SOGIC's Black History Month Feature
“Your voice is strong, you are a part of a profession that is respected and powerful. I encourage you to use your platform to amplify the voices of those in need and make meaningful differences through volunteering and pro bono services.” – Sebastian Commock, Manager of Legal Initiatives at The 519
The 519 has been a beacon for 2SLGBTQIA+ communities for decades. Offering programs, space, and leadership, The 519 supports and cultivates our communities in myriad ways. Many of us have attended parties, workshops, planning sessions, and lectures at The 519. I have watched my children run through the waterpark and dance with friends – new and old - at Pride celebrations over the years. As Sebastian Commock (he/him), manager of legal initiatives at The 519, says, it’s a place that “feels like home – a place I belong.”
The 519 is “committed the health, happiness, and full participation of the 2SLGBTQIA+ communities in Toronto and beyond; we strive to make real difference in people’s lives while working to promote inclusion, understanding and respect,” says Commock. “Our legal initiatives team is focused on providing access to justice for some of the most vulnerable in our communities. We currently have a refugee mock hearing program, notary clinic, legal clinic that covers various areas of law as well as Public Legal education Program, trans ID clinic and a host of other programs in development.”
For several years, dedicated lawyers attended at The 519 as volunteers providing pro bono advice and services to community members through The 519 Legal Clinic. The earliest clinics in the 1990s focused on wills and estates and later expanded to other areas of law affecting our 2SLGBTQIA+ communities. In 2005, the wills clinic was rebooted to include the support of Pro Bono Students of Canada volunteers, and, in about 2009, the service expanded to include a larger roster of lawyers and pro bono student volunteers.