Flora Terah-Igoki Selected as Finalist for “Top 25 Canadian Immigants Award”

Flora Terah-Igoki

“A Kenya native has been selected as one of the finalists of the 2013 RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrants Awards … Flora Terah-Igoki, a women’s rights activist who relocated to Canada from Kenya in 2009 and currently resides in Lachine, Quebec, has become a powerful advocate for non-violence and anti-bullying campaigns in Canada and around the world.

… The RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrants Awards is a peoples’ choice award that recognizes people who have come to Canada and have made a positive difference living here. Whether it’s a community advocate or volunteer, a successful entrepreneur or a cultural icon, this is the first Canadian national award program that recognizes immigrants’ achievements from all walks of life. The selected 25 immigrants will enthuse and motivate all immigrants as they establish their new life and home in Canada, says the awards sponsor.

Flora is one of 75 finalists, with voting for the Top 25 Canadian Immigrants being done online.  She needs your vote to receive the 2013 RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrants award. You can vote for her online at www.canadianimmigrant.ca/rbctop25.

Read the full article here.

When Flora first arrived in Canada in 2009, she worked with the CWSE and gave a talk on her experiences of persecution, and torture, and the murder of her son in Kenya. Her story is heartbreaking but powerful. Congratulations Flora, for this much-deserved honour.

The Journey of Nishiyuu arrives in Ottawa today

The Journey of Nishiyuu will arrive in Ottawa today, around 1pm.

Image… the completion of an epic journey of Indigenous youth that started in the community of Whapmagoostui on Hudson Bay in northern Quebec. 

Hundreds of supporters, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike, will be on hand today in Ottawa to greet them. Members of the labour movement and other civil society groups will be there to show their support. Some Members of Parliament, from opposition parties, will be there when the group arrives on Parliament Hill shortly after 1p.m. EST today. 

rabble.ca’s parliamentary reporter Karl Nerenberg will be there on the Hill to report on this historic event. 

Stephen Harper, meanwhile, will be in Toronto, rolling out the right carpet for two pandas arriving on loan to Canadian zoos from China. 

In other words, on this historic day where Indigenous issues should have the full attention of the national media and politicians, Harper has skipped town, in order to preside over the carefully scripted culmination of his “panda diplomacy” with the government of China.

Read more here.

Check out the Facebook page for events in Toronto in support of Idle No More.

Watch a livestream of the events until 5pm here: http://www.livestream.com/occupytoronto

“Status Quo” Documentary Free Online March 8-10

The next meeting of our monthly Feminist Media Studies Circle will be March 18th. In celebration of IWD, well be discussing the new documentary Status Quo: The Unfinished Business of Feminism in Canada.

This NFB film will be available online for free March 8 through 10, so make sure you take advantage and watch it in advance, then join us on March 18 to discuss!

Watch the documentary here.

More details about our March 18th discussion of the film here.


March & Feminist Fair for IWD on Sat, March 9

The CWSE is excited to have a table at the annual Ryerson IWD fair, this Saturday March 9.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, there will be a rally on March 9 at 11am at the OISE auditorium, then a march at 1pm, which will start at OISE and end at Ryerson, where there will be a feminist fair from 2 to 5pm at the Ryerson Student Centre (55 Gould St). 

Stop by the CWSE table at the feminist fair and say hi!

This is the facebook event page for Saturday, if you’d like to invite your friends! https://www.facebook.com/events/490398371016665/

At this time the CWSE is NOT collecting any clothing or toiletry donations. 

If you are interested in donating items, please get in touch with organizations like All Saints’ – a drop-in centre that provides support for women dealing with drug addictions and inadequate or no housing, many of whom are involved in the sex industry. The All Saint’s Drop-In Centre is thriving because of the efforts of so many people, and continued  community support. The All Saint’s Drop-In works from a harm reduction and human rights-based framework, and is trans-inclusive. Please contact them directly to find out appropriate items to donate and where to take your donations.






Green City Living

We recently held a the third session in our series on women & the environment. In this session on “Green City Living”, we were lucky enough to have Laura Rainsborough and Ruthanne Henry speak about their practices. Both women have dedicated their lives to remaking the city as a sustainable forest.


Laura Rainsborough is the founder and current director of Not Far From the Tree, a Toronto-based organization founded in 2008 that coordinates the harvest of local fruit from properties of Toronto home-owners. The harvest is divided equally among volunteers; property owners; and community food banks, shelters and support groups. Laura and the organization have won multiple local, national, and international awards for their work.

Not Far From the Tree began when Laura encountered the abundance of fruit at the Spadina Museum, and opened a dialogue with Toronto city staff about it. She began to understand that cities aren’t just private and fenced backyards, but are orchards of trees that cross-pollinate.

Laura’s creative roots are in a New Brunswick arts center, and her background is environmental studies at York University. Her “craving for creativity” drew her to a job at the children’s garden in High Park in Toronto, and she now helps write reports on the urban forest. She can tell you that 80% of the GTA is prime agriculture land and filled with wild life – there is “fertility beneath our feet”. She argues that the best way to keep a species alive is to eat it – “intimate connection”, “direct and embodied”, or “the one-arm diet” — reaching for food just outside your window.

After fives years, Not Far From the Tree harvests fruit in 15 neighborhoods in Toronto and uses 1500 volunteers, and relies on bicycles to carry fruit and harvesting tools. Strangers become community through these urban ecology practices. The homeowners value the relationship with the urban forest, and volunteers become agents of change.


Ruthanne Henry sees the forest as the base of a living culture. She is a landscape architect and practices urban forestry research through ecological design, eco-restoration, and conservation planning for natural features. She creates art for community awareness of the vulnerable natural landscape and uses themes of healing, growth, and regeneration of ourselves and our landscapes. 

Ruthanne became a landscape architect after years of living in the Dundas Valley, immersed in forest. She began volunteering in Surinam, where she collected wild orchids in a restoration project, and later worked along the Colorado River to address the ecological destruction of the Hoover Dam, which had altered the water’s course and caused loss of native plants. In Hamilton, she worked on an aquatic propagation project in the Harbour. In her own home in Toronto, she has restored native plants and wildlife to her ravine slope.

Ruthanne’s Master’s work at Ryerson University has involved co-developing a website with layered maps that reveal where people live in relation to Toronto’s forests and how canopy contributes to health. Her art practice began at the Dundas Valley School of Art, and she has created installations with vegetation debris and tiles from abiotic materials such as fossils.

If you missed the presentation, you can still see both presenters at the Urban Forest and Political Ecology Conference at Hart House, April 18-20, 2013.

The next session of our women and environments series is this Tuesday, March 12, on “Spaces of Indigenous Artistry”, with Jill Carter. Check out details here.