Day of the Dead/Día de los Muertos celebrations November 1st: Join us in Leamington and online

Mexican altar with flowers, candles, and photographs commemorating deceased migrant agricultural workers

Justicia for Migrant Workers 2013 Day of the Dead altar to commemorate migrant workers killed on the job in Canada.

To honour all the deaths of migrant farm workers who have died in Canada and in their home countries, Justice for Migrant Workers is hosting two Day of the Dead events on Sunday, November 1st.

These events build on the longstanding work of Justicia activist and artist Tzazná Miranda Leal, who for years has established an altar in honour of deceased migrant agricultural workers at Wychwood Barns in Toronto.

In particular, we invite you to hold your hearts three Mexican migrant agricultural workers who died in Ontario this year due to COVID-19 and the government’s failure to prioritize worker safety: Bonifacio Eugenio Romero (31), Rogelio Muñoz Santos (24), and Juan Lopez Chaparro (55). ¡Presente!

In-person, outdoor, physically distanced altar in Leamington, Ontario

  • 12pm-6pm on Sunday, 1 November
  • Meet at the Giant Tomato (72 Talbot St West)

Digital Day of the Dead Celebration

  • Sunday, November 1st online
  • Take part in our virtual celebration of the three Mexican migrant agricultural workers who died due to COVID-19.
  • Please include Bonifacio Eugenio Romero, Rogelio Muñoz Santos, and Juan Lopez Chaparro on your ofrenda/altar, honouring them in a way that resonates with you.
  • We invite you to share photos of your altar with us on social media. Tag us @harvestingfreedom (instagram), or @j4mw (Twitter).

Ending immigration raids

Justicia for Migrant Workers  (J4MW) strongly condemns the immigration raid that occurred near Leamington on May 1st, International Workers’ Day. This workplace raid serves to criminalize migrant farm workers and create a chilling effect throughout the community. While details are still emerging about the specifics of the raid, previous workplace raids have predominantly targeted temporary foreign workers and non-status residents of the Windsor Essex community.

This most recent workplace raid should not be seen as an isolated incident but part of a broader immigration strategy undertaken by Canada’s Liberal government to attack working-class migrants and deny them the dignity to work free from state intimidation and harassment.

By enabling employers to use Canada’s immigration laws to divide workers based on immigration status, gender, race, and nationality, the government itself is complicit in creating the conditions that enable employers, recruiters and contractors to exploit migrant workers. By poisoning water through resource extraction, filing the atmosphere with carbon dioxide, and violating Indigenous sovereignty, Canadian business interests are also complicit in creating the conditions that displace communities in the Global South. Canadian foreign policies work in tandem with state immigration policies to create a mobile yet indentured workforce in which migrants have neither the freedom to stay or the freedom the move on their own terms.

While the federal Liberals proclaim the rhetoric of an open, inclusive and tolerant approach to immigration, immigration raids dispel this myth. J4MW strongly denounces immigration raids as an insidious capitalist strategy to divide and rule. We call on all allies to support an end to draconian immigration raids.

Things you can do to take action:

  1. Call or write Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen (phone: 613-995-0777 or  613-954-1064  and 416-656-2526; email: Ahmed.Hussen@parl.gc.ca and minister@cic.gc.ca) and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale (phone: 613-947-1153; 306-585-2202, and 613-991-2924; email: ralph.goodale@parl.gc.ca and Hon.ralph.goodale@canada.ca):
    1. Ask them to take action on the points listed below.
  2. Call, email or text your friends, asking them to join you in demanding an end to workplace raids.
  3. Share a solidarity image with the migrant workers on social media using the hashtags #statusnow and #endtheraids and tag Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.

    1. On Twitter: @AhmedDHussen & @RalphGoodale
    2. On Facebook: @AhmedHussenLib & @ralphgoodale.

Urge them to take immediate steps to ensure:

  • Permanent status on arrival for migrant workers

  • An end to deportations and repatriations

  • Equal access to social entitlements

  • An end to the power that contractors and recruiters exert over migrant workers.

Show solidarity with Leon! Seeking donations for an injured migrant worker

Migrant worker Leon Ferguson at a rally in Ottawa as part of J4MW's Harvesting Freedom caravan.

Migrant worker Leon Ferguson at a rally in Ottawa in 2016 as part of J4MW’s Harvesting Freedom caravan.

We are writing with an urgent financial appeal to cover the costs of a MRI for an injured migrant farm worker from Jamaica. We are seeking to raise $1500. All monies donated will be used to cover the costs of the MRI and travel to medical appointments.

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