Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Request CBC to play Sara Marlowe Injured Workers song on June 1st...

Here's a request from Sara Marlowe:

"Hi there,

Besides college radio stations, CBC seems to one of the few that is willing to play social justice music. Next Tuesday (June 1st), is Injured Workers Day. I wrote a song "Worthless," specifically for this day - for my uncle, when he got sick due to unsafe working conditions at his job (he has since passed away).

CBC has played my music in the past (Red Wine & Revolution). Let's get some more strong political musical messages on the airwaves!

You can drop a line to any of these shows requesting "Worthless by Sara Marlowe - from the CD "True Stories" (you will need to fill out a web form - or call them to leave a message requesting the song)

SHIFT (radio 2) -

Thanks & Solidarity,

Some background info:
On Injured Workers Day, June 1, injured workers as well as unions and other organizations will remind the government that justice — not poverty — was the primary reason the compensation system was set up in 1914. Workers gave up their right to sue employers for workplace injury and illness compensation in exchange for a system that was supposed to provide fair recompense to injured workers so that they could continue their lives with dignity even in the face of injury or permanent disablement.

Sara Marlowe"

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Exhibit: Stitching for Peace and Justice

Opening Reception: Thursday, June 3, 7:00 to 9:00 pm
with Talk by Sima Elizabeth Shefrin
Exhibit until Wednesday, June 23

Co-sponsored with United Jewish People's Order
and Trinity St. Paul’s United Church - Middle East Working Group

For more than thirty years, Sima Elizabeth Shefrin, has made quilts about real people and their struggles and celebrations. She aims to create art work that is honest, hopeful and beautiful.

The exhibit brings together a range of projects and workshop facilitated by Sima centred around Palestine and Israel. The most recent is a series of three workshops held in spring 2007 in which children and women created fabric self-portraits along with messages they wished to send to their North American counterparts.

The first workshop in a grade 4 class in the Hand in Hand School in Jerusalem, one of the very few mixed Jewish/Arab schools in Israel. The children answered questions about their favourite foods and holidays and their wishes for the future. The result is a single large quilt.

The second workshop was held at the Palestine Centre for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation. Young people created self portraits and wrote messages they wished to pass on to young people of Canada. There are a total of 12 pieces.

The third was organized by Tent of Nations, a Palestinian project which brings together youth of various cultures to build bridges of understanding, reconciliation and peace. It took place at the Bent Al-reef Empowerment Project which helps village women realize their full potential through education, work with families, health, feminism and creativity. There are 11 pieces.

Sima, facilitated the Middle East Peace Quilt, an international community art project made by about 300 people from all over the world. They were asked to create a quilt square in response to the question "What is your vision of peace in the Middle East?"

The Peace Quilt (actually 31 separate panels) has tour North America since 1999 and exhibited in churches, synagogues, community centres, civic buildings, private foundations, political organizations, summer camps, and fairs, as well as at university campuses, art galleries, and the National Archives of Canada.

Sima Elizabeth Shefrin is an artist and quilter who has been researching and practicing political stitchery for over 25 years. In 1999 she was the artist-coordinator of the Middle East Peace Quilt which has toured all over North America. She has worked for 18 years teaching and participating in peer counseling and listening projects. She is a member of the Palestinian/Jewish women for peace dialogue group.

Co-sponsor websites: and

Space is limited, to register online please visit our reservations page

Need to know:
- Admission is free (donations gratefully accepted)
- Doors open at 6:45 pm
- Sorry, not wheelchair accessible

Tasty refreshments (non-alcoholic) and oliveoil+za'atar dipping.

Beit Zatoun is a non-profit art & culture venue providing a platform for the social justice & human rights communities in Toronto & beyond.

612 Markham Street (right by Bathurst subway)

Saturday, 22 May 2010


Friends:  Just wanted to let you know about the events on the 25th.  Sallie
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Federal Court Building
180 Queen St. West
(west of University Ave, Osgoode subway)

Jeremy Hinzman was the first U.S. Iraq war resister to seek refuge in Canada because he refused to participate in the illegal and immoral Iraq war. After unsuccessfully trying to be reassigned or recognized as a conscientious objector by the U.S. military, Jeremy moved to Toronto with his wife and young son in January 2004. In 2008 they welcomed a new, Canadian daughter into their family. 
 A majority of Canadians have expressed their support for allowing Jeremy and other Iraq war resisters to stay in Canada. Yet Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister of Immigration Jason Kenney, who both wanted Canada to participate in the Iraq War, continue to try to deport resisters. War resisters Robin Long and Cliff Cornell were sentenced to long prison terms in U.S. military prisons because the Harper government refused to respect two House of Commons motions (passed June 3, 2008 and March 30, 2009) to stop deporting war resisters and to let them stay. Many other resisters, including Kim Rivera, Dean Walcott and Phil McDowell, live under the threat of deportation.

On May 25th, the Federal Court of Appeal will hold a hearing on Jeremy's case.

On the same day, the first hour of debate on Bill C-440 will take place in the House of Commons. Bill C-440 is a Private Member's Bill which was introduced by Gerard Kennedy and seconded by Bill Siksay. If passed, the Bill will give legal weight to the two motions on war resisters and would force the Conservative government to respect the will of Canadians and the will of Parliament and allow war resisters to stay.

On May 25th, JOIN THE RALLY to support Jeremy Hinzman, his family and all U.S. Iraq War resisters in Canada, and to call on the House of Commons to adopt Bill C-440.
It is time for the Harper government to respect democracy. It is time to let the war resisters stay!

Monday, 17 May 2010

Ontario Government moves towards recognizing non-profit commercial activity

Over at the Centre for Social Innovation Buzz blog, Tonya Surman reports that:

"At long last, the Not-for Profit Corporations Act has been introduced. The 'magnetic attractor' that galvanized the Ontario Nonprofit Network will, among other important governance issues, "allow not-for-profit corporations to engage in commercial activities where the revenues are reinvested in the corporation’s not-for-profit purposes."

This is huge in light of the original text and in the context of the growing federal concerns around nonprofits generating a planned surplus. A recognition that nonprofits can engage in commercial activities where revenues are reinvested in our social purpose is a huge step and reinforces the sectors efforts to build a stronger and more resilient nonprofit sector."

This is of special interest to us here, as we finalize the paperwork to make TorontoTheBetter a non-profit. Just imagine: we might not have to worry if TTB ever turns a profit, rather than just subsisting on the earnings of Libra Information Co-op's other projects...

For more commentary by Ms. Surman, see Bill 65 - Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, 2010 recognizes commercial activities for nonprofits in Ontario.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Book Launch: Izzeldin Abuelaish - I Shall Not Hate

Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is the doctor from Gaza whose three daughters were killed during the War on Gaza in January 2009.

He is a remarkable man who despite much suffering by him, his family and his people brings a message of forgiveness and love while advocating passionately for dignity and justice.

Dr. Abuelaish shares his story, his life in Gaza, working as a fertility specialist inside Israel and the terrible period in 2009 which has focused the world on the ongoing tragedy in Gaza and Palestine.

He will take questions following the talk and reading. Book signing will follow.

This is Dr. Abuelaish's first book. He lives in Toronto with his five remaining children. He is
an associate professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.

Space is limited, to register online please visit our reservations page

Need to know:
- Admission is free - Donations to Beit Zatoun gratefully accepted; $10 suggested
- Doors open at 7:15 pm
- Sorry, not wheelchair accessible
Tasty refreshments (non-alcoholic) and snacks with oliveoil+za'atar dipping.

Beit Zatoun is non-profit art & culture venue providing a platform for the social justice & human rights communities in Toronto & beyond.

612 Markham Street (right by Bathurst subway)


Monday, 10 May 2010

Words Towards A Better Toronto: fundraising exhibit & reading performance event, May 16th

TorontoTheBetter is dedicated to people and enterprises who challenge single bottom lines in business and in life.

One such enterprise is This Ain't the Rosedale Library, with its ongoing series of readings, author events, workshops, performances, lectures and launches.

This Ain't the Rosedale Library has graciously offered to host a TorontoTheBetter fundraising event.

We have decided to spread the goodwill by inviting TorontoTheBetter booksellers, musicians etc. to showcase their work during an exhibit and reading/performance event.

You are cordially invited to WORDS TOWARDS A BETTER TORONTO...

This Ain't The Rosdale Library; 86 Nassau St. in Kensington Market

Sunday, 16 May 2010, 2 to 6 PM

- An exhibit on the patio for TorontoTheBetter members involved in the business of words to showcase their services and sell their products, followed by a reading/performance event, for these entrepreneurs to talk about why they do what they do and to perform their work.

- Cedar Basket Gift Shop...Toronto's First Nations Owned and Operated Store, including books and music CDs, with proceeds going towards programs and services of the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto.
- Sara Marlowe...a downtown Toronto-based singer-songwriter performing social justice music, with an impressive itinerary of performing at community benefits, peace marches and "wherever voices are being raised for social justice."
- THIS Magazine...Canada's leading alternative periodical of politics, pop culture and the arts is offering a raffle for a free one year's subscription.
- John Warren of ALTER ECO Environmental Art...acoustic blues and folk, plus sculpture and jewellery made from recycled metal and found materials.
- Wasun...a Vaughan & Oakwood-based revolutionary hip hop artist aiming to educate the youth in the streets of Toronto.

- PWYC, suggested $5 contribution includes entry into raffle for THIS Magazine subscription and books & DVDS from Libra Information Worker Co-op. Additional raffle entries available for $2.

-- TorontoTheBetter is a non-profit initiative of Libra Information Worker Co-op, a unionized, multi-ethnic workers co-op serving the health and progressive sectors since 1989.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Reading & Film: Refusing to be Enemies at Beit Zatoun

New book by Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta of Burnaby, BC
Film by Laurie White of Ann Arbor, MI

Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta talks about her book, Refusing to be Enemies: Palestinian and Israeli Nonviolent Resistance to the Israeli Occupation, which presents the voices of over 100 practitioners and theorists of nonviolence. The vast majority are either Palestinian or Israeli reflecting on their own involvement in nonviolent resistance and speak about the nonviolent strategies and tactics employed by Palestinian and Israeli organizations, both in separate and in joint initiatives.

The book also includes essays by activists Ghassan Andoni (Palestinian), Jeff Halper (Israeli), Jonathan Kuttab (a Palestinian activist lawyer with international experience) and Starhawk (an “international” of Jewish background), and a foreword on the definition and nature of nonviolence by Toronto author Ursula Franklin.

Copies of a special early paperback edition will be available for purchase (commercial paperback not available until late 2010).

White's film, Refusing to be Enemies: The Zeitouna Story is a 58-minute documentary about a group of twelve women living in Michigan calling themselves “Zeitouna,” the Arabic word for "olive tree." Six Palestinians and six Jews, "some of the women are American-born, others are immigrants; one is a Holocaust survivor, another is a survivor of the Nakbah’s terror; their ages span 40 years. Filmmaker Laurie White is a founding member of Zeitouna. Her camera became an invisible member of this sisterhood, capturing the interior of this sacred space without ever upsetting and altering the fragile process of the group’s awakening. The film does not attempt to answer questions of right and wrong, or how to break the deadlock of the Middle East conflict. Instead it offers living proof of how the journey of personal transformation may pave the way to socio-political transformation and peace."

Doors open at 6:30pm on Thursday May 6th and the event will run until 9:00pm. Admission by donation ($5 suggested) & refreshements included in admission.

Beit Zatoun is a registered non-profit culture and art venue providing gallery and performance space for the justice and human rights community in Toronto. It aims to raise awareness and create greater understanding as the ultimate means to peace.

We are located at 612 Markham Street (right by the Bathurst subway stop). For details, please visit or e-mail us at