Magazine article New Internationalist

Pilgrimage to Freedom

Magazine article New Internationalist

Pilgrimage to Freedom

Article excerpt

Canadians often take pride in their involvement with the Underground Railroad - a network of safe houses and secret routes that led African-American slaves to freedom in Canada and some parts of the US. But from 4 September to 2 October, activists in Ontario reminded Canadians that the struggle for freedom didn't end in the 19th century.

In a 'Pilgrimage to Freedom', migrant workers re-traced portions of the Underground Railroad to underline their demand for basic rights, including employment insurance and the right to apply for Canadian Citizenship.

Organized by 'Justicia for Migrant Workers' (J4MW) - a Torontobased non-profit that promotes the rights of migrant workers - the pilgrimage was divided Into three events that spanned rural Ontario. According to Tzazná Miranda Leal, an organizer with J4MW, the action was intended to be 'part history tour, part community reality and part political action'.

In Niagara-on-the-Lake, migrant workers handed out information along with local fruit to passers-by. By receiving a peach or plum directly from a migrant worker, Miranda Leal hoped that people could make the connection and 'relate to where their food came from'. …

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