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.
Executive Director's Message
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.
Toronto / February 2019
"They Tried to Bury Us/They didn’t know we were seeds."
- Mexican saying
"What did you not do to bury me/But you forgot that I was a seed?"
- Greek poet, Dinos Christianopoulous
Albert Jackson had a new stamp made in his image and released in time for African/Black History month, 2019. Toronto’s, and Canada’s, first Black mail carrier, this recognition of the contributions of Black folks to early Toronto, Ontario and Canada’s history is long overdue.
January 2019 / Toronto - In preparing to write my first blog of the year, the word ‘Hope’ came to me with a feeling of urgency.
December 2018 / Toronto - As we wind down the year, it is time to take a step back and reflect on what has been accomplished, what positive change or impact we have had, and how we will appreciate our accomplishments through self-care and organizational care. We do not do enough of this as advocates and practitioners in the public benefit sector. This is as good a time as any to start.
It has been a very busy last few weeks as we prepared for and welcomed over two hundred sector leaders to our biennial Executive leadership conference; and marked forty years of OCASI’s policy advocacy, activism and sector development with a successful gala. It was a time of celebration, of congratulatory remarks, and acknowledgement of the resiliency of the sector and the impact it has had on the lives of tens of thousands of refugees, (im)migrants and Canadians. We laughed, we danced and we debated and we learned.