June 2011: Our Streets Are Still On Fire!
Joint statement by Disability Action Movement Now, Jane Finch Action Against Poverty, LIFEmovement, No One Is Illegal – Toronto, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, South Asian Women’s Rights Organization, Students Against Israeli Apartheid and Women’s Coordinating Committee for a Free Wallmapu.
TORONTO, June 24, 2011 – During the G20 meetings in June 2010 the world was shocked by the police brutality, corporate exploitation and state repression witnessed in downtown Toronto. Yet for racialized peoples, indigenous peoples, poor people, migrant workers, and many others who live, work and organize in Toronto, this is an everyday reality. Our communities have been, and continue to be, in a state of emergency because governments insist on securing corporate profits at our expense – public services for people are cut, while corporations and cops get more money. Our streets are bleeding and the government of Canada and its allied institutions are responsible.
We supported the week of protests against the G20 in June 2010 because we refused to be silenced. We refused to be pushed to the margins as the so-called leaders of the world made decisions on our behalf. We insisted that the world would hear our stories through our voices. And just as in the years before the G20 came to Toronto, we remain committed to fight back, to mobilize, and to organize.
Today, we demand freedom for all those still facing charges from June 2010 and we commit to fighting the age of austerity that the G20 leaders have imposed on us. We know that the cuts, and the attacks on our communities will increase over the next few years. We plan to meet these challenges head on because we know that through organized collective resistance the power of the people will prevail.
Disability Action Movement Now: This year DAMN continues campaigns on abolishing prisons & other forced institutionalization, ending poverty including actions demanding increased ODSP and OW and reinstatement of the Special Diet, demanding total financial and physical TTC access, opposing the violence of racist and ableist immigration systems, and fighting institutional abuse. DAMN’s new projects include: campaigning to stop police sharing mental health records with employers, internal policy building for safety and maximizing access to our organizing spaces, and coalition work resisting Rob Ford and City Council’s attacks on marginalized communities.
Jane Finch Action Against Poverty: Since last June, JFAAP has intensified its participation in a number of city-wide demonstrations for progressive issues. We have campaigned for the retention of the Special Diet payment, against citywide cutbacks, for raising the rate of OW and ODSP, for justice, for immigrants and to stop police violence. We have fought against and stopped school closures in our community. We have had ongoing meetings and events in Jane Finch to bring together concerned community residents and advocates in order to push back against systemic barriers facing residents. We have organized since long before the G20 came to town, and we will continue to organize for justice for our people. (http://jfaap.wordpress.com/)
LIFEmovement: In 2009, community took over City Hall Council Chambers. KRSOne shared his experience around Stop the Violence Campaign to youth workers from across the city. L.I.F.E ‘s mission is to politically engage community using Hip Hop. Our methodology of organizing is Learning Initiatives Fostering Elevation. We felt it necessary to expand our focus to all the elements of LIFE (shelter, education,etc) and joined the community mobilization last year during the G20. This year we have been focusing building community media, and initiatives against police brutality. (http://www.myspace.com/thelifemovementtdot)
No One Is Illegal – Toronto: Since June 2010 when we declared no fences, no borders, we have fought against unjust refugee laws, stalled Bill C-49, demanded justice for migrant workers killed doing dangerous work and supported Indigenous communities in across Turtle Island. We forced border guards to ask for permission before entering anti-violence against women spaces. We lost many to deportations including Daniel Garcia, but won status for Alvaro Orozco. In the year ahead, we will continue to fight for justice for undocumented people and migrants, against the forces of displacement, against the Harper-Ford austerity agenda, against regressive immigration policies and for Status for All. (http://toronto.nooneisillegal.org)
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty: When we challenged the G20, we knew that their agenda would hit our communities. A year later, we are joining with allies to oppose McGuinty’s brutal cut to the Special Diet for people on assistance. In Toronto, unions are being attacked, services gutted and public housing sold off, and we are part of a community resistance to these cuts. The G20 Summit was held a short distance away from where the reality of poverty in this city is inescapable, and OCAP continues to organize in the downtown East, as we have for the past 20 years. (www.ocap.ca)
South Asian Women’s Rights Organization: SAWRO and the immigrant women of Teesdale/Crescent Town joined thousands of other people demonstrating against the G8/G20 leaders meeting in Toronto. We demonstrated because their neo-liberal policies displace us from our homelands and marginalize us in Canada. The brutal suppression of theG8/G20 demonstrations and the other measures to make us shut our mouths have not worked. SAWRO continues to organize immigrant women to speak out against our marginalization. Underfunding of social services is a foundation of this marginalization. We are working to resist cuts to services and to demand increased social spending. (http://sawro.wordpress.com/)
Students Against Israeli Apartheid: Students Against Israeli Apartheid is proud to have participated in the mobilizations against the G20 in June 2010. This year, as Israeli Apartheid Week took place on over 90 campuses across the world, SAIA’s at the University of Toronto and York University launched campaigns demanding that these universities divest from companies involved in Israel’s practices and policies of apartheid. SAIA considers itself part of broader movements to end global apartheid and its processes of war, exploitation, displacement, and dispossession – we are in solidarity with all movements striving to bring power back to communities. (http://www.saia.ca/)
Women’s Coordinating Committee for a Free Wallmapu: As the WCCC [Toronto], we participated in the organization of June 25th and other events during that week as an indigenous group dedicated to denounce the ongoing plunder, displacement and systematic murder of our people by the police state and its neo-liberal policies. Particularly, the Freedom of Mapuche Political Prisoners in so-called Chile, by promoting the boycott of Chilean fruit and wine, uniting the struggles of indigenous sovereignty across the continent. Despite one of our members being targeted with three G20 related Conspiracy charges over the past year we succeeded in her acquittal and will continue to denounce the ongoing genocide of our people. (https://wccctoronto.wordpress.com/)