Binge-watching the now Primetime Emmy award winning series, The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu this past summer was both a highlight and a revelation. Highlight because it was refreshing to see a female-centric show stand out for its compelling cinematography and narrative. This is especially following the same path as the box office successes of some 2017 female-centric films like Wonder Woman, Atomic Blonde, Girls Trip and Snatched. It is evident that femme power and female narratives want to be explored by the majority. The experience of the visually compelling story of The Handmaid’s Tale was also a revelation because, the producers reiterated the iconic dystopian and fictionalized words of Margaret Atwood published in 1985 into a cause and effect paradigm that echoes something like, we all need to start taking better care of women or else…
So, it is evident that after watching and rewatching the ten episode package of The Handmaid’s Tale in the summer, some lines got memorized. But I didn’t reflect back on this particular line from the show, “Better never means better for everyone… It always means worse, for some” until I found out about the Cornerstone Housing for Women after watching a joint Daytime Ottawa interview with Sue Garvey, Executive Director of the centre and Alison Hughes, Stylist and Fashion Event Director of the Westboro FUSE Fashion. They were both featured on the show for the fundraiser that was going to be hosted in support of the new location of the centre that was being built in the Westboro community. This new location aims to cater to 42 women seeking emergency shelter and safe, affordable housing in the community. According to Garvey, Cornerstone has been around since 1984.
Since its inception over 30 years ago, Cornerstone Housing for Women has catered to hundreds of homeless women in Canada’s Capital. Their mission isn’t only to “end homelessness” but to also “help the women they cater to to build a meaningful life that fits their individual needs, as well as commit to public education and advocacy, and strive to serve more than 500 women annually in Canada’s Capital Region”.
Very curious to meet Sue Garvey and the very altruistic team at Westboro FUSE Fashion, I attended the fundraiser that was hosted on Saturday, Sept 23rd. It took place in the widely recognized upscale location in Westboro called QWest in partnership with The Loft West.
Upon attending the event, it was truly empowering to meet with so many people from all creeds and background willing to give back to a centre dedicated entirely to the wellbeing of women. Interestingly, a lot of the Westboro fashion and food businesses, and respected media personalities invited to exhibit on the runway and to set up exhibition tables, were led by a majority of women.
It is also important to mention that Cornerstone’s new housing facility will be on Princeton Avenue located in the former “mother house” of the Sisters of Jeanne d’Arc in the Westboro neighbourhood. The 42-unit building will cost a total of $6.9 million. However, the benefits of a centre in this community outweigh any costs because it will provide shelter, education and material resources to homeless women in the community.
The turning point of the event hosted to support Cornerstone to me was watching everyone from the back of the room network and interact with altruism tinged in the air. This was in fact a room that not only recognized that we should all strive for better and that shouldn’t necessarily mean worse for others but a room that was invested in collective action. It was truly uplifting to see so many people come out to support women and their varying narratives. I tell you, as a woman myself, there’s nothing quite like that feeling.
For more information about Cornerstone Housing for Women, visit their official website.
If you would like to be a part of the completion of the new Cornerstone facility in the Westboro community, make a donation via Building the Dream – Capital Campaign
PHOTO CREDITS via Cornerstone Housing for Women on Facebook.