FIGHTING FOR A HAND TO HOLD: CONFRONTING MEDICAL COLONIALISM AGAINST INDIGENOUS CHILDREN IN CANADA Ft. Dr. Samir Shaheen-Hussain | Monday, February 12, 1-2:30 PM | Harry Crowe Room
109 Atkinson Building
Samir Shaheen-Hussain will present his recent book Fighting for A Hand to Hold (foreword by Cindy Blackstock; afterword by Katsi’tsakwas Ellen Gabriel), which exposes the Canadian medical establishment’s role in the displacement, colonization, and genocide of Indigenous Peoples. Samir has been involved in anti-authoritarian social justice movements – including Indigenous solidarity – for over two decades, and organizes with the Caring for Social Justice Collective. He is an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics and an associate member of the School of Population and Global Health, both in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at McGill University, and works as a pediatric emergency physician in Tio’tia:ke. (Montreal).
This event is organized by the Department of Equity Studies and co-sponsored by Ontario Public Interest Group (OPIRG) at York University.
ENGAGING OUR COMMUNITIES: ADVOCACY IN ACTION Ft. Tatiana Ferguson | Tuesday, February 13, 2-4 PM | Room 307, First Student Centre
Trans BiSexual Lesbian Gay Asexual (TBLGAY) and Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) at York University have partnered together to bring you this featured presentation on Queer Activism. This 2-hour interactive workshop will feature an indepth look into the work of one of Canada’s most progressive thought leaders, Tatiana Ferguson. Tatiana brings a wealth of expertise in community development, research, and public policy. She has worked on both community and research projects geared toward LGBTQ+ individuals in Canada. Most notably, Tatiana spearheaded the Toronto for All campaign to raise awareness about issues faced by Trans Youth of Color. She is also credited for her contributions to public policies on Race, Gender Identity, and Immigration. In recognition of her contributions to the LGBTQ+ community, Tatiana was honored with the Mark S Bonham Award for Queer Activism during the historic 50th commemoration of LGBTQ liberation.
Tatiana Ferguson is co-founder of the Black Queer Youth Collective and a leader in Equity and Inclusion. Her work has informed multiple public policies on Sex and Gender Inclusion, Racial Justice, and Immigration. She has also made several television appearances as part of a national public education campaign. Since immigrating to Canada from the Bahamas, Tatiana has been honored for her contributions to Queer and Trans Activism and she is actively involved in several projects and initiatives promoting the health and wellbeing of 2SLGBTQ+ individuals.
KEYS TO LIBERATION – OPIRG YORK ART INSTALLATION PROJECT | Mondays, 12 pm – 6 pm | OPIRG York Office
Are you interested in political art? Be a part of the OPIRG York art installation project: Keys to Liberation! Tell us about your liberatory practices—be they personal, relational, and/or systemic. Once we have a few dozen keys, we’ll create an art installation for our newly renovated office using gold mesh fabric, LED lights, and keys!
You are invited to write on a paper key one way that you are working toward liberation. Consider that this work happens on at least 3 levels:
Personally: getting to know yourself; healing your traumas; learning and growing to be a better person; mindfulness practices and so much more.
Relationally: how are you in relationship in ways that supports others to be their fullest selves? How do you embody anti-oppression in your interpersonal relationships (with friends, family, coworkers, comrades, etc.)? How are you working to address oppression in the organizations you are a part of (i.e. school, workplace, clubs, sports teams, etc.)?
Systemically: how are you working through collective strategies to dismantle systems of oppression? Are you part of any activism trying to transform systems or institutions (i.e. media, education and health systems, legal systems, government policies, arts and culture organizations, etc)?
What is meant by liberation?
Liberation in this project is not just about individualistic freedom, and it is much more than simple inclusion, tolerance or representation. We want to imagine a world where everyone has access to food and shelter, where everyone can live without fear of violence or climate collapse; a world where everyone has the right to rest and play and create free from exploitation. We see liberation as a collective process where everyone participates to transform our oppressive world into a world that values people and planet before profits, and where everyone can live joyously.
From Iowa city project enfleshed: spiritual nourishment for collective liberation:
“To bring [collective liberation] about … asks different things of different people and creatures. There is no universal path. Depending on relationships to various systems and legacies of power as well as unique stories and contexts of our lives, different actions and beliefs must be practiced as freedom. … Its birth depends on individual paying attention – to what must be done differently in each life. Its pathways are not individualistic but they are individualized. Particular. Specific. Based on relationships to what must be let go of, reached for, given up, handed over, taken up, fought for, fought against, celebrated, mourned, and more.”
—read more on the enfleshed website here
WHOSE CAMP(US)? REIMAGINING COMMUNITY SAFETY TOGETHER | WEDNESDAY, 4 pm – 5:30 pm | ZOOM WEBINAR | REGISTER
Skip the Dishes Vouchers: The first 25 people to log into the event will receive a $20 Skip the Dishes voucher.
Join us to hear from long-time activists for an engaging discussion followed by a community conversation as we delve into the critical issues surrounding community safety on the York University campuses and beyond. In this panel, participants will learn about the history of surveillance and policing on our campuses and the broader community, effective community alternatives that have been put in place in different contexts, and come together to imagine what community safety means when it is for us, by us.
This collaborative event marks the beginning of an ongoing conversation and action plan to build alternative community safety models. Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of a transformative dialogue that goes beyond addressing the symptoms to envisioning lasting solutions for community safety. Your presence and input are crucial as we embark on this journey together.
This event is organized by the Ontario Public Interest Research Group at York U, Reimagining Community Safety (an Action Group of OPIRG York), The York Federation of Students and The York University Graduate Students’ Association.
THEMES AND SPEAKERS
- Lived Experiences and Context:
Butterfly GoPaul (Organizer, Jane and Finch Action Against Poverty) is a resident member of JFAAP and Jane and Finch Housing Coalition. She has been a frontline worker for more than 20 years primarily in the Jane and Finch community and recently joined Parkdale Community Legal Services. She is a mother and grandmother who believes that her family and community are safer without the police and that the money/ resources going into policing should be reallocated immediately. For this event, Butterfly will offer insightful and lived experience of broader community members, students, faculty, and researchers, shedding light on the challenges faced by those who are unhoused and their interactions with policing, as well as successes and challenges of alternative community safety models that they have worked with.
- Campus and Community Overview:
Ashley D’Souza (President, York Federation of Students) and Lynn LaCroix (frontline worker and MA student in Gender, Feminist, and Women’s Studies) will provide a comprehensive context of the current situation on our campus and the broader community concerning unhoused individuals.
- Community Alternatives:
Andrea Vásquez Jiménez (she/her/ella) M.Ed is the Director of Policing-Free Schools and convenes the National Campaign for a Policing-Free Schools Canada. She will be speaking to the multiple ways policing-in-schools shows up as and what actually works in creating healthy educational and community spaces, which in and of themselves are safe.
- Local Action and Organizing:
John Clarke (Anti-poverty organizer) was one of the founding members of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and has recently served as the Packer Packer Visitor in Social Justice in York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. John will explore how we might mobilize to get the York Administration and student body to become involved in imagining alternative approaches to community safety, particularly for people with lived experiences of being unhoused/ street-involved/ homeless.
BLOC BY BLOC: AN INSURRECTION GAME | Wednesday, November 8th, 6:30 – 9 PM |First Student Centre, Room 430
Are you tired of playing board games that promote colonialism, imperialism and capitalist empire-building? Join us as we play “Bloc by Bloc”, a revolutionary board game from “Out of Order Games” destined to shake up the gaming world! Bring your friends and comrades for a night of fun game-playing and conversation on the fight against the political and economic tyranny of our times!
ABOUT THE GAME
Bloc by Bloc is a semi-cooperative strategy board game inspired by 21st century urban insurrection. The game features hidden agendas, deep strategy, area control, asymmetrical player abilities, and a special method for randomly generating billions of unique city layouts. Each player controls a faction of revolutionaries—Workers, Students, Neighbors, or Prisoners—fighting against the authorities to liberate a city that changes with each game. To win, you must cooperate with other factions to defeat the State while carefully balancing your own secret agenda. Build barricades, clash with riot cops, occupy buildings, loot shopping centers, and liberate the city before time runs out and the military arrives!
DISORIENTATION WEEK 2023
DisOrientation 2023 is dedicated to reviving activism and empowering students here at York University. It celebrates the environmental and social justice gains made by student and community organizers, works to share activist knowledge and resources, and build capacity for organizers new to our campus. All events are free of charge. Check out our DisOrientation page for up to date details.
The Seeds of Vandana Shiva
Canadian premiere of the film documenting the remarkable life story of the eco-activist and agro-ecologist – and the most powerful opponent of one of the world’s wealthiest multinational agribusinesses, Monsanto.
Airing Dirty Laundry: A Radical Walking Tour of York University
York’s Keele campus is not just a place of higher education; it is equally a site of many social, political and economic contestations. In this walking tour, we will learn about some of the most significant contestations that have shaped our campus and student life.
March for the Land – Solidarity with Grassy Narrows First Nations
Join York University Students’ contingent to the upcoming Ontario rally to show your solidarity with Grassy Narrows First Nations who is trying to regain control of their land.
re-Makings at Maloca: Activisms Through Art
Join Phyllis Novak, a social practice artist and Director of York University’s Maloca Gardens as they lead an interactive arts workshop and stay for our community BBQ afterwards!
Intergenerational Activist Gathering: Rooting our Activism in the Big Picture and Organizing Across Generations
Join OPIRG York and OPIRG Toronto as we co-host a series of interactive workshops, panels and shared meals to gain insights and skills for collective action!
SPECIAL GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING & ELECTION: February 15, 2023, 6:30 – 7:30 pm
The OPIRG York Special General Membership Meeting (SGMM) is taking place on Wednesday, February 15 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. The meeting will take place remotely and a Zoom link will be sent out to those registered. We encourage York University students and OPIRG York members in good standing to join us to learn more about the candidates running in this by-election, ask questions, and get involved in the organizing work of OPIRG York.
**NOTE: the last day to register for our Special General Member’s Meeting is Thursday 9th, so that our CRO has time to verify voters.**
BUILDING THE CITY WE WANT: HOUSING JUSTICE IN A GENTRIFIED TORONTO | November 28, 2022, 6:30 – 8 pm
Toronto has never been wealthier, yet at the same time, it has never been more unaffordable than it is now. This is most evident in the rising cost of housing.
In this event, we bring together researchers and activists from three leading housing justice organizations in Toronto (more details on speakers and organizations to be posted shortly) to discuss the current state of homelessness, particularly amongst youth in Canada; how we might push the City of Toronto to advance the right to housing; and how experienced and newer activists can learn from one another to build an effective housing justice campaign.
Ahmad Bonakdar holds a Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Public Policy and is currently the Managing Director of Research, Making the Shift (MtS) Youth Homelessness Demonstration Lab at the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (COH), York University. Prior to this role, Ahmad was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the COH working on Housing First for Youth demonstration project in Toronto and Ottawa. His research interests focus broadly on social equity, environmental justice, and community-based studies, in particular at the intersection of homelessness and housing. His recent research studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals including International Journal of Cultural Policy, Cities, Public Works Management & Policy, and Journal of Planning Literature.
More information on The Homeless Hub here: https://www.homelesshub.ca/.
Ambalika Roy works as a Senior Community Engagement Advisor at the Canadian Centre for Housing Rights (CCHR) and I coordinate the Right to Housing Toronto Network, a coalition of housing rights organizations and housing activists monitoring the 10 year rights based housing plan in Toronto. Prior to joining CCHR Ambalike worked for over a decade in the national legal aid clinics providing legal support to various marginalized communities in India and have facilitated public legal education on issues of access to justice and inclusion.
More information on Right to Housing here: https://right2housingto.ca/.
Samantha works as a tenant organizer for the Oakwood Vaughan Community Organization and is also a hotline counsellor with the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Association’s (FMTA) Tenant Hotline. She has experience organizing with the Vancouver Tenants’ Union and is currently working on building a tenant union for Oakwood Vaughan through the Oakwood Vaughan Tenant Network.
More information on FMTA’s Tenants’ Hotline: https://www.torontotenants.org/hotline.
Lauren is a third-year student at York University, in the Mathematics for Education program. They have been involved for years in various social justice groups, especially around food and housing justice, and are now a volunteer with OPIRG York.
For more information, visit www.opirgyork.org.
Zoom link will be sent out to all those who have registered 24 hours before the event start time.
Skip the Dishes gift card will be sent to the first 30 participants to log into the event!
HOUSING JUSTICE NOW: LAUNCH OF OPIRG YORK’S ACTION GROUP AND CAMPAIGN | November 29, 2022, 12 – 2pm
Join OPIRG York’s Action Group – we’ll be crowd-sourcing names – and help us build a strong and united campaign for housing justice alongside our community partners and allied campus groups. At this first meeting, we will form our new collective and set our campaign goals and strategy for the upcoming year.
CAPITALISM SPEAKS | November 14 and 21, 2022, 1:30 – 3:30 pm
Come to Vari Hall on Monday 14 and 21st, 1:30- 3:30pm to talk with us about our new anti-poverty action group! We’ll have paints, canvas, and reflection questions.
AIRING DIRTY LAUNDRY: RADICAL WALKING TOUR OF YORK UNIVERSITY | November 8, 2022, 2:30 – 4:30 pm
York is not only a place to learn. It is also the site where the university and York’s brand of education has been, and continues to be, contested. Knowing the history of these contestations is important for us today as we organize and mobilize around the numerous social, economic and political issues on campus. In this tour, we will learn about significant events that have shaped our university campus and student life.
We will meet in front of York University TTC station (the space across the street and facing Kaneff Tower/ Archives of Ontario) at 2:15pm. The tour will start at 2:30pm sharp. Please look out for ‘OPIRG Walking Tour’ poster.
We will provide snacks and drinks during the walk. Please register today so we can get a sense of the number of participants and plan accordingly.
If you have any access needs that may impact your participation in the event, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org so that we may accommodate you.
SOCIAL AT MALOCA GARDEN WITH OPIRG YORK AND SASSL | September 20, 5-8 pm 2022
Do you know that there is a community garden on the York Keele campus? Join OPIRG York and SASSL in the Maloca Community Garden for a bonfire and free food! There will be music, smores, hot chocolate, and vegan chili. Come hangout, meet like-minded humans, and get to know OPIRG, SASSL, and the Maloca garden.
The Ontario Pulbic Interest Research Group at York (OPIRG York) is your activist hub on campus; the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Support Line (SASSL) provides unbiased and non-judgmental support & referrals to survivors of sexual violence. We’ll tell you a little bit about our organizations at the beginning of the gathering, and then the music will be the rest of the evening.
Note: We suggest wearing warm layers, and bringing a blanket to sit on/ wrap-up in, in case it’s cold in the evening!
OPIRG YORK ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING | April 6th, 7-9 pm
Join OPIRG York as we reflect on the last year, and make decisions for the year ahead. We’ll hear a summary of what happened in 2021-2022, learn about our new Action Groups, and we’ll talk about how you can get involved! Register here.
This is also a time to elect our new Board of Directors! Nominations are due March 16-March 23th, and the form is available on our website here.
We will be gathering on Zoom. Closed caption will be available. There will be some SkipTheDishes vouchers available—amount TBA!
If you have any questions about the Board elections, please contact Mithilen Mathipalan at email@example.com. If you have any other questions contact Naila Lalji firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOLIDARITY WITH UKRAINE: MUSIC, POETRY, AND FILM SCREENING | Nat Taylor Cinema, N102 Ross Building, York Keele campus in-person & Zoom | Register here | Donate to the fundraiser here
To open the evening, Ukrainian Canadian composer and vocalist, Anna Pidgorna, will live-stream Ukrainian folk resistance music from Vancouver. Political Activist Denis Pilash will introduce the film remotely from Ukraine and then we will screen Director Sergei Loznitsa’s “Maidan” (2hr 11min). Following the film, Historian, Theatre Activist and Professor Oksana Dudko will join us live from Kyiv, Ukraine to give us a short talk. After the talk, poet and translator Ostap Kin will read us selected Ukrainian poetry virtually from New York, with English translations will be offered by an MFA Grad Students.
PHONE ZAP FOR THE ATTAWAPISKAT RIVER
You can still make call and send emails using the script and contact information in this doc!
Let’s join together to push for a regional assessment process that uplifts Indigenous rights, biodiversity, and climate. Join our Indigenous-led coalition for a short educational about the “Ring of Fire” region, also known as “the breathing lands,” and participate in a phone-zap action.
SOCIAL JUSTICE AND THE CITY: FROM ORGANIZING TO MOVEMENT BUILDING DURING THE PANDEMIC
How has social justice activism in the city changed with the Pandemic? What has been lost, gained or put on hold? What are the challenges and opportunities that we as organizers have in front of us? As our first event of the new year, OPIRG York invited you to hear about, and reflect on, lessons learned and issues faced by key organizers from several of the city’s key movements and organizations.
Over the course of the past two years, activists have struggled to highlight the crucial issues of our time: anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism, paid sick leave, homelessness and the housing crisis, and more, as frontline healthcare and other essential workers try to contain and mitigate the crises produced by the Pandemic. One of the biggest challenges to organizing has, of course, been the inability to gather safely and in-person, or to collaborate and organize across groups and sectors. Faced with an already fragmented and small social justice landscape, activists in Toronto have had to think creatively and strategically about how to re-shape their activism so that organizing work can not only continue, but constructively address the challenges that communities face.
We brought together activists from the across city, and we invited you to not only learn about the different struggles these organizers have mobilized around, but also, to think through how all of us might contribute concretely to the work undertaken by these groups. The goal of the event was to have organizers consider the obstacles we faced with the onset of the Pandemic, and for participants to brainstorm and come away equipped with tactics, strategies and ideas necessary for (re)building movements that are strong, rooted, and able to make their mark on our post-Pandemic future.