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We Keep Each Other Safe: Living in a World Without Police and Prisons

Date
October 30, 2020
Time
12:00 PM EDT - 1:30 PM EDT
Location
Online Platform: Toronto Prisoners’ Rights Project Facebook page

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Event Description: 

We know that police and prisons do not keep our communities safe - we keep each other safe. As we respond to global movements highlighting the widespread and targeted harm caused by police and prisons, we must imagine and prepare to live in a world without these institutions. 

The COVID-19 crisis has brought communities around the world together in networks of support and mutual aid. In this webinar, we will explore our collective power to offer safety and support to those around us as we transition toward an abolitionist future. 

This event will embrace the art of speculative fiction. We will time travel into the not-too-distant future, to a world that we’ve created where we’ve already won. Together, we will imagine the abolition of police and prisons and know that a better world is possible. 

This event will launch a series of community workshops taking place November 2-6, 2020, as part of the We Keep Each Other Safe project aimed at building collective capacity to offer alternatives to policing in our communities. 

This event is organized by the Toronto Prisoners’ Rights Project as part of Ryerson Social Justice Week.

Speaker & Performer Bios:

El Jones

El Jones is a poet, educator, journalist and advocate. She was the fifth Poet Laureate of Halifax and the 15th Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University. El is a 2016 recipient of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission Burnley “Rocky” Jones award. El is a co-founder of the Black Power Hour, a radio show developed collectively with prisoners. Her advocacy and work fights anti-Black racism in Canada, walking in the path of our great-grandmothers who resisted relentlessly. Her book of poetry and essays on state violence, Canada is So Polite will be released in the winter from Gaspereau Press.

 

Sarah Jama

Sarah Jama is a community organizer from Hamilton, Ontario. She is the co-founder of the Disability Justice Network of Ontario (DJNO), an organization committed to building the political and community power of people with disabilities. She currently works at the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion as the Senior Program Coordinator. In her current role, she is building leadership curriculum for youth around organizing inside and outside political structures, to be disseminated locally at different schools. Sarah can be reached at sarah@djno.ca.

Vanessa Gray

Vanessa is a 27 year old Queer Anishinaabe kwe from the Aamjiwnaang First Nation, located in Canada’s Chemical Valley. As a grassroots organizer, land defender and educator, Vanessa works to decolonize environmental justice research by linking scholarly findings to traditional teachings. Vanessa is a co-founder of Aamjiwnaang & Sarnia Against Pipelines (ASAP), host of the annual Toxic Tour of Canada’s Chemical Valley. She continues to take part in a diversity of tactics such direct action, classroom lectures, co-hosting Toxic Tours and Water Gatherings.

Lindsay Jennings

Lindsay Jennings is the Provincial HepC worker at Prisoners HIV/AIDS Support Action Network (PASAN), in Toronto, Ontario. She facilitates workshops inside provincial jails on topics such as HIV/Hep C Basics, Harm Reduction and Overdose Prevention, and Naloxone training. Lindsay is also a passionate organizer for the Toronto Prisoners’ Rights Project and started her own initiative called Lace-Up, a release planning program for remanded prisoners at the Toronto South Detention Center. Lindsay is a dedicated advocate who brings awareness to the lack of acknowledgement and accountability  about the conditions of our provincial prisons, the lack of rehabilitative supports while serving time inside, and the massive gap folks face when they are released from jail and  entering the community.

Nasim Asgari

Nasim Asgari was born in Tehran & is currently based in Toronto. Nasim is currently studying human rights and equity studies at York University. A dreamer, thinker, seeker and student of the truth who passionately writes and performs poetry. Nasim began writing at the age of 10 when she decided to use her voice and written words to express herself and bring awareness to issues that are often undermined by today's world - the focus being to revolutionize externally & internally simultaneously. Nasim continues her practice by performing, writing, publishing, exhibiting & educating. She has performed & facilitated workshops at events, poetry slams and protests including TEDX Rouge River, R.I.S.E. Edutainment, Gardiner Museum exhibit & publications, Nuit Blanche Toronto 2017, CreativeTime Summit, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto Public Library & more. Her poems are now available in her poetry anthology titled, "what was swept under the persian rug".

Moe Alqasem

Moe Alqasem is a BDS and Palestinian community organizer based in Tkaronto (Toronto) and a graduate of York University. Originally from Nablus, Palestine. He is involved in multiple aspects of the Palestine-solidarity movement including the student-organizing, Palestinian prisoners, labour, and Arab community organizing. Contributing to numerous domestic campaigns for Palestinian National Liberation.

Che Sienna

Winnipeg-born, Arizona-raised, and now Toronto-residing musician, and healer. Che is a multi-disciplinary cultural worker. She is the founding member of ON8ON Collective. Che believes in the power of story telling to change the world. Her songs are essentially freedom songs, speaking to personal and political liberation. She stands for the dispersal of power, and believes in the power of the people.