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“We have a country full of people who care and want to help”

Group invites Nova Scotians to candlelight vigil in support of refugees

by Robert Devet

About 70 refugee supporters walked in the Labour Day parade last week to bring attention to the plight of refugees and to demand action from a reluctant federal government. The same organizing group is asking Nova Scotians to join them this Sunday evening for a silent candlelight vigil at Victoria Park in Halifax. Photo Simon de Vet
About 70 refugee supporters walked in the Labour Day parade last week to bring attention to the plight of refugees and to demand action from a reluctant federal government. The same organizing group is asking Nova Scotians to join them this Sunday evening for a silent candlelight vigil at Victoria Park in Halifax. Photo Simon de Vet

KJIPUKTUK (HALIFAX) – This Sunday evening Nova Scotians will gather at Victoria Park in Halifax for a silent vigil to remember the refugees who have lost their lives trying to reach safe havens in Europe and elsewhere.

The event is organized by Refugees Welcome – Maritimes, a group of people that want to welcome refugees to Atlantic Canada and raise awareness of the immense humanitarian crisis that is occurring.

“Canada is a land of immigrants. Through the years we have welcomed many people,” says Ruth Bishop, one of the organizers of the event.

“Now we want to demonstrate to whatever party form the next government that we as a country want to see action,” Bishop says.

Action that so far has been sadly lacking. In the last three years Canada has only accepted 1,300 refugees from Syria.

The organizing group is endorsed by No One is Illegal, the anti-colonial migrant justice organization that has been instrumental in mobilizing Canadians from coast to coast who are shocked into action by the recent images and stories on the refugee crisis.

No One is Illegal has been drawing attention to Canada's atrocious refugee and migrant record for a long time, most recently through a multi-media website neverhome.ca .

The maritime group is brand new, Bishop tells the Halifax Media Co-op.

“We emerged because it felt so urgent,” she says. “We are still determining our mandate and are leaving it open to the people who join the group to help us with that. We want to raise awareness, but there are also people in the group who want to work together to sponsor refugees.”

That's why the group hopes to meet with Lena Diab, the province's immigration minister, sometime soon, Bishop says.

Just last week the group organized a march in support of refugees in conjunction with the Labour Day parade.

“That was incredible, especially for Halifax and at such short notice” Bishop says. “There were at least 70 of us. Such a diverse group, students, recent immigrants from many countries, people of faith, political activists.”

Next is the vigil. Bishop hopes for a large turnout. It's rain or shine, she says. Just bring an umbrella.

So far the vigil is endorsed by the Halifax Refugees Clinic, the Anglican Diocese of Nova Scotia and PEI, KAIROS Halifax, Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice, and the Halifax Monthly Meeting Peace and Social Justice Committee.

The vigil starts at 8 PM, at Victoria Park, on Spring Garden Road, across from the Public Gardens.

 

See also: Labour Day 2015 – workers and refugee supporters combine forces

Follow Robert DeVet on Twitter

 

 


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Topics: Migration
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