Update: On April 13, 2018, Lucy Granados was deported from Canada to Guatemala. Lucy’s supporters in Canada are organizing for her return to Canada.
This speech was delivered by Gül Çaliskan, an organizer with No One Is Illegal Fredericton and a professor of sociology at St. Thomas University, at the Lights for Lucy vigil held at Fredericton City Hall on April 10.
Can we chant for Lucy? Let Lucy Stay!
We are here today because we dream of a better world—a world without borders, without the systems that force people to leave their homes.
A world where there is justice and dignity for migrants; a world where indigenous peoples have self-determination.
A world where those wishing to return to places they have left can do so.
It is a world where the state does not separate people into geographic territories.
This world might seem so far away.
But I can see it. Can’t you? We have no choice but to continue to dream that world.
Because, this world we envision puts a mirror for us to see this land.
Half a million of our friends, neighbors, co-workers, peers, and community members are undocumented in this land that we presently call Canada.
Even now, tens of thousands of refugees await decisions on their cases.
Nearly a hundred thousand migrant workers work in dangerous and difficult conditions.
Nearly 100,000 migrants in Canada have been jailed without charge. Migrants are the only population of people in Canada who can be jailed on administrative grounds, without ever being charged with a specific criminal offense. That punishment is inflicted on up to 807 children per year.
Segregation is a legally recognized form of torture, and it must end.
In the face of these challenges, communities across Canada are fighting back, as they envision the possibility of another world.
In dozens of places across the country, directly affected people and organizers are struggling for dignity.
The non-status women are organizing in Montreal.
We struggle to stop individual deportations (Lucy and Abdoul are only two of them).
Caregivers fight to stop the upcoming program closure that might deny status to thousands of workers.
Like many communities in cities across the country, in our city we are working to nurture a culture of commitment to reducing barriers and to accessing services for migrants who have precarious status or no immigration status.
We dream that future world, and so we demand full access to dignity, rights, and services for all people, regardless of immigration status, with a clear and consistent anti-colonial perspective. That commitment takes us a few steps closer to the world we dream of.
We will continue to hold that vision that feels so far away, yet so near.
Today, we say LET LUCY STAY.
Every day, we will demand, NO MORE DETENTIONS. STATUS FOR ALL, STATUS NOW!
Gül Çaliskan is a member of No One is Illegal in Fredericton.