FOH is committed to enabling the Canadian charities like Rainbow Railroad fulfill their purposes, which closely align with our own. Our vision is a world where LGBT+ asylum seekers, refugees, and newcomers live safely and are free to be themselves.
The Foundation of Hope is committed to transparency and accountability. We exist through volunteerism and fundraising, which is why STRUT is such a high-profile event that enables the work we do.
These are all tenets of our constitution, which is predicated on success. Rainbow Railroad has demonstrated this by sharing these stories so that we can in turn share them and remain transparent and accountable to our volunteers and funders. We are nothing without you.
So come out and STRUT with us on June 11th. Your support is what will sustain these gifts and effect real change. It’s that simple.