Jan 11

Daniel Garcia

The new year begins with a hole in the Parkdale community and in our hearts.

“With over 1600 petitions signed, Christmas Day meetings of 50 people, New Year’s Eve rallies of 150 people, some believed that perhaps the Tories would listen to the ‘public’ that they always invoke. With politicians, church groups, teachers unions, the Toronto District School Board, and especially Daniel’s teachers and fellow students all condemning the deportation and calling for his release and with headlines in every newspaper and TV station across the country telling his ‘special’ story, some thought that perhaps Jason Kenney would intervene and grant Daniel Garcia a temporary resident permit. He didn’t.”

“Today, as we look back at what has transpired over this past week with sadness and anger, as we hold together those dear and still with us, we commit again to pushing immigration enforcement out of Toronto, to making our neighborhoods and our communities safe. We will not gain justice only through the courts, politicians, and the mainstream media. Justice will come when enough of us, together, commit to tearing down the ideological walls that separate us into citizens and refugees, to ripping open the immigration jails, and to destroying every force that pushes people out of their homes.”

“We continue. No One Is Illegal.”

Jul 10

Education Not Deportation DVD

Education Not Deportation is a short documentary produced by folks at No One Is Illegal – Toronto about the struggle for access to education for non-status students in Ontario. This fight was taken up by Kimberly and Gerald Lizano-Sossa after they were pulled out of their schools by immigration enforcement officers in 2006. Kimberly and Gerald were part of community mobilizations that successfully pushed the Toronto District School Board to adopt a policy barring immigration enforcement officers from schools and prohibiting the collection or sharing of information of immigration status with immigration enforcement.

You can view the film online on Vimeo and YouTube. We also produced an accompanying booklet that you can check out here.

Our grassroots approach to distributing hard copies included burning our own DVDs, making sleeves out of old 11 x 17 posters advertising our annual May Day of Action, and printing labels for free with the help of a friend working in retail. YouTube was a great resource on how to make DVD sleeves with letter-sized paper (we cut our 11 x 17 posters in half). I generally didn’t bother with the extra fold and tuck you see @ 0:38.

Now we finally have produced an “institutional” version of the DVD with lightscribed DVDs and a cover designed to fit regular DVD cases. Online template files were helpful for the DVD design and cover.

The struggle for access to education continues. Today I spoke at the launch of a report by the Social Planning Council of Toronto. Of 201 schools that were surveyed in the Toronto Catholic District School Board (a previous report focused on the Toronto District School Board), only 31 stated that they would admit non-status students, which means that the overwhelming majority of schools ignored or were ignorant of Section 49.1 of the Ontario Education Act. Students have the right to access education regardless of their immigration status.

Our work is ongoing to ensure that school boards change their practices to welcome all students, that the province actually enforces the Act, and that we fight for holistic solutions to ensure access to education from elementary to post-secondary regardless of immigration status or financial resources. The Education Not Deportation campaign meets regularly and can be contacted at END@riseup.net. Feel free to get in touch with us if you would like to order a hard copy of the DVD.