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Jose Figueroa, a Canadian-Salvadorean currently fighting a deportation order in Langly, BC, is a loving father of three and has lived in Canada for 15 years. He had applied to live in Canada long ago because he faced danger in El Salvador, having stood up against a repressive military dictatorship during a violent civil war there. Canada accepted him on these grounds, but 13 years later, the government wants to deport him based on the same reason he was accepted into Canada, and because of a mistaken view of both who Jose is and the politics of El Salvador. Jose joined a Guelph community panel on May Day via Skype to share his story and talk about his We Are Jose campaign.
These recordings were taken at this year's 5th annual May Day Potluck Dinner and Panel in Guelph, Ontario. This year's potluck focused on the heightened climate of immigration detention and deportation of racialized individuals throughout Turtle Island. Speakers included Jose Figueroa, and there was a spoken word performance by Janice Lee.
BACKGROUND: May Day is an annual event celebrated on May 1st. It’s a day devoted to workers’ rights, and the honouring of those participating in the struggles of working-class people throughout the world and history. May Day is also known as International Workers Day and is celebrated around the world; in some countries as an official holiday. May Day first became an official holiday in the 1880s in the United States, with the fight for an eight-hour work day.
Guelph-based all-volunteer-run migrant worker advocacy group Fuwersa/Puwersa has been organizing May Day potluck dinners in Guelph since 2009 to build momentum on the rallies happening in Toronto on May 1st while bringing in speakers from various places throughout Ontario, Turtle Island to Guelph to talk about the labour rights of (im)migrants and non status workers on Turtle Island.