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.
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.