If you’re like me, your first reaction to hearing about Trump’s Executive Order instituting a Muslim Ban may have been, “what the heck can I do?” So, I started writing this post on the weekend and the first point I had in mind to make was, “don’t be smug”. Then the shooting at a Quebec City mosque occurred and tragically made my point for me. This appalling act of terror makes it even more imperative for Canadians who oppose racist, Islamophobic policies to act. Here’s 7 things you can do, starting today, to resist Trump’s Muslim Ban and everything it represents.
Learn about and learn from, our history
I readily confess that I know more U.S. than Canadian history but I am trying to change that over time. For example, many people were noting how appalling it was that Trump signed the Muslim Ban on Holocaust Remembrance Day. An account on twitter was sharing heartbreaking pictures and stories about Jews on the MS St. Louis, denied entry into the U.S. and ultimately murdered during the Holocaust:
My name is Joachim Hirsch. The US turned me away at the border in 1939. I was murdered in Auschwitz pic.twitter.com/pfvJtMpIps
— St. Louis Manifest (@Stl_Manifest) January 27, 2017
My partner, Gingerheaddad, posted on twitter and on Facebook reminding Canadians that we turned away the MS St. Louis too. A friend of his added an additional, chilling note:
[Text reads: Frederick Blair, who directed Canada’s Immigration Branch in the late 1930s and early 40s, was candidly anti-semitic, and proud of his record in keeping Jews out of Canada. In the years leading to the war, the U.S. accepted 40 times the Jewish refugees that Canada did, Mexico welcomed four times as many.]
If you’re not familiar with the Continuous Journey Regulation or the Komagata Maru incident, now might be a great time to start learning about (or brushing up on) these and other shameful episodes in Canadian history. White supremacy is as much a part of the foundation and fabric of Canada as it is in the United States and it’s important that we not shy away from that.
Don’t be smug about the present
I am happy that Justin Trudeau tweeted his support for refugees and I am also proud that Canada has admitted (to date) nearly 40,000 Syrian refugees.
To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 28, 2017
However, as the Quebec City shooting horribly demonstrates, Canada has it’s own homegrown challenges with Islamophobia. In fact there are countless ways in which Canada continues to fail to live up to the ideal of “diversity is our strength” – our racism, the way we treat indigenous people and our flagrantly discriminatory immigration policies towards disabled people are just a couple of examples.
Call your MP
Call your MP’s local constituency office and voice your support for four things:
- offering entry to Canada for individuals currently in limbo due to the Muslim Ban.
- increasing the refugee sponsorship cap
- revisiting the Canada-U.S. Safe Country agreement so that if refugees are denied entry to the U.S. they can still seek entry into Canada
- eliminating discriminatory immigration policies so that disabled people as well as families with disabled children, can seek refuge here
If you’re not sure who your MP is, here’s a list – enter your postal code to find your federal representative is. My MP is James Maloney; I called his constituency office this morning and spoke to Connor, who made a note of the above concerns and I’ll be confirming this via email. I’ll also be calling the Minister of Immigration’s office to relay the same points.
Talk to your local and provincial politicians too. They don’t have input on immigration policies but its important that they hear from you that refugees and immigrants are welcome in our communities and that our Muslim friends already here need to feel safe and supported.
Folks are donating to the ACLU in record numbers and for good reason. But if you read my last post on Betsy DeVos then you may recall that I’m a big advocate for acting locally (a bit more on that below) and I believe this applies to donations too. I asked Shireen Ahmed for some recommendations and she suggested:
- National Council of Canadian Muslims
- Outburst Movement – an organization in Toronto that supports Muslim women
- Local mosques – especially if they’ve been attacked
And if you can’t donate don’t worry and keep reading, there are still lots of things you can do.
Listen to, and amplify, Muslim voices
Shireen also reminded people this morning, that when acting in relation to the Muslim Ban, the folks we need to listen to and signal boost the most are Muslims. She’s been tweeting recommendations of people and organizations to follow and if you don’t already, go follow her (if you’re a soccer fan you have an additional incentive to do so).
— Footybedsheets (@_shireenahmed_) January 30, 2017
I’m a huge proponent of this because:
- it’s where you are likely to make the biggest impact
- the results of your actions can sometimes be immediate
- strengthening our own communities has both current and long term benefits for everyone, including ourselves and our families
On the weekend, Curtis Brown shared a Facebook post listing 3 things he was planning to do and one of them was volunteer with organizations that help refugees in Canada. If you can’t afford to donate, maybe you can volunteer your time and/or expertise. Madison Mahdia Lynn wrote an absolutely terrific piece on how to figure out the practical and accessible things you can do to support people in your community and the wider movement to resist Trump and Trumpism.
Voice your disagreement with Canadian politicians who want a Muslim ban here
Kellie Leitch was supporting the “barbaric cultural practices hotline” and proposing “Canadian Values” immigrant screening long before Trump became President. However, Trump’s rhetoric and electoral success has certainly legitimized and emboldened those who want to impose policies in Canada like Trump’s Muslim ban.
Campaign and vote against candidates like these. Speak to your friends and family about why they shouldn’t support these candidates. If people you know are CPC voters, encourage them to support a CPC leadership candidate who isn’t awful, like Michael Chong.
If you have other ideas or suggestions, please do add them in comments and remember:
Resist much, obey little – Walt Whitman