LATEST ANNOUNCEMENTS

OPIRG York condemns genocide in Gaza and calls for ceasefire immediately 
October 19, 2023

Read the full statement below.
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OPIRG YORK STATEMENT: RESISTING REPRESSION - PALESTINE SOLIDARITY ON CAMPUS

Resisting Repression: Palestine Solidarity on Campus
May 24, 2024 | Download in PDF format

OPIRG York condemns the latest attacks by many university administrations on student organizers who are supporting Palestinian liberation and taking a stand against Israel’s relentless genocide in Gaza. As a student organization rooted in confronting injustice, we denounce all forms of settler-colonial violence that run deep in the states of both Israel and Canada.

Recognizing 76 years of ongoing ethnic cleansing and occupation, OPIRG York stands in solidarity with Palestinian civil society which calls for an abolishment of the apartheid state, which is a result of long standing settler colonization and occupation of Palestine. This global movement of student encampments calling for disclosure of and divestment from Palestinian genocide has been met with administrations calling for police violence towards students, community members and educators.

OPIRG York stands firmly in solidarity with the student encampments occupying space on stolen land across Turtle Island and around the world. We are in full support of the students who are calling on their universities not only for a disclosure of investments in weapons manufacturing but also divestment from Israeli apartheid.

We call on York University to be on the right side of history and adhere to the demands of students globally in their calls to disclose, divest, boycott. This means disclosure in order to be financially transparent regarding all investments, withdrawing all investments from the State of Israel and all companies that sustain Israeli apartheid, and a boycott of all partnerships with complicit institutions. The York University community has long pushed for disclosure and divestment regarding weapons manufacturing, as shown by ongoing work from YU Divest, a student-run activist group, among others.

Scholasticide describes the systematic assault on Palestinian education, educators and students who have been targeted by Israel’s genocide, which includes the obliteration of every university in Gaza. As a public educational institution, York University must refuse to normalize oppression, and therefore condemn Israel’s attacks on education. York University has a long history of student repression surrounding Palestinian solidarity work, so there is no better time for York University to act than now.

In our public statement published on October 19, 2023, we not only affirmed our support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, but we also called on York University to end any partnerships with the Israeli state and state-funded academic/research institutions immediately. This global movement of student encampments affirms this call to action.

OPIRG York is eager to support any students who are involved in Palestine solidarity, anti-colonialism, anti-imperialism work. We would love to meet with you for any support that is needed. We strongly encourage any interested students to contact opirgyork@gmail.com for various types of support including funding, training, and for other network resources.

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING (AGM) & BOARD OF DIRECTORS ELECTION

Important Deadlines:
Register for AGM by Monday, May 27th at 5pm
Nomination Period for Board of Directors: Thursday, May 9th, 9 am – Thursday, May 23rd, 5pm
Nomination Package Submission: Thursday, May 23rd at 5 pm 

Get ready for OPIRG York’s Annual General Meeting! Join us on Thursday, May 30th from 7 – 9 pm EST. The AGM will be held virtually. All members* are welcome to attend. At the AGM we will share the highlights of the past year, and run an election for our Board of Directors. If you believe your values align with those of OPIRG York, we invite you to run for a position on the board. 

Nominations are open to any OPIRG York member, as long as the nomination is supported by at least 15 member signatures. All York University students* who have paid their student fees and have not opted out of OPIRG York, as well as any community member who has paid for membership are members of OPIRG York and are eligible for nomination. We especially encourage women, Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour, trans­ people, queer people, disabled individuals, working class and union members, and diverse religious and cultural communities to run, in order to have a Board that is representative of the diversity of the York University community.

*note: this excludes Osgoode Hall students, and students at Glendon Campus.

What is the Board of Directors?

The Board of Directors are elected by the membership, or they are appointed by a current Board. The Board focuses on the long-term well being of the organization. This includes making decisions regarding activist training for volunteers, finances and yearly budget, overall planning and programming, the hiring of staff, and the allocation of funds and resources to support action groups, campaigns, and events. Collectively, the Board operates as the employer of the CUPE 1281 staff, which includes our Volunteer Coordinator, Programming Coordinator and Coordinator of Administration and Information. .

Why join the Board of Directors?

As a board member you will receive training in:

  • the financial management and governance of a non-profit organization;
  • consensus-based decision-making;
  • how to facilitate and participate in meetings; 
  • how to be an employer in a unionized workplace; and 
  • much more!

The skills that you will learn as a Board member will be a major asset to you in other organizations.

What does it take to be on the Board?

  • Be an OPIRG member (you can become a member for $3 donation to OPIRG York);
  • make a commitment of working with staff and board for 4 – 6 hours per week, including participating in biweekly meetings of two hours;
  • Uphold the OPIRG York mandate, policies, and procedures;
  • Be committed to learning about and confronting the many forms o;f oppression;
  • Be passionate about social and environmental justice;
  • Be willing to work cooperatively with staff, other Board members, and volunteers;
  • Have an interest in understanding how non-profits work, including staff/employer relations, policies and finances; and
  • Have a desire to develop new skills.

How to apply

  • Download and complete the nomination form. Please include a statement of introduction/interest and your preferred pronouns. Submit it via email to the Chief Returning Officer at opirgyorkcro2024@gmail.com.
  • The deadline for submissions is Thursday, May 23rd at 5 pm.

The voting period will be conducted at the AGM. 

Please email opirgyorkcro2024@gmail.com for more information.

 

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

We Keep Us Safe! COVID, Cops and Community Zine

OPIRG Toronto and OPIRG York are excited to launch a call for submissions for its Community Safety Zine. This Zine will explore how we can keep our communities safe in the midst of COVID and other health and safety risks from a disability justice and abolitionist perspective. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday May 22, 2024, and we will offer an honorarium of up to $250 to each successful applicant.

Why a Community Safety Zine? 

It has been over four years since the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite considerable evidence of public health and safety measures to save lives, our governments and institutions have “returned to normal”, halted clear communications about the ongoing spread and impacts of COVID-19 and its long term impacts – particularly for those who are marginalized – and reversed life-saving public health measures. 

As a result, the burden of advocating for safety measures has largely fallen on these very marginalized communities, particularly disability justice advocacy groups. Their recommendations for safety measures such as masking, vaccinating, and now even self-isolating, are increasingly being ignored.

Vision for the Zine

In this zine, we hope to re-centre the voices of those most impacted by COVID. We want to interrogate our society’s abandonment of community care, and to look at how people have mobilized to care for each other in the face of government negligence. Some guiding questions for this Zine include (but are not limited to):

What does it mean when you choose not to wear a mask at a large gathering? What happens when you stop isolating despite professional advice from health experts? What has the government’s reversal of COVID safety precautions meant for our unhoused and precariously housed kin? What are the motivations and larger systems at play behind the government’s reversal of COVID safety precautions? What are the many factors that can lead to vaccine hesitancy? And, most importantly, how can we approach these situations in a way that rejects carceral approaches and policing, and instead draws from conflict transformation and compassion?

Your contribution will be one of many in this anthology.

More details on call for submissions here.

OPIRG YORK STATEMENT: GAZA UNDER ATTACK

OPIRG York condemns genocide in Gaza and calls for ceasefire immediately
October 19, 2023 | Download in PDF format

The Ontario Public Interest Research Group at York University (OPIRG York) strongly condemns Israel’s latest attacks on Gaza. Since the start of the war on October 7, at least 4,200 people have been killed, over one million have been displaced, and large parts of the Gaza Strip have been reduced to rubble. On Tuesday evening (EST), we saw the bombing of a fully functioning and staffed Al Ahli hospital that alone has killed at least 500 people, including patients and healthcare workers providing essential and urgent care. These attacks on the people, institutions, and infrastructure of Gaza, exacerbated by Israel’s siege of the territory, constitute an egregious form of collective punishment that academics and activists now warn are genocidal in scope. We join humanitarian and human rights organizations around the world in calling for an immediate ceasefire, an end to Israel’s current blockade of Gaza and the 16-year siege, and a prisoners’ exchange. We view these as necessary first steps, designed to prevent the loss of more lives and to lay the groundwork for comprehensive negotiations aimed at ending Israel’s apartheid regime and illegal occupation and recognizing Palestinians’ right to self-determination.  

As a student-led and funded organization focused on social and environmental justice, we unequivocally condemn all acts of terrorism and state-sanctioned violence that target any civilians. We mourn the loss of Israeli civilian lives claimed in Hamas’ initial assault, and those killed, wounded, and bereaved in Gaza. However, mourning is not sufficient. We call on all people of good conscience to see in these events but one more reason that the decades-long policies of dispossession, occupation, and apartheid that are at the root of the violence and atrocity, be forcefully challenged, and ultimately dismantled. 

Today, we reaffirm our unwavering support for the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which OPIRG York had previously endorsed. We call on York University to publicly denounce Israel’s assault on Gaza and call for an immediate ceasefire, which it has yet to do. We remind York that to appear silent on what is unfolding in Gaza contradicts its own commitment to Decolonizing, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2023-2028; as a publicly-funded institution for higher education, it must reject all forms of racism, including anti-Palestinian racism. As students, we call for York to release funds and resources to ensure the mental health and physical safety for all students – particularly Palestinians – and to end any partnerships with the Israeli state and state-funded academic/ research institutions immediately. We commit ourselves to supporting students and the broader community by assisting with research and resources, providing access to peer-reviewed reading materials, visuals, and graphics. Our staff and board are committed to receiving with urgency requests to fund student-led Palestine solidarity initiatives such as teach-ins and other activities. We encourage our broader community to support efforts and communities on the ground by donating to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East – UNWRA – and / or Medical Aid for Palestine

 

RESOURCES: IN SOLIDARITY WITH PALESTINE

Interested in learning more about what is happening in Gaza? We’ve compiled a list of multidisciplinary resources (not exhaustive by any means) that provide both historial context and more contemporary analysis of the current situation. We hope that through lists such as these, we can learn together and feel empowered to take collective action. We will be updating this list frequently.

If you are a community member or group, or a York U almunus, and do not have access to York University library systems, we would be happy to provide you with any of the listed resources or additional ones that are not open source. Please email program.opirgyork@gmail.com if you have a specific resource in mind. 

JOIN OUR GROUPS, ACTIONS & CAMPAIGNS

Join an Action Group! EUC Black Caucus/ Kalashakti: THe Power of Art/ Nat Taylor Film Screenings (Cinema Politica)

All of our existing Action Groups are open to receiving new members!

Each group works autonomously on anti-oppressive, anti-colonial, anti-imperialist, and environmental justice campaigns and issues. Whether your vision for a just future centers around socialism, anarchism, anti-colonialism and anti-racism, just climate transitions – OPIRG wants to resource and nurture your work toward justice!

Learn more about our present Action Groups and consider applying here.

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