Issues of violence against women have been getting a lot more attention in the news than usual in the past few weeks. In these conversations you sometimes hear reference to survivors as ‘educated’ or as ‘public figures’. The media emphasis on the class standing of survivors implies that certain lives and stories of violence are more ‘believable’ (just barely) – while others can be more easily dismissed.
November 25th is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. For the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty it marks one year since the demand for a 24 hour women and trans drop-in was launched in Toronto. This followed the assault of a homeless woman, twice in one night, while sleeping on some steps at the corner of Dundas and Sherbourne. That incident, and the subsequent reaction by many (including police) to dismiss the woman, assuming she was ‘trading sex for drugs’ - is sadly not shocking and all too common for women on the streets.
You may already have heard about the November 25 action that OCAP is organizing to demand that the City of Toronto deal with the dangerous crisis of overcrowding within its homeless shelter system. As part of this action, we'll be sending the included open letter to Mayor elect John Tory; We invite individuals and organizations that wish to to sign onto the letter. Please let us know at email@example.com and we'll include you as a signer.
Our fantastic allies Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) in the UK are helping to support our November 25 action against the abandonment of Toronto's homeless. After at least 100 people have signed onto this a list of tweets directed at Mayor elect John Tory, which will be sent out at noon on the day of our action so that calls for him to act on shelter overcrowding and drop in space for homeless women will come in from across Canada and internationally.
Please also sign onto this and help make sure that the action on the streets gets a nice echo on social media!
Dear Mr. Tory:
On December 2, you will become the Mayor of Toronto. By then, we shall be facing the onset of a winter that is predicted to be especially severe and you will be the Chief Magistrate of a city that does not have in place a basic infrastructure to provide even bare shelter for those who are facing homelessness.
Doubtless you will have a fairly substantial 'to do list' in front of you as you take on your new responsibilities but we'd like to suggest that responding to the homeless crisis should be the most urgent priority of all. We say this not simply because lives are at stake, although this is certainly the case with the Homeless Memorial marking three more tragic deaths this month. We also drive home this point because, as far as we are concerned, a City that is ready to abandon human beings to destitution as winter sets in can't be trusted to meet any social needs with any diligence.
A day of joyful protest in solidarity with migrants jailed at the Toronto Immigration Holding Centre, demanding justice for migrants, refugees, and migrant workers.
Evelyn Bumatay Castillo was murdered on Saturday, October 11th at Quality Inn near Toronto International Airport. 43-years-old and a Filipino citizen, Evelyn came to Canada as a temporary foreign worker in January 2013. While caring for a family with three children, Evelyn was also working as an independent sex worker. Evelyn is survived by an 86-year-old mother in the Philippines and a 22-year-old son, who she had not seen in 10 years while working abroad to support her family.
Tuesday, November 25th @ 12noon
*Rally, Meal and Action
George Hislop Park north end: Charles St (between Yonge and Church)
Click here for a map
Join the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and allies this coming November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, to fight for:
- 24 Hour women and trans drop-ins NOW
- Open Shelters: real beds, not flex beds!
- Safe, affordable, and accessible HOUSING FOR ALL!
Raise the Rates Community BBQ/Rally
Thursday, October 16, Noon
George St south of Gerrard
We are circulating the statement below for endorsement by agencies, anti-poverty groups, unions, and other allies. Please forward it widely.
To add your name to the list of endorsing organizations, please contact Parkdale Community Legal Services 416-531-2411 ext. 248 or firstname.lastname@example.org
We are encouraging groups to take up this issue as part of the
Raise the Rates provincial Week of Action, Oct. 13-17
For more information:
like Raise the Rates on Facebook
Stepped Up ODSP Medical Reviews Will Mean Improper Denial and Needless Hardship
After much public outrage and mobilization against the mass raids of undocumented workers on August 14th in Toronto, Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca has asked officials in his ministry to review its collaboration with immigration enforcement. The Toronto Star reported that the investigations will involve the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) going above and beyond its jurisdiction and allocating provincial resources to do the work of federal ministries, including racial profiling and abuse of power.
This is a step in the right direction, but nothing short of a clear declaration of Ontario as a Sanctuary Province is enough. Join your voice with ours, and sign this petition: http://chn.ge/1lbFvON
Massive outdoor free protest concert to celebrate the courageous 1-year long resistance of immigration detainees on strike in Ontario.
THESE WALLS WILL FALL
w/ Indigenous & PoC Artists from Across Turtle Island
- - - - - - - - - - -
8PM - 11PM -- WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2014
CLOUD GARDENS (short walk to concert site)
COME TO PROTEST! COME TO DANCE!
- - - - - - - - - - -
Arizona's finest Red-Brown power hip-hop duo
Undocumented & Decolonial Mujer Lucha Rap
Singer, song-writers, one-half of Toronto's own LAL
TEST THEIR LOGIK
Anarcho-Rap Rhythm Renegades
Colombian darling, Soundsister, improv virtuoso
More to be announced.
OCAP Delegation Delivers Strong Message to City Hall:
August 25th, 2014
To Members of Council and City Staff,
We are here today to ask an important question and to deliver a message.
Do the lives of homeless women matter in the City of Toronto?
We ask this question as every day we face the reality of violence against women in our City. This violence is even more acute for women who don't have a place to live or a safe place to go especially at night.
In June, Council approved the recommendation from Community Development and Recreation Committee that the City move forward with the process for establishing two 24 hour drop-in centres for street-involved women. The community was hopeful in this decision, and for a brief time, we celebrated. But instead of seeing this process move forward this fall, we now face a delay until after elections and until 2015. This is despite the fact that Council and Committee gave direction to staff to move forward this year. To us in the community, this delay is unacceptable. We need safe space now.
Toronto -- Over 50 of us protested outside the Ontario Ministry of Corrections on Monday August 18th, against the early morning raids, racial profiling, and detention of undocumented workers that took place August 14th, 2014. Under the guise of a "vehicle safety stop," Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) supported by Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and Ministry of Transportation officials racially profiled, forcefully ID checked, arrested and detained at least 21 migrants who were on their way to work, some arrested on foot, in the Jane and Finch and surrounding neighbourhoods.
Welcome to the No One Is Illegal - Toronto website.
Many of our key campaigns have their own websites.
- For the Campaign to End Immigration Detention, visit www.endimmigrationdetention.com
- For the Campaigns for Access to City Services Without Fear, visit www.solidaritycity.net
and we are also members of
- Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, visit the website at www.migrantworkersalliance.org
If you haven't yet, please sign and share this petition: http://chn.ge/1lbFvON. It has a lot of useful information contextualizing what happened.
Here is a chronology of events:
August 14th: Canada Border Services Agency, with the support of Ontario Provincial Police and Ontario Ministry of Transportation pulled over vehicles of people of colour and forced them to hand over their IDs. As this is an area where a large number of undocumented day-labourers get picked up to go to work, this was a targeted fishing expedition. Racialized men that were found to not have full immigration status where detained and taken to the Toronto Immigration Holding Centre.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
@ the South-East corner of Jane and Finch intersection
For more information, please read and sign this petition: http://chn.ge/1lbFvON
Under the guise of a "routine traffic stop," Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and Ministry of Transportation officials racially profiled, forcefully IDd, arrested and detained at least 21 immigrants and handed them over to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) last week in the Jane and Finch and surrounding neighbourhoods. In detention, many were forced to sign documents waiving their rights that weren't adequately translated. Now our friends and family members face indefinite detention, deportation and separation from their families simply for trying to put food on the table.
Join us at 5:00 pm this Tuesday to find out how to defend yourself and know your rights in the face of racist police and immigration enforcement officers. Call for an end to detentions and deportations and demand that Kathleen Wynne stop doing Harper's dirty work. No racial profiling! No anti-immigrant raids! Members of our community should not live in fear! We welcome everyone in our community, with or without immigration papers!
Emergency Protest: Speak Out Against Racial Profiling and Anti-Immigrant Raids
12pm, Monday, August 18, 2014
25 Grosvenor Avenue (Yonge and Carlton)
Ontario Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services (Responsible for OPP)
For more information, please read and sign this petition: http://chn.ge/1lbFvON
Community Alert: Immigration enforcement targeting undocumented workers in Toronto around Jane Finch.
Toronto, August 14, 2014 -- This morning immigration enforcement targeted undocumented day laborers going to work in the Jane and Keele and Jane and Wilson areas, in particular the Weston road off-ramp to 400 / 401.
Vans with workers were pulled over, workers were ID'd and at least 5 workers without immigration status were detained.
Please visit and share http://toronto.nooneisillegal.org/knowyourrights to learn your rights when coming in to contact with immigration enforcement. It includes video and downloadable flyers.
Please get in touch with us so we can support undocumented people impacted by these raids, including handing out Know Your Rights materials in Jane-Finch and other areas.
Raise the Rates Week of Action October 13-17
Liberal MPPs will be going back to Queen’s Park on October 20 but, during the week before, they will be in their local communities and in their constituency offices. Doubtless they will be feeling quite smug after their election win and telling people about how committed to ‘fairness’ and ‘social justice’ they are.
Communities living in poverty know from bitter experience that the reality they face is very different:
- The minimum wage has been set at a level that leaves people in poverty
- Those on Ontario Works (OW) and ODSP are living on incomes that leave them unable to feed themselves and pay the rent
- The real value of social assistance payments has fallen by some 55% since 1994 and people have continued to get poorer during the years the Liberals have been in office
- The vital Community Start Up benefit that kept people housed has been taken away
- Many people on ODSP are now facing medical reviews that threaten to take away their income
From August 21st to 24th, thousands of people are expected to converge at the People's Social Forum (PSF) in Ottawa to share ideas, strengthen alliances and carve the many worlds we wish to live in.
No One Is Illegal groups from Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver (Coast Salish Territories) are coordinating a stream of workshops, panel discussions, dialogues, films and movement assemblies at the PSF. These events are being hosted by and/or include speakers from End Immigration Detention Network, Health for All - Toronto, Justicia for Migrant Workers, Migrante Canada, Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, Solidarity City Network, and more.
If you are around, please join us at one or more of these sessions. We would love to connect with you.