Nov. 18: Fiona Sampson and Maggi Swan-Tuomi on Equality Effect in Africa; Destiny Turnboe at Occupy Detroit

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We had a couple of things to cover Friday and in the first half hour we had a discussion about Equality Effect, a Canadian human rights organization that “develops creative legal solutions to address the inequality of women and girls in Africa who are subject to some of the most appalling human rights abuses in the world today (Equality Effect currently works in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi)”.

One project, the “160 Girls” case is an effort to protect Kenyan women and girls from rape, an act that occurs every 30 minutes in that country. The other part of the problem is that laws exist to protect women and girls but are not enforced, so Equality Effect pushes to have existing laws in Kenya enforced.

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To help us out in understanding the issue was University of Windsor student Maggi Swan-Tuomi, and on the telephone was Dr Fiona Sampson, Executive director of Equality Effect.

Welcome back and as you know I’ve been a participant of Occupy Windsor since we set up camp in Senator Croll Park Oct 15th. It’s been a huge challenge to learn how to be present in the park and manage our own affairs, providing assistance to each other, providing food and learning the realities of life here with homeless people coming by reminding us who’d park we’re really in. On Friday, city councilor Drew Dilkens dropped by the park and seemed ready to only focus on the grass in November, after a city recreation manager has already stated the grass is not a problem. I’d like to say to Councilor Dilkens the problems in this city extend far beyond park grass (I’ll chip in for seed by the way), libraries and aquatic centres.

The problems are the lack of adequate support for homeless people and the lack of services for the mentally ill who actually use the park when on a regular basis. Perhaps councilor Dilkens and his constituents are offended by the sight of tents in the park; however, they seem to lack concern for the people in need who are in the city parks all the time yet remain invisible. I’m sorry but have we exposed a problem for all to see thus making you uncomfortable? I hope so. In the meantime, the important work activists are doing continues in cities all around the world, exposing the hypocrisy and oppression of the state in all its forms. On that note, Destiny Turnboe gave us an optimistic review of Occupy Detroit.

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