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1944Invitation for Peaceful Protest for Breastfeeding! Please Join Us!

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  • Cinira Longuinho
    Nov 2, 2008

      I would like to share with you a breastfeeding discrimination episode that happened to me  last Friday, October 24th around 3:10pm at the The Aquacentre in Newmarket. (Address: 1215 Stellar Dr., Newmarket, Ontario L3Y 7B8. It is very close hwy 404/Davis Drive. Phone: 905 895 2782, Fax: 905 853 4229, email: info@...).

      I was breastfeeding my daughter on the steps of the swimming pool when Ms. Ellie Kar, the owner of the facility, came to speak with me. Ms. Kar said they had one complain and that I could not breastfeed my daughter in the swimming pool. She said if I wanted to breastfeed I would have use the changeroom. I tried to say that based on the law I had the right to breastfeed in public places but Ms. Kar said that she was the owner and I could only breastfeed in the changeroom. After that I stopped breastfeeding. Ms. Ellie Kar left. I stayed in the swimming pool.

       It was the first time I have suffered discrimination in my life! I wanted to cry so bad. I tried to pretend this has never happened. My daughter kept asking to nurse and I denied her while we were in the pool. My heart was broken. I did not know what to do. I was completely sad, lost and numb.

       Only after a few hours, I believe I started  to think clearly again. I knew I had to do something for myself, my daughter, breastfeeding mothers and babies. Our society protects us against pregnancy and breastfeeding discrimination so I just needed to have courage.

       I informed the homeschool families registered for this swim time at The Aquacentre about the terrible episode. The leader of this activity, Carol-Anne Brockington, sent an email to The Aquacentre asking for an apology. Their feedback was "At no point did we discriminate against the act of breastfeeding."  Their explanation was that no food or drink is allowed in the swimming pool area. They did not offer any apology.

      The Policy on Discrimination on Pregnancy and Breastfeeding by the Ontario Human Rights Commission says on page 12, "The Code prohibits discrimination in "services, goods and facilities" against women who are breastfeeding. This means that women have a right to nurse undisturbed, and cannot be prevented from breastfeeding a child in, for example, a public area or restaurant. They also cannot be asked to move to a more "discreet" area to breastfeed a child, or to "cover-up". Complaints from other persons will not justify interfering with a woman's right to breastfeed."

       After several emails of support from mothers ready to fight for the right to breastfeed,  we have decided to organize a peaceful nurse-in protest for Friday, November 7th in The Aquacentre at 2:30pm.

       Please inform as many people as you can about this discrimination episode and the nurse-in protest. Feel free to use this email. Also, everybody is welcome to the peaceful nurse-in protest, you do not have to breastfeed to participate! All support is welcome! If you are unable to attend the nurse-in personally please feel free to email, phone or fax the facility to voice your concerns over this incident and show your support of breastfeeding rights – anywhere, anytime!

      Unfortunately, the Aquacentre in Newmarket is a private facility that charges to use the pool. For this reason, to be able to participate in the peaceful nurse-in protest it is required that you pay the fee of $5.25 per swimmer. I wish it was not necessary to pay but the law requests it.

      If you are interested then please email Carol-Anne Brockington off list ASAP at thebirthden@.... If you do not get a reply within 24 hours then please send another. Please do not contact the facility.
      Also, Carol-Anne will need the following information:

      Name and ages of all the children participating.
      First and last name of adult attending.
      A phone number where you can be reached for any last minute changes or notifications.

      Just a reminder that this facility has resident cats, for those of you with allergies.

      Let's fight for our right to breastfeed anytime and anywhere! Join us on November 7th at 2:30pm!

      Thank you!