It was the realization of the long-desired dream of a lawyer Samantha Peters to open a Black Femme Legal as a toolkit for black queer workers to address their grievances.
“It was my long-standing dream to become a lawyer.” Says Ms Peters, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by fierce, strong and Black women advocates in my family.
Grown-up in Toronto’s King Street East neighbourhood, Ms Peter was driven by a passion for activism for her community. She says the idea came about organically to create the kind of workplace as a toolkit for black queer women, femmes and diversity promoting places including education, health and referrals to serve the neglected and ignored people.
“Our story to build such distinctive and unique work environment for a specific gender and colour was borne out of the informal group of working queer women, femmes and gender diverse folks who experienced discriminations, harassments, and anti-black racism.” Says Ms Peter who is a legal consultant and is currently doing her master’s degree in law.
Since there are different terminologies and accountability mechanisms to heal the aggrieved people, I want to curate all of those resources, so that it is easy for the folk to define accountability, justice, and healing on their own terms and context.
Fighting harassment and discrimination in a legal way
According to an article published in 2020 entitles LGBTQ+ voices: learning from lived experiences, this article highlights the worldwide survey of 2,000 employees out of which 37% of LGBTQ said they felt uncomforted at work while 40 of LBGTQ said, to prove the proof of their competency, they had to show extra work. More than sixty per cent said they felt the opinion of their colleagues workers was based on wrong assumptions and they felt the need to correct their assumptions by telling them about the realities of their lives.
“Many organizations across the world are only now learning the much-needed language of social justice.”Ms Peter says, and it can result in establishing and promoting workplace diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) which is often totally devoid of practice on the ground.
Those gender diverse workers and employees facing discrimination, sexual harassment, injustice, and unpaid wages got help from Black Femme Legal ever since it came into existence in 2020.
It is the only organization in Canada that supports this demographic specifically and offers legal and workplace-related resources. The organization generously offers community support and resources for vulnerable workers and precarious situations.
The organization offers detailed information and multiple ways and means to navigate complicated systems such as Canadian Human Rights Commission. It offers how to file or unionize a claim with the Ontario Ministry of Labor. There are many other legal clinics, law firm referrals as well as non-legal resources like nongovernmental organizations that offer support during a crisis.