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the City is a Sweatshop 2009

Posted in
Feb/19/2009 - 11:00 am
Feb/22/2009 - 5:00 pm

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Co-Sponsored by CAW-Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy
Supported by Migrante Ontario and Justicia for Migrant Workers

Leila Shah, Audre Lorde Project-New York;
Beatriz Hererra, People Organized to Win Employment Rights-San Francisco;
Doreen Silversmith-Six Nations;
Harsha Walia- Vancouver based organizer and writer;
Erline Brown,Domestic Workers United-New York;
Shyam Selvadurai, Author of Funny Boy;
Dan Doreen, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory;
Alaina Tom, Native Youth Movement-St'at'imc Nation

... and many more. Check back regularly for updates.

Millions of people are forced off their lands and out of their homes because of wars for land and profit. Canadian mining companies, trade agreements such as NAFTA and SPP and the military occupation of Haiti, Afghanistan, and Iraq have taken away our livelihoods. We are forced into cities that are the pulsing heart of exploitation and domination fuelling an oppressive economic machine. Cities like Toronto.

Our city is the nerve centre of Canadian corporate and military power that derives its power from the work of the hundreds of thousands that they have displaced.

As the economy plunges, people without full immigration status are pushed further into unsafe and unfair work conditions. Falling wages, mass firings and workplaces raids have seen temporary workers pushed to the margins while border guards and greedy employers continue to ruthlessly attack community members. Temporary workers grow food, build homes and take care of children and elderly yet are considered disposable.

Workers, waged and unwaged, are kept without full immigration status so that we work in brutal conditions without access to basic services such as schooling, health and housing. Undocumented people are the unpaid, unrecognized, invisible fuels that make this city, Toronto, a sweatshop.

Unwilling to remain silent, migrants are raising their voices. In February 2009, migrant justice organizers, labour unions, students, social service providers and indigenous activists from across North America will be in Toronto working to build a force that will dismantle this city that is a sweatshop, re-building it as a community that is safe for all.

Thursday February 19, 2009

12:30 pm - Services|Sanctuary|Status: Access without Fear (registration required)
location: Lib 72, 350 Victoria Street, Toronto (map)

- Moni Alam, South Asian Women's Rights Organization
- Fariah Chowdhury, No One is Illegal - Toronto
- Jacqueline Esmonde, Lawyer
- Dr. Susan Michelle Hoffmann, Toronto's Access Alliance Multicultural Community Health Centre
- Navjeet Sidhu, Community Social Planning Council of Toronto
- Leonardo Zuñiga - Refugee Claimant

Forum for service providers and social work students focused on sharing strategies and best practises for increasing access to essential services for residents without full immigration status.

A Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) policy would ensure access to services for all non-status people without the fear of detention and deportation. A DADT policy prohibits questions about immigration status and ensures that this information is not shared with federal agencies. Workshops will address barriers to services for non-status people in Housing, Health, Education, Queer focused, Anti Violence against Women, Food, and Legal. The workshops will be used to develop ways we can establish a Sanctuary City where non-status people can live without fear. For more information about these workshops including facilitators, click here.

7pm - withOUT borders: queering OUR city
location: Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Avenue, Toronto (map)

co-organized with Mujeres Al-Frente

Speakers and Performers:
- Gareth Henry - Jamaican Queer Activist, 2008 Pride Grand Marshall
- Milo de Milo - Drag King
- Janet Romero - Spoken Word Artist
- Shyam Selvadurai – Author of Funny Boy
- Leila Shah - Audre Lorde Project, New York City
- Leonardo Zuñiga - Refugee Claimant
- Sammy Tomato - Drag King
- Alejandra Higuera

LGBTT2IQQ* migrants fight against poverty and racism while struggling against violence and discrimination based on sexuality. This event brings queer communities together in an evening of multi-media performances and speakers to challenge homophobia and to strengthen queer and migrant struggles.

Friday February 20, 2009

7pm - The City is a Sweatshop
location: 25 Cecil Street, Toronto (map)

- Moni Alam, South Asian Women's Rights Organization
- Veronica Bravo, Mujeres Al Frente
- John Clarke, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
- Eloisa, Live-In Caregiver Fighting for Status
- Beatriz Hererra, People Organized to Win Employment Rights, San Francisco
- Sonia Singh, Workers Action Centre
- No One Is Illegal MCs

- Victor, Drummer Performer
- Education Not Deportation documentary
- Ruben Esguerra, Hip Hop Performer
- Alejandra Higuera, Video Animation Artist
- Kris, Visual Artist
- Mata Danze
- Nomanzland
- Rose, LAL
- Solidarity Across Borders Photo Exhibit, Montreal
- SPIN, Spoken Word/Hip Hop Performer

Talks and performances by renowned activists from across North America speaking about the underbelly of the economy of cities like Toronto laying bare the sweatshop like conditions many migrants face. Toronto Mayor David Miller is invited.

Sweatshops pay little to no wages. Sweatshops thrive off dangerous work conditions. Sweatshops are patrolled by armed guards that physically and psychologically afflict the labourers. There is no job security in a Sweatshop. Workers can be disposed of for economic advantage at any time. For the nearly 200,000 people without full immigration status in Toronto, this city is a Sweatshop. A sweatshop enforced by racist policy, corrupt and brutal employers and violent immigration enforcement and police. Toronto is a sweatshop of employer dependent visas and cheating temporary agencies. It is a sweatshop that eats the food off temporary farm workers across the cities while its sick and young are kept by live in caregivers. It is a sweatshop that thrives off global apartheid; wars provide its fodder.

We, the sweat that fuels this city, are fighting for justice, for access to services, for better wages, for affordable housing, for an end to poverty, and for an end to the city sweatshop. The evening of speakers and performers will highlight the struggles taking place in our city and celebrates our resistance.

Saturday February 21, 2009

1pm - Stolen Labour on Stolen Land
location : Lib 72, 350 Victoria Street, Toronto (map)

- Erline Brown, Domestic Workers United, NYC
- Farrah Miranda, No One Is Illegal - Toronto
- Chris Ramsaroop, Justicia for Migrant Workers
- Alaina Tom, Native Youth Movement-St'at'imc Nation
- Harsha Walia, Vancouver based Organizer and Writer
- Dan Doreen, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory

A powerhouse panel by the leading actors and thinkers struggling against the ongoing occupation of this land and the ongoing displacement of people the world over - forging links between struggles of indigenous peoples and migrants.

Imperialism and colonialism have tried to devastate indigenous communities and racialized migrant communities. The pursuit of profits and resources through war, economic policies, and environmental destruction have stripped people of their livelihood and plunged them into wretched poverty. Aboriginal poverty in our city is the direct result of the theft and occupation of this land. The struggles against imperialism, colonialism, displacement, racism and poverty can grow stronger through the building of alliances and solidarity between affected communities. As people struggling against the theft of our homes and lands, we will not participate in the theft of homes and lands on Turtle Island. This panel addresses issues and actions in indigenous and migrant communities and strategizes on ways we can build alliances.

4:00 - Building a Sanctuary City
location : Lib 72, 350 Victoria Street, Toronto (map)

Town Hall of non-status people, migrants, and migrant justice organizers from across North America and their allies.

Come speak to the many performers and organizers you have seen
throughout the three days. Share your stories. Talk strategy.
Participate. Make Toronto a Sanctuary City!

Facilitated by No One Is Illegal-Toronto.

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