Feb. 21 2014: Inside the Burden: Stories of Refugee Youth

Click image for more on OPIRG Windsor
Click image for more on OPIRG Windsor

Listen to entire program here:

Naomi Levitz, Walabo Adem, Muna Hassan at CJAM studio
Naomi Levitz, Walabo Adem, Muna Hassan at CJAM studio

In this audio segment, Naomi Levitz describes the creative process in the production of the play, and Muna and Walabo describe their experiences as performers on stage and how important it is that the stories of refugees to Windsor be told:

About the play: “Inside the Burden – Stories of Refugee Youth” is a dramatic production following nine storytellers as they showcase their resilience in overcoming the challenges and obstacles while journeying to create a new life in Canada.”

Click image to view a short promo for the play
Click image to view a short promo for the play

“Last spring, refugee and newcomer youth from around the Windsor-Essex County area attended workshops at Windsor Women Working With Immigrant Women to create production based on their lived experience, and their feelings and struggles about being refugees in Canada. Workshops were led by local award winning social justice Theatre Artist, Chris Rabideau, in collaboration with mental health support and community partners. Together with practitioners, community members, teachers and youth, we came together to create “Inside the Burden – Stories of Refugee Youth”.

Funding provided for this initiative by the Ontario Arts Council. Community partners include YMCA, Mathew House, Legal Assistance of Windsor, and the Greater Essex County District School Board.”

The play shows Wednesday Feb. 26 at 7PM at the Olde Walkerville Theatre. A panel discussion with audience and player participation will follow the play.

Claire Roque, at the Diocese of London office in Windsor, will be a part of the panel on Feb. 26. Also, the panel will include Heather Mantle, the Director of Matthew House, a shelter for refugees, Shelley Gilbert who will address the struggles of youth in Windsor who were victims of human trafficking, and Loly Rico from Toronto, the President of the Canadian Council for Refugees who will be speaking about solutions to the struggles of refugee youth in Canada.

The play runs again Thursday, Feb 27 also at 7PM

Tickets are available HERE and at the door.

Jan. 31, 2014: Minimum Wage with Michal Rozworski & Rockin Robbee

Click image for more on OPIRG Windsor
Click image for more on OPIRG Windsor

Listen to entire program here:

Read Rozworski’s article: The political aspects of the minimum wage

Political Eh-conomy: Left economic analysis from the Unceded Coast Salish Territories

For the segment with Michal Rozworski on the minimum wage click here:

Fair Wages Now


Pete Seeger’s passing means we all have to carry on with his work of justice and compassion:

 If you think you’re worth more than a .75 cent an hour increase in a poverty wage then you’re going to have to fight for what you deserve like every generation of the working class had to do.

 The media is being used by the political class to lower expectations around a real raise in the Ontario minimum wage and to normalize poverty. Injustice thrives in an economy that doesn’t work for us any longer.

 It should be obvious that all those in government and business who strive to be “reasonable and fair” are being well paid as they demand minimum wage workers accept crumbs. The gross inequality the economy encourages, along with a lack of political will to tax back some of that wealth is leading to the destruction of civil society. Decent wages with a fair tax system is what built the society we see devolving into one where people freeze on the streets, push grocery carts full of window washing gear in -30 degree cold; where charity is lauded as low wage workers head to food banks to make ends meet, the media cheerfully plays the role of propagandist for the wealthy and workers struggle to keep a roof over their heads and stay out of debt.

 The only defense of what is decent, fair and compassionate in society comes from the willingness of workers to risk all in the struggle for economic justice which requires political activism beyond the ballot box. The $14 per hour benchmark isn’t a figure picked out of the cold blue sky – it’s the minimum rate where, with full time hours, workers can live above the poverty line. If this rate isn’t achieved and a lower rate is locked in to the rate of inflation then minimum wage workers will never get ahead.

 $14 an hour is then, the thin line of defense of civil society.

As the news cycle grinds on soon to leave this issue behind we must also grapple with this: the minimum wage debate has to be read in the context of the very nature of work, the part-timing of non-union labour and two tiering of unionized labour, Temp Agencies as akin to human traffickers, the globalized economy, and the continuation of job losses in southwestern Ontario. Workers – union and non-union – need to stand together, organize to win political power, and through that work enable economic justice.

 Which side ARE you on???


Rockin” Robbee was in the studio and in this segment he relates a minimum wage story related to the dominance of Temp Agencies in the lives of low wage workers and sings Daniel Johnson’s Love Will Find You in the End: