Conference: Building a Solidarity City (October 13)

October 7, 2012

An invitation from Solidarity Across Borders …
Building a Solidarity City:
A conference on access to services for non-status migrants, and building local networks of mutual aid and support

Solidarity Across Borders is organizing a day-long conference to discuss and share strategies about access to services schooling, food banks, housing, etc) for non-status migrants, as well as building local networks of mutual aid and support. We’re inviting local community organizers and activists, researchers and all people interested in this topic to participate in this conference in order to reinforce our links of solidarity and mutual aid.

Workshop-Discussions:
* Education For All! * Health Care For All! * Deportation, Prison & the “Double Punishment” of Migrants * Access to women’s shelters and services * Food For All! * The Autonomous Neighborhood Assemblies and Building a Solidarity City

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WHEN : Saturday, October 13th, 2012, from 9am-5:30pm
WHERE : Hall Building at Concordia University, 7th floor
1455 de Maisonneuve West, métro Guy-Concordia

* Childcare and kids activities on-site (free)
* Whisper translation (English, French, Spanish)
* Wheelchair accessible
* Snacks and free lunch available on-site
* Please confirm your participation (solidaritesansfrontieres@gmail.com / 438-933-7654)
* This event is for migrants, community organizers and allies; no police or mainstream media are welcome to attend.

ENDORSE THE CONFERENCE: If your group or organization supports the aims and goals of this conference, please send your endorsement to solidaritesansfrontieres@gmail.com By endorsing the conference, you will also help promote the conference to your members and allies (via e-mail, telephone, facebook, etc).
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Agenda (October 13, 2012):

* 9am-10am: Breakfast and Coffee

* 10am-11:30am: Workshop-Discussion – Education For All!
How do we organize to ensure access to public education by non-status children? How can we make links with the movement for accessible education? The Education Across Borders Collective / Collectif éducation sans frontières (C.E.S.F.) invites you to a workshop and discussion on the theme of access to education in order to bring together our ideas about the next steps in our campaign. You are invited to get involved in the discussion around the following questions: i) In the organizing that you do, how do you encounter the problem of exclusion from school as a result of immigration status; ii) What do you do concretely in these situations; iii) What can we do together to bring an end to this exclusion? INFO: http://www.solidarityacrossborders.org/en/francais-conference-batir-une-cite-sans-frontieres

* 10am-11:30am: Workshop-Discussion – Health Care For All!
The goal of this workshop is to share strategies to improve access to healthcare services for migrants with precarious status. It is open to everyone : people who want to learn more about this issue, migrant people struggling with access to healthcare, healthcare workers, migrant justice activists, community organizers, researchers … How can we support the projects already taking place in Montreal? What are the limitations to offering alternative healthcare along side the public health care system? How can we open the doors of the healthcare system in order to insure access for all? The workshop will begin by presentations and will be followed by questions and discussions. Introduction by Anne-Marie Gallant, from the Health Justice Collective and Solidarity Across Borders : contextualizing the issue of access to healthcare for migrants with precarious status, and the impact of the recent cuts to the Interim Federal Health Plan

Presentations :
* Francesca Meloni, Researcher (McGill University and CSSS de la Montagne) : the preliminary results of a research project taking place in Montreal and Toronto, documenting the impact of a precarious migration status on access to healthcare for pregnant women and children
* Marylie Roger, from Doctors of the World in Montreal: the Migrant Project, that for little over a year, has offered healthcare services to people without any health coverage
* Shireen Soofi, from Solidarity Across Borders : groups in different locations in Canada providing healthcare services to migrants who don’t have access to public healthcare—

* 11:45am-1:15pm: Workshop-Discussion – Deportation, Prison & the “Double Punishment” of Migrants
“Double punishment” is the term used to describe the unjust policy used against non-citizens who face deportation after being punished for a criminal conviction. In other words, non-citizens who commit criminal offenses are punished twice: once when they’re sentenced for their crime, and then again by being permanently removed from Canada, often after living here since childhood. This workshop is intended for local community members who would like to actively oppose double punishment and be actively involved in local organizing campaigns. The starting point of this teach-in is: opposition to deportations & detentions, support for a regularization program for all non-status migrants, opposition to prisons and the prison industrial complex, and the abolition of double punishment.

* 11:45am-1:15pm: Workshop-Discussion – Access to women’s shelters and services
How can we better know, equip, coordinate and expand services for women who are non-status or with precarious status, mainly in the context of difficulties linked to immigration? Please e-mail in advance at solidaritesansfrontieres@gmail.com if you plan to attend this workshop.

1:15pm-2:30pm: Lunch

* 2:30pm-4pm: Workshop-Discussion – Food For All!
The Solidarity City Food Committee demands healthy food for all, grounded in the belief that food is a fundamental part of dignity and self-determination for non-status migrants and all those who face poverty and precarity. To move toward this end, we invite those who are directly affected by the immigration system, as well as allies who work within and outside of the food service sector, to strategize with us. We hope to use this workshop to share personal experiences, and to discuss new tactics and strategies that will enable us to move forward in the struggle toward food for all.

* 2:30pm-4pm: Workshop-Discussion: The Autonomous Neighborhood Assemblies and Building a Solidarity City
A Solidarity City is the creation of a community that rejects a system that engenders poverty and anguish, not solely for immigrants and refugees, but also for other Montrealers confronting these same realities We are opposing fear, isolation, precarity and division. We strike back with solidarity, mutual aid, support work and direct action.

Join us for a discussion linking the organizing of the various Autonomous Neighborhood Assemblies (APAQs) and the Solidarity City Campaign. The goal of this discussion will be to strategize tangible ways we can build networks of mutual aid and support in our neighborhood that can meet our basic needs in relation to health care, education, housing, food, as well as community safety and security. We particularly encourage the participation of members of the various Autonomous Neighborhood Assemblies in Montreal.

* 4:15pm-5:30pm: Closing Plenary

* 10am-4pm: Art Zone
Throughout the day, Solidarity Across Borders is organizing an art-making area, so that conference participants can create banners, posters and stencils related to the theme of Solidarity City.
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You can attend the discussions that directly interest you, or the entire day. The discussions will be organized to share strategies between participants. We are hoping that concrete projects will emerge from this day.

Please confirm your attendance (and if possible, which workshops you are interested in attending). We will be organizing information tables, so please let us know if you want to share informational materials.

Working groups are organizing each of the conference discussions. If you want to contribute to the organization of one of these discussions, please let us know as soons as possible at : solidaritesansfrontieres@gmail.com

The conference is fully wheelchair accessible. For other accessibility needs, please get in touch at solidaritesansfrontieres@gmail.com

We will also be offering free childcare and kids activities on-site. Please contact us (at least 48 hours in advance, if possible) to request childcare. We will also have free bus/metro tickets available.
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BUILDING A SOLIDARITY CITY

For thousands of undocumented immigrants across the country, cities such as Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver are sweatshops. Immigrants and refugees work the most precarious and dangerous jobs. The Canadian economy cannot survive without this work force that is exploited due to the lack of permanent status and the threat of forced removal. These undocumented people are our neighbors, our colleagues, our classmates and our friends. They are people whose only “crime” was to migrate in the search for a better life for themselves and their family.

Too often non-status migrants do not have access to essential services such as health care, education or social services. Or, they might never dare entering a hospital, clinic or food bank for fear that their status be revealed to the authorities.

In 2009, Solidarity Across Borders launched the “Solidarity City” campaign. Inspired by “Sanctuary City” movements and by the “Right to City” principle, Solidarity City aims to make Montreal a city where essential services are truly available to everyone, regardless of their immigration status. We undertake this campaign in the context of the larger goal of putting into place a regularization program for all non-status persons living in Canada.

In the current context of a Conservative majority government, the Solidarity City campaign constitutes a response to austerity measures and the repressive policies of the Canadian state. We are not waiting for this government to give us presents: we choose instead to organize on our own basis, according to principles that have guided migrant justice struggles in Montreal: mutual aid, building networks of support that break isolation and fear, solidarity between different social justice struggles, direct action and the organization of campaigns based on the lived realities of migrants.

We invite allied groups and local community organizers and activists to join us on October 13, 2012 to discuss together the issues linked to access to essential services by non-status persons, building networks of mutual aid and support, and to share our experiences and strategies so that together we can build a Solidarity City.
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INFO:
www.solidarityacrossborders.org
solidaritesansfrontieres@gmail.com / 438-933-7654
VIDEO: STATUS FOR ALL! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=za8n_BTy2O0

twitter : https://twitter.com/SolidariteMTL
facebook : https://www.facebook.com/CiteSansFrontieres

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