There are two current crises I’d like to talk to you about tonight. The first is the refugee crisis Canada, and the world, is facing. The second is very close to me, the death threats made towards students and professors at the University of Toronto.
Last week, as you probably already know, the world was thrown into turmoil and outrage when a 3 year old boy drowned and his body was found washed up on a shore in Turkey. If you haven’t seen the video already, watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ko-LsHE3lxo
There was once a time, within my lifetime, that Canada was #1 in the world for peacekeeping and the compassion that is associated with it. We are now #67. John Davidson, the man who walked across Canada (twice) in an effort to raise funds for muscular dystrophy (you might have heard of Jesse’s Journey– Jesse was John’s son) has come up with another challenge for Canada: the #RedTapeChallenge. Inspired by the video of the drowned Syrian boy, John is challenging every church, every synagogue, every mosque, and every temple across Canada to each raise a goal of $30,000 to sponsor a refugee family. It is also a challenge to the government to cut down on the amount of red tape involved in these claims.
All you have to do is make a donation at your local place of worship, and write “refugee fund” on the memo line. Then when you are done take a piece of red duct tape and rip it, you can make a video of it if you choose. Put the duct tape somewhere visible (on a mailbox, a door, a backpack, a tree… etc) so people can see you’ve put your money where your mouth is. Then pass the challenge on to someone you know.
Please consider joining this cause.
Now to switch gears. Anonymous online threats have been issued stating that people are going to walk into various classrooms this week as classes start at the University of Toronto and shoot professors and students alike- in particular anyone who calls themselves a feminist. Instructions on where to get access to a gun has been given in the threat. As you can imagine this does not create the most ideal atmosphere to walk onto campus tomorrow. Security has been increased on campus as a response but it does little to ease the tension. Police are saying there is no credible threat, but how many stories have we heard about people who weren’t taken seriously and then ended going on a shooting spree– too many for that statement to give me any peace of mind. Another article reveals that similar threats were made in June, ones that took an alarmingly long time to become public– so this isn’t the first time…
The very fact that threats like these are still made in today’s culture disturbs me. As a woman, as a feminist, and as a student of the University of Toronto, I’m not feeling the greatest about walking onto campus tomorrow- and I will probably be uneasy for the days to come.
I have a request for you all- keep the refugees and U of T campus (especially women) in your prayers– if you’re not religious, keep us in your thoughts.