Art and Tomatoes

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Art and Tomatoes by Tzazná, Queso and Rathika is now on display at The Public Window Gallery in Toronto and is not to be missed. Presented in conjunction with the Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts, this visual exhibition and public installation highlights and reflects on the Harvesting Freedom caravan.

Events

  • Opening Reception & Festival Party: May 1, 7 pm – 10 pm, Steelworkers Hall, 25 Cecil St (register here)
  • Exhibitions:
    • April 8 – May 30, The Public Window Gallery, 58 Lansdowne Ave
    • April 24 – May 19, Steelworkers Hall, 25 Cecil St
    • May 1 – 28, Whippersnapper Gallery, 594b Dundas St W
  • Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1933331696890529/ 

Artist statement

By Tzazná + Queso
2016 was the 50th year of the migrant farmworker program. 50 years of workplace abuse, accidents, deaths, and of black and brown people putting food on our tables yet actively being excluded from our communities. It also marks 50 years of farmworker survival and resistance in the face of repressive immigration, labour and housing laws. The Harvesting Freedom Caravan (HFC) was launched by Justice For Migrant Workers (J4MW) to mark this anniversary and call for permanent residence for farmworkers and all migrant workers in this stolen land we call Canada. J4MW is a political collective made up of mostly migrante women and people of colour who are farmworkers, unpaid organizers and allies. This exhibit is a way of giving back to the workers and community members who supported the HFC and continue to fight for fair working and living conditions.

Tomatoes have a long relationship with the farmworker movement. It was a wildcat strike of tomato pickers 16 years ago in Leamington, Ontario – the “Tomato Capital of Canada” – that gave rise to this movement (as memorialized in J4MW’s logo). The visual identity of the HFC was based on images taken in Leamington by farmworker organizers. Campaign materials evoke the fields sowed with tomatoes, vegetables, and tobacco, and the raised fists of workers who toil and resist. Hundreds of red bandanas were used by farmworkers to protect against reprisals and deportations. The oversized vegetables and giant red fabric tomato disrupted daily life as the caravan crossed Ontario. Additionally there are pieces of new original artwork by community artists that were involved in the campaign.

The campaign brought up very important issues around work, racism and immigration; however the fight against sexism and homophobia within the movement was invisible, with some organizers feeling that they had to hide their gender/sexual identity. Like many movements, this one struggles with how to include those issues in the continuous work. In that context, building this project from the young, female/gender nonconforming, queer perspective of the curators is itself an act of resistance and of taking up space.

 

Care for a little justice with your wine?

Although the Niagara wine industry is becoming increasingly renowned for the quality of its grapes, at present the industry simply could not exist without migrant workers. Yet migrant workers are seldom celebrated amidst the bucolic imagery associated with wine marketing and agri-tourism.

We decided that a celebration of local wine ought to celebrate the contributions of migrant workers in our communities, and that such a celebration also ought to demand the conditions for health equity, justice and dignity among all those who produce wine grapes. So, we created a presence for migrant workers by joining the Niagara Wine Festival Grande Parade, with its 2016 theme of “Homegrown Niagara.”

Marching in the parade, we shared messages from migrant workers about their experiences, and we provided parade attendees with information about the Harvesting Freedom campaign for status on arrival. Coverage of our parade participation made it into the St. Catharines Standard and the Thorold Edition. Thanks so much to the dream team from the Niagara region who helped make our multi-part visit happen last week (including those who contributed photographs below from the event) especially Heryka Miranda, Dylan Powell, Rose Davies, Simon Black and many more.

Double visit to St Catharines 21 & 24 Sept

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Heryka Miranda and Juan Luis Mendoza de La Cruz performing as part of “The Sunflower Man” in April 2016. Photo: AMW

A couple of folks from St. Catharines have asked if there was a typo in our caravan schedule. Nope! We’re heading out there twice this coming week: once on 21st Sept, and again on the 24th. Please see below for details.

Thanks so much to community members Heryka Miranda and Rose Davies for helping to host us in St. Catharines. Like so many of the amazing volunteers who have helped make the Harvesting Freedom Caravan possible, Heryka has been engaged in inspiring collaborations with workers. You can learn about her dance therapy-based research project with farm workers in the Niagara region here

Wednesday Sept 21
The Harvesting Freedom Caravan will be in Brock University watching documentary films Migrant Dreams and hosting a community discussion from 5-8 pm. We will be in room THISTLE (TH) 258. Brock is at 1812 Sir Isaac Brock Way Street, St Catharines. This film is screened as part of Cinema Politica, in partnership with Brock’s sociology professor Jane Helleiner, who teaches a third year Global Migration class and local community activists. RSVP on the Facebook event

Saturday Sept 24
Demonstration at the Niagara Wine Festival Grande Parade, 9am-11am. Please join us at Montebello Park at the corner of Lake and Queen St for a demonstration to demand justice, and status, for migrant farm workers. We will be giving out information to the public, and displaying messages from local migrant workers about their experiences. You are welcome to hold a sign in their place, or bring your own sign. We will have limited materials on site for people to create their own signs. Get in touch if you want to take part (harvestingfreedomcampaign@gmail). Facebook event info here.

Sep 17-19 in Guelph and Waterloo, honouring Dr. Kerry Preibisch

We’re very excited for our upcoming leg of the caravan in Guelph and Waterloo.

harvesting-freedom-sept-17Saturday, Sept 17 (Guelph)
Film screening of Migrant Dreams. 7-9pm in Room 102, Rozanski Hall, University of Guelph. Director Min Sook Lee, Nandita Sharma and members of the caravan will join in a community panel/Q&A, moderated by Janet McLaughlin, following the screening. RSVP on the Facebook event. If you have accessibility needs, please contact Brad (organizational@opirgguelph.org). Please click here for full-size version of the film-screening poster.

 

 

Sunday, Sept 18 (Guelph)

The Caravan will honour the life and work of Professor Kerry Preibisch at a special academic forum in Guelph.

Monday, Sept 19 (Guelph)

We will pay a community visit to the WSIB office at 9am to demand justice for injured migrant farmworkers! They are located at 100 Stone Road West, Guelph.

Monday, Sept 19 (Waterloo)
Harvesting Change: Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of Canada’s Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program. Hosted by the Balsillie School of International Affairs, Wilfrid Laurier University, and the International Migration Research Centre.

Morning keynote:

Academic Panel:

[Lunch]

Community Panel:

Click on this event page for more details and registration. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED.

poster

 

 

“It feels like the government just sells you out to a white man.”

“It feels like the government just sells you out to a white man.” – Terron Baptiste, September 9, 2016.

Terron Baptiste, a 30 year-old Trinidadian man in the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, had his contract terminated at the farm he worked because he refused to do unsafe work that had previously injured him. Although farm workers in Ontario are legally entitled to refuse unsafe work, Terron’s story illustrates the tremendous gap between migrant workers’ rights on paper and in practice.

Terron’s employer routinely cut the hours of workers who he deemed troublemakers in order to bully them into returning back home. Terron described treatment at his work place as “feeling like slavery” and that he and the others were routinely treated “worse than an animals”, being routinely punished for needing water or being injured, given 15-minute lunches and having wages stolen for unexplained reasons.

Photographs courtesy of Christopher Katsarov Luna

Sept 23 Harvesting Freedom Hamilton Fundraiser and Social

Justice Across Borders is hosting a live music and food fundraiser to welcome the Harvesting Freedom Caravan as it stops in Hamilton en route to Ottawa!

When: Doors at 7pm, Friday September 23rd, 2016.

Entrance: Pay What You Can ($10-15 suggested donation). There will be some food to share and alcoholic beverages for sale. If your organization would like to endorse the campaign or provide a donation by cheque please contact: nastov@mcmaster.ca

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/207878976293409/

Where: New Vision United Church

24 Main St. West, Hamilton

(between McNab and James St.)

Performances by:

Register for the Caravan!

Hi Justicia supporters! If you are planning to join us for the caravan for any of the caravan stops below, please register here!

Harvesting Freedom Caravan Launches this weekend (UPDATED LOCATIONS AND DATES)!

We are READY to start the Historic Harvesting Freedom Caravan with a J4MW worker member General Meeting and Launch in Leamington, Ontario this Sept 4th! Leamington is significant in this struggle because is the self-proclaimed Tomato Capital of the country and it’s also the birthplace of this Farmworker Movement and of Justice For Migrant Workers. Yearly the town receives between 6 and 8 thousand migrant workers who pick our fruits and vegetables.

This Labour Day (Sept 5th), farmworkers, allies and giant Justice Vegetables will march in the Windsor Labour Day parade and will stay and talk to people at the Fogolar Furlan Club in the afternoon. Come support if you are in the Windsor area!

Our allies will also be marching in the Toronto Labour Day parade to make sure labour doesn’t forget about the real struggles that many racialized workers still face in this country.

Here are the updated dates and places we are hitting with the Caravan!

LEAMINGTON Sunday Sept 4
Workers general meeting and dinner in the birthplace of Justice For Migrant Workers.

WINDSOR Monday Sept 5- Tuesday Sept 6
Look for us in the marching in Windsor Labour Day Parade and afterwards in the Fogolar Furlan Club BBQ!

CHATHAM Wednesday Sept 7
Join the caravan for a discussion and screening of Migrant Dreams from 7-9 pm at UNIFOR Local 127, 405 Riverview Dr, Chatham.

BLENHEIM Thursday Sept 8
Event for J4MW farmworker members
*** Fundraiser for the Caravan in Toronto, check out the details here!

LONDON Friday Sep 9- Saturday Sept 10
For Friday Sept 9, there will be a dinner to receive the Caravan, details TBA.
On Saturday Sept 10, the Harvesting Freedom campaign will visit the farmers market, details TBA.
In the evening, the caravan will host a discussion, meal and screening of Migrant Dreams, details here.

TILLSONBURG Sunday Sept 11
Event for J4MW farmworker members

BRANTFORD Wednesday Sept 14
The caravan will host a community discussion from 2:30-4pm at the Wilfrid Laurier University (Brantford College) Room TBA

SIX NATIONS Wednesday Sept 14
The caravan will visit and have a gatherin with the Six Nations community.

LYNDEN Thursday Sept 15
Community dinner, film screening and discussion at Langford School House from 6-9 pm. The address is 1694 Colborne Street East.

SIMCOE Friday Sept 16
Event for J4MW farmworker members

WOODSTOCK Saturday Sept 17
The caravan will visit the local Farmers Market from 10am- 12pm at the Woodstock Fairgrounds, 875 Nellis Street, Woodstock

GUELPH Saturday Sept 17-19
On Sept 17 we have this event from 7-9 pm featuring Nandita Sharma and members of the Caravan!
On Sunday the 18th, the Caravan will honour the life and work of Kerry Preibisch in Guelph.
On Monday Sept 19 we will pay a community visit to the WSIB office at 9 am to demand justice for injured migrant farmworkers! They are located at 100 Stone Road West, Guelph.

KITCHENER-WATERLOO Monday Sept 19
Join us for an expo on the Farmworker Program. Details TBA

KITCHENER Tuesday Sept 20
The UNIFOR Aboriginal and Workers of Colour Committee will be hosting the Caravan for a community gathering. The event will take place from 5:30 pm at UNIFOR Local 1106 Union Hall, located at 1600 Wabanaki Drive, Kitchener.

ST CATHARINES Wednesday Sept 21
The Harvesting Freedom Caravan will be in Brock University watching documentary films Migrant Dreams and hosting a community discussion from 5-8 pm. We will be in room 258. Brock is at 1812 Sir Isaac Brock Way Street, St Catharines.

BEAMSVILLE Thursday Sept 22
Event with farmworkers from the Niagara region

HAMILTON Friday Sept 23- Sat Sept 24
On Saturday Sept 24 we will attend the Hamilton Farmers’ Market. wa! It will be at New Visions Church at 24 Main Street West from 7 pm to midnight.
On Saturday Sept 24 we will attend the Hamilton Farmers’ Market, details TBA.

ST CATHARINES Saturday 24
Justicia is also hitting the Niagara Wine Festival to demand justice for migrant vineyard workers! Get in touch if you want to take part (harvestingfreedomcampaign@gmail)!

TORONTO Sunday Sept 25
Rise up and come out to the Harvesting Freedom Caravan action in Toronto while enjoying a pancake breakfast!
Later in the day join us for the Toronto screening of Migrant Dreams!
Help the Caravan close the day at Black Creek Community Farm event with food, hang outs and performances!

DURHAM Monday Sept 26
Join the Caravan from 6-8 pm for a community event and documentary showing of Migrant Dreams at the West Front Atrium of Trent University Durham Campus, located at 55 Thornton Road South, Oshawa, ON
There will also be a dinner for farmworkers.

COBOURG Tuesday Sept 27
The Harvesting Freedom Caravan will be marching through Cobourg at 3 pm, start up location TBA.
In the evening, we hope you can come to a community forum from 5:15- 6:30 pm at Horizons of Friendship at 50 Covert Street, Cobourg.
The campaign will also host a dinner and workshop for farmworkers later in the evening.

KINGSTON Wednesday Sept 28- Thurs Sept 29
On Wednesday, the Caravan will host a community conversation from 2:30-4 pm at Queens University as a part of the Cultural Studies Seminar Series, details TBA.
Thursday Sept 29 we will host another conversation from 1-2:30pm at Mackintosh-Corry Hall D214, Queens University as a part of the SNID series.
More details on the Kingston stop coming soon!

OTTAWA Oct 1-3
On Saturday Oct 1, the Harvesting Freedom will be part of the One World Film Festival, details TBA.
On Sunday Oct 2nd, save the date to be a part of THE CARAVAN BIG FINALE in downtown Ottawa, details to be announced really soon! Help us mark this historic 800km trip to the capital to demand Justice!
We will CLOSE the caravan and leave Ottawa on Oct 3rd, so stay tuned for those details!!!

Contact us at harvestingfreedomcampaign@gmail.com!

Justicia condemns OIPRD’s report for perpetuating racist policing

Justicia for Migrant Workers (J4MW), a migrant rights advocacy organization, strongly rejects the Office of the Independent Police Review Director’s (OIPRD) finding that there was no racial profiling in the coercive DNA sweep of 99 black and brown migrant men in Bayhem, Ontario in 2013. J4MW condemns the OIPRD’s perpetuation of racist policing of black and racialized communities.

See our press release here!

Fruit Stand for Justice: Town Hall with Immigration Minister John McCallum

Migrant workers and allies with Justice for Migrant Workers, J4MW took part in an immigration town hall in North York with Immigration Minister John McCallum this evening, demanding permanent status on arrival for all migrant workers. Also present was MP Marco Mendicino. 

As other Town Hall participants arrived, we hosted a fruit stand, offering free fruit and letting them know about the upcoming Harvesting Freedom campaign on the 50th anniversary of the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program.

Support Ned Peart (hearing postponed until the Fall 2016)!

Ned Peart

This is Ned Peart. He was crushed to death by a tobacco kiln while working as a migrant farmworker in Ontario. His family together with Justicia for Migrant Workers have been fighting for over 10 years to change the laws so these kinds of accidents don’t happen again.

The hearing for his case was scheduled for March but was postponed until the Fall of 2016. We will need your support then and we will keep you updated! Help us pack the courtroom and also show our support to Mr. Peart’s family!