January 2020 / Toronto - On the first day of January as I waited for glimpses of a dawning day through a south facing window, I was struck by feelings of anticipation that I was having that is highly unusual for me at the start of a new year. In the past it was more about remembering to change the year when writing the date and otherwise it was just another day, albeit without the hangovers of my younger years.
Executive Director's Message
November 2019 / Toronto - My social media accounts were buzzing with righteous and rightful (if there’s such a word) indignation about comments made on a hockey game show by the host of Coach’s Corner Don Cherry. I’ve often been surprised that he continued to get airtime on our public network.
He first came into my consciousness when about twelve years ago or maybe longer he went on an insulting diatribe against people he called ‘left-wing pinkos’ or worse during the swearing in of the then Toronto Mayor-elect Rob Ford.
October 2019 / Toronto
Who decides who looks like a Canadian? Who is assumed to be Canadian and who are the folks that are constantly asked that question: where are you from? And on answering, hear the follow up- no really- where are you from?
Toronto / September 2019 - The rallying cry for Labour Day 2019 in Ontario was ‘Unite Against Racism’. The slogan and sentiment meant to acknowledge the troubling rise in white supremacy and xenophobia across the province and the country signaled a coming together of progressive forces to combat this scourge that has a material impact on the lives of Black, Indigenous and people of colour, including racialized (im)migrants and refugees.
Toronto / August 2019 - August 1, is emancipation day, a day when African Canadians along with others of the African diaspora throughout the Americas (including the Caribbean) and Europe, reflect and pay homage to the ancestors who resisted and survived their enslavement as an African people, so that we can be here… so that I can be here.
July 2019 / Toronto - This has been an interesting past few weeks with various polls being released gauging Canadians including immigrants (including refugees) beliefs, feelings and understanding of (im)migration, immigrants as people, ethno-racial make-up of immigration and the changing face of Canada`s ethno-cultural/racial make-up.
June 2019/Toronto - I sit down to write this blog (or as my colleagues call it- rant-) with a mixed sense of anticipation and trepidation. An emotional potpourri – in the hodgepodge/ragbag meaning, not deodorizer or freshener sense.
These past weeks have been interesting as I spent time in gorgeous Victoria, BC at the semi-annual Consultation of the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) with like-minded activists and good-hearted Canadians wanting to make a difference in the lives of refugees and (im)migrants.
Toronto - May 2019
Spring seems hesitant to come into its own this year. Or maybe it’s winter holding on stubbornly refusing to recognize that its time has passed - at least for now - but will always come around again. A promise. Similar to the promise that day will always follow night.
When justice is denied
April 2019 / Toronto - The space was standing room only as the Toronto Planning Group including OCASI in partnership with the City of Toronto’s Newcomer Office, launched Refugee Rights month. This year marks the thirty-fourth anniversary of the Singh decision. Since my two decades at the Council we have marked this important Supreme Court of Canada decision each year.
Toronto / March 2019
"I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own”
“The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house”
- Audre Lorde
Two quotes from the late prolific writer, lesbian-feminist, social justice warrior, Librarian Audre Lorde. Apt quotes I would say for the political moment in which we find ourselves especially this month as we mark International Women’s Day, a nod to working women although that herstory is often overlooked.