Black Lives Matter Globally
As a series of controversial shootings of African-American men by police has renewed attention to the Black Lives Matter movement in the U.S., people around the world have stood in solidarity with black Americans seeking to root out racial profiling, excessive use of force, and lack of accountability in U.S. law enforcement. For some, the demonstrations have been defined mostly by a kind of international allyism, but in many parts of the world, the American movement has prompted reflection on the treatment of local black communities—native, historical, and immigrant—by law enforcement, politicians, and broader society. Here is a look at the global demonstrations and solidarity movements in the name of Black Lives Matter: Continue reading Global Events: Black Lives Matter Protests
Rash of suicide attempts leads to emergency declaration in Ontario First Nations community
- Soon after the Attawapiskat First Nation’s council had declared a state of emergency following months of suicides and suicide attempts, 16 members of the northern Ontario First Nation attempted to take their lives.
- Since last fall, the community has seen more than 100 suicide attempts among its population of 2,000, with victims ranging in age from 11 to 71.
- Poor standards of living, limited healthcare access, and the legacies of brutal policies against First Nations have contributed to high indigenous suicide rates, with suicide/self-harm the leading cause of death among indigenous people under the age of 44.
“How the Attawapiskat suicide crisis unfolded” (The Toronto Star)
“First Nations community grappling with suicide crisis: ‘We’re crying out for help’” (The Guardian)
“5 more Attawapiskat youth attempt suicide in ‘spiralling situation’” (CBC News)
(Image Credit: Chris Wattie/Reuters, via The Toronto Star)
Ontario proposes changes to expand gender reassignment referral capacity
- Ontario’s health minister announced proposals that will allow local healthcare providers to provide referral services for transgender individuals seeking gender reassignment surgery.
- Currently, those seeking the surgery must be referred through the Gender Identity Clinic program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental health (CAMH) in Toronto, facing up to a two-year wait if referred.
- Ontario still lacks in-province gender reassignment surgery capabilities, but the health minister indicated that the absence is currently under review.
“Ontario expands referrals for gender reassignment surgery” (CBC News)
“Ontario to expand medical referrals for sex-reassignment surgery” (The Globe and Mail)
“Improving Access to Sex Reassignment Surgery” (Government of Ontario)
Finding Refuge across an Ocean
For Toronto native Samia Tecle, the more than 5,000 miles separating her from the heart of the global migration crisis may as well be 5. Matthew House, the refugee reception services organization Tecle works for, provides accommodations and administrative services for newly arrived refugees, who, having no place to live, are counted among Toronto’s homeless population. Tecle tells the Globe and Mail of the Matthew House’s work and of the importance of Canadian solidarity with new arrivals.
“This is a global crisis. This is as much Canada’s issue as it is Italy’s or Greece’s or Turkey’s.”
View the Globe and Mail video on YouTube.
Toronto-based Rainbow Railroad facilitates rescue of persecuted individuals from LGBT-unfriendly countries
- Founded in 2006, the charity focuses on identifying endangered individuals and raising the money necessary to cover the logistics of moving them to safer countries.
- Despite managing 30-50 cases at any given time, the organization was volunteer-based until 2013, when a grant from TD Bank allowed for the signing on of one full-time employee.
- With the grant expiring at the end of the year, Rainbow Railroad is raising funds to ensure that it will be able to maintain its current level of work.
Read the full story at the Toronto Star.
(Image Credit: Rainbow Railroad, via the Toronto Star)
Toronto government works to boost proportion of minority-led and diverse businesses receiving government contracts
- The city council has begun rolling out a social procurement framework for business development, which could lead to a policy in which one of three short-listed bids for city contracts would be from diverse or minority-led businesses (including those identified as immigrant, racial/ethnic minorities, women, and/or gay or lesbian).
- In 2012, 7% of bidders were minority-led or -controlled and received C$339 million in contracts, while in 2013, 5% were and received C$434 million.
- The city and business leaders acknowledge that the highest hurdles facing minority business owners are lack of awareness about minority-friendly programs, aversion to working with the government because of perceived rigidity, and self-selection out of the contracting process from fear of lacking necessary connections.
Read the full story at Inside Toronto.
Report indicates dramatic spike in anti-Semitic incidents in Canada in 2014
- The 1,627 reported incidents for the year represent a 28% increase over 2013, with harassment comprising 84% of reports, vandalism 15%, and violence 1% of reported activity.
- Ontario had the most reports of anti-Semitism (960) followed by Quebec and Atlantic Canada (259).
- Major spikes coincided with Israel’s campaign in Gaza and the December holiday season, both of which are consistent with previous spikes.
“In 2014, ‘a clear pattern emerged. It has become too easy to deny anti-Semitism, as long as it is reframed under the legitimizing veil of anti-Zionism. … The landscape for spreading anti-Semitic messages has grown exponentially, so it is only reasonable to expect the actual number of incidents to have increased along with it.’”
More on this story at The Times of Israel.
(Image Credit: Gershon Elinson/Flash90, via The Times of Israel)