Planning is underway for the 3rd annual festival, to be held the week of March 23-29, 2015. Details will be posted as they become available, so check back in the new year!
These are some of the organizations involved in putting on the 2014 Prisoners’ Justice Film Festival:
Amnesty Western is a youth branch of Amnesty International Canada. It is a non-profit, human rights organization, which works to end human rights violations world-wide. Amnesty at Western has over 150 student members and holds several great events throughout the school year to spread awareness to our members and to the rest of the Western community. By joining you have the chance to speak out and stand up for human rights at UWO, in London, in Canada and the World. “Keep the Light on Human Rights.”
Asl Learning London is proud to be a sponsor of Prisoners of Justice Film Festival! We know the challenges of finding assistance financially in regards to affordable interpreters for non-profit and small business, to make events Deaf accessible within the London Community. Asl Learning London would like to do it’s part in assisting non-profit organizations, to hold Deaf Accessible events. ASL Learning London is selling KEEP CALM AND SIGN ON … t-shirts. For more information please contact: http://www.asl-learning-london.com/
At^lohsa (Ate^nlos) means “Friends” in the Onyota’ a:ka language. The name was chosen to reflect the desire of Ate^nlos to provide support, understanding, education, intervention and prevention to victims of family violence. Website: www.atlohsa.com
International Network in Solidarity with Colombian Political Prisoners is comprised of national and international organizations that work for the immediate release of all the political prisoners of war and of conscience held in the nation’s prisons or abroad, realizing that they are the result of the internal armed conflict, of the application of state terrorism, the persecution and criminalization of social protest. The INSPP calls on the international community to mobilize for a political solution to the conflict, for the structural changes and the democratization of political spaces for peace with social justice. Website: www.inspp.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Latin American Canadian Solidarity Association (LACASA) is a non-profit group of concerned citizens of Canadian and Latin American origin who want to work on issues of social justice, economic equality, human and labour rights, and peace, that affect us all as residents of the Americas. Of particular interest are issues like mining, political prisoners in Colombia and other LA countries; solidarity with the Student Movements in Chile and Quebec; refugee and immigrant rights; opposition to “free” trade deals and support for Fair Trade. We have been involved in a number of International Campaigns around these issues and work in close partnership with several NGOs such as Amnesty, Council of Canadians, The Centre for Social Concern at King`s College, SURLA, No One Is Illegal, Rights Action, Mining Injustice Network, INSPP, and Free the Cuban Five.Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/120917671379270/ Email: email@example.com
London Area Network of Substance Users (LANSU) is an organization of past & present substance users who are united to create lives free from judgement, discrimination, harm & criminalization. Website: http://lansu100.weebly.com/
The Muslim Students’ Association at Western University, works toward fostering an inclusive environment for all individuals on campus, who are either interested in strengthening their Muslim identity or interested in learning about Islam. The programs, events and services provided by Western MSA are conducive to creativity, leadership, excellence and professionalism to empower students to reach their potential: physically, emotionally, socially, mentally and spiritually. The purpose of the MSA is to assist in improving the Muslim student experience at Western University and to empowering students to build a stronger and prosperous community for the future.In addition to serving its local Muslim community, Western MSA also serves a global cause by sponsoring orphans in developing countries. Currently, the MSA also acts to raise money by organizing a variety of initiatives in order to sustain annual funds for orphans around the world. Website: http://www.westernmsa.com/
People for Peace, London is an ad hoc collection of individuals and groups who came together to oppose the illegal invasion of Iraq, and have protested the war ever since. We also support the campaign to end secret trials (a.k.a. “security certificates”) in Canada and the Caravan to end Canadian involvement in torture.
PFLAG Canada London supports, educates and provides resources to anyone with questions or concerns. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. PFLAG Canada London is one of the local voices that speaks for a more accepting Canadian society by providing support, education and resources on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. Contact: For more information in regard to the meetings or to reach out and be in touch for support and resources contact: Joanne King (519-319-6934) or Lori Ward (519-686-7691)
SafeSpace is a volunteer run support centre for sex workers, allies and women in crisis operating since 2009 with a model of empowerment and a compassionate harm-reduction mandate with the goal of meeting women where they’re at and helping sex workers operate with safety and with dignity. SafeSpace provides donations of safe sex and drug use materials as well as HIV & STI/STD educational resources, cosmetics, clothes, hygienic goods, first aid, food, coffee, tea, and information about current services in London. We recognize a person’s right to choose or refuse sex work and we work to educate the public about sex work in London as well as promoting the decriminalization of sex work. While the space is generally for (past/present/future) women only, it is also open to male sex-workers.
Facebook.com/safespace.london – @SafeSpaceLondon on Twitter -firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, February 1 – 2-3:30 pm (Central Library – Stevenson & Hunt B)
Co-sponsored by: At^lohsa and Deshkan Ziibi
For years, communities have pointed to the high number of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada. Recently, a new database, the first comprehensive and fully public list of missing and murdered Aboriginal women has been established, listing 824 missing or murdered Indigenous women who were Inuit, Métis or First Nations.
Indigenous women face life-threatening, gender-based violence, and disproportionately experience violent crimes because of hatred and racism. Furthermore, Indigenous females are over-represented in the prison system. They are held in higher security and serve longer sentences than non-Indigenous women. Prison conditions for Indigenous women are much more difficult because of racism and on-going colonization. Gloria Alvarez- Mulcahy will facilitate a series of films and discussions.
Gloria Alvernaz Mulcahy is of Tsalagi Aniyunwiya (Cherokee) ancestry and was born in the Monterrey Bay area on the Pacific coast. Gloria is the President of the Deshkan Ziibi Native Women’s Association and was active in Vision Quest in the Downtown East Side (Vancouver). She became a member of the League of Canadian Poets after her first book of poetry – Songs that Untune the Sky. Alvernaz Mulcahy has a PhD from the University of Maryland and is presently at the University of Western Ontario. She is co-author of several poetry books and various CDs with sound poet P. Kemp and is also a mixed media artist, musician, and curator for the Centre for Creativity, King’s University College. Her new book, Borderlands & Bloodlines, focuses on her indigenous roots.
Friday, February 7th 4:30-6:30pm (Conron Hall, Western University)
Film Screening: Proteus with guest speaker John Greyson (director)
Canadian filmmaker John Greyson teams up with South African activist Jack Lewis to direct the period romantic drama Proteus. Based on a true story from 1735, the story involves a forbidden love affair between two prisoners in a colony near Cape Town. Black servant Claas Blank (Rouxnet Brown) is arrested for stealing back his own cattle from a white man. Because he has learned to speak English and Dutch, he is allowed to help European botanist Virgil Niven (Shaun Smyth) cultivate flowers. Part of his punishment is fetching water with white Dutch prisoner Jacobsz (Neil Sandilands), who eventually becomes his lover. After Niven leaves the colony, Blank and Jacobsz are caught and forced to confess. Proteus was shown at the 2003 Toronto Film Festival.
Co-sponsored by: Prisoners Justice Film Festival and Emergence Queer Arts Festival
Sunday, February 2nd – 1pm – 4pm (Tolpuddle Meeting Room – 380 Adelaide St. N)
Crisis Point: Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre (1pm-3pm) and Intersecting Movements and the Prison Industrial Complex (3pm-4pm)
The final day of the Prisoners Justice Film Festival (PJFF) will include a screening of the short film, “Daisy: A Story of Hope” by Peter Collins. This will be followed by a presentation from Kevin Egan, the lawyer litigating the class action suit against EMDC. Giselle Dias will engage in a dialogue with Kevin about the current situation in EMDC, and his experience in litigating the case. Giselle will be speaking about her 20 years of experience working with prisoners and victims and her political understanding of the prison industrial complex. This discussion will be moderated by Naomi Sayers (activist and Indigenous feminist). The discussion will actively engage the audience in dialogue (for those interested) while interweaving the topics presented throughout the duration of the PJFF.
The crisis at Elgin Middlesex Detention Center has been going on for too long. Despite inquests, increased complaints by guards, prisoners and family members of prisoners: overcrowding, violence, poor medical care, lack of resources for staff continue to plague the prison. On February 2nd, Kevin Egan will be speaking about his work on behalf of prisoners at EMDC. Over 150 inmates and former inmates of Ontario institutions have suffered abuse and extreme violence while imprisoned on behalf of the State. In late 2013, McKenzie Lake Lawyers served the Crown with a class action lawsuit claiming, among other things, that inmates’ rights, guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, have been violated.
Rehabilitation of Daisy: A Story of Hope by Peter Collins (an artist, activist scholar and federal prisoner serving a life sentence at Bath Prison). Daisy is a flower that becomes causality to Harpers “Tough on Crime” agenda.
Kevin Egan is a partner at McKenzie Lake Lawyers LLP and has always had a strong interest in social justice. Kevin is interested in finding solutions for those who have suffered a personal injury. In addition to the more traditional areas of personal injury law, his recent legal work has brought him to the emerging area of “Charter Torts”. He first became involved with seeking remedies under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms following the 2009 homicide death of an inmate at the Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre. He now represents a very large number of victims of police or prison system misconduct in Ontario in which we are seeking constitutional and other remedies. Additionally, Kevin has significant experience in the areas of labour and employment, workplace safety and insurance, disability insurance, human rights, and criminal and provincial offences. Kevin’s practice also includes assault and battery, historic sexual assault, medical malpractice and negligent investigation claims against police and other investigators.
Giselle Dias has been actively working on social justice issues for the past 20 years. She is passionate about helping create a better world that focuses on relationships and interdependency. Giselle believes in creating alternative systems that work outside of conventional norms and therefore works from an anti-colonial, anti-racist, feminist, gender-queer framework. She has worked in a variety of community organizations that have focused on issues ranging from transformative justice, harm reduction, victims and prisoners’ rights, 2-spirit, queer and trans communities, HIV/AIDS/HCV and penal abolition. Giselle has been involved in community organizing, community development, systemic advocacy, counseling and support for most of her life. In 2010, she made a decision to start a private psychotherapy practice and has been settled into her comfortable, cozy office since.
Naomi Sayers is an activist and Indigenous feminist from the Garden River First Nation, just east of Sault Ste. Marie ON. She is also the creator of www.kwetoday.com. Currently, she is in her fourth year of studies at Western University for the honors specialization in criminology program with a minor in women’s studies. In the fall, she is planning on attending the University of Ottawa Common Law Program. Her motto is: Tell me I can’t and I will show you I can.
A note from Kevin Egan:
In 2009, Randy Drysdale died while incarcerated at Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre. The Ministry in charge of the jail initially labeled his death an “accident”. Randy’s mother, brothers, and sisters approached me to represent them at the mandatory inquest. It took more than 2 years after his death for the inquest to finally get underway. Over the course of that inquest, I came to realize the deplorable conditions present at the jail. I was shocked by the poor physical design, overcrowded conditions, lack of proper supervision and medical care, the disdain for inmates’ human rights, and the pervasive culture of fear and violence. The Ministry lawyers, the Crown, and other lawyers participating in the inquest all advanced a theory that Randy Drysdale had somehow slipped and fell in the washroom, causing such a severe brain injury that he died from internal bleeding a few days later. This was despite evidence that he had, in fact, been punched in the head by two or more inmates, rendered unconscious and then dragged to the washroom area. The evidence also showed that there was an “inmates’ code” at work in the prison system. Simply put, if you were beaten up, you didn’t say anything or you would get it worse the next time. Inmates seemed to be aware that the guards could not or would not offer them any protection against being assaulted.
I was the only lawyer at the inquest who argued Randy Drysdale was the victim of a homicide. The jury agreed with me. Flowing from the Drysdale inquest, and an earlier inquest that year into the death of Laura Straughan, a number of recommendations were made to prevent similar deaths from occurring in the future. The recommendations made in the Fall of 2011 included the installation of video cameras, monitoring the cameras in real time, better communications systems, more staffing, more training, better health care, and 24/7 nursing staff.
We are now in 2014 and very few of the recommendations have been fully implemented or even accepted as necessary by the government. It’s alarming to realize that conditions now are worse than ever before. Beatings occur on a regular basis. Inmates are locked down for days at a time. They are denied medications and proper medical treatment.
This past Halloween night, another brutal murder took place. Eyewitnesses to his murder have told me that Adam Kargus was assaulted over a period of several hours. No guards were present to intervene. The guards not only did not see what was going on – they didn’t even find Adam Kargus’ body until approximately 12 hours after he had been killed. I will now, regrettably, be representing yet another family whose loved one has been the victim of homicide while in the care and custody of our government. The details that will emerge in regard to Adam’s death are absolutely terrifying and will shock anyone who suffers under the impression that we are a civilized society.
I now represent well over 150 inmates and former inmates of Ontario institutions who have suffered abuse and extreme violence while a “guest” of her Majesty. In late 2013, we served the Crown with a class action lawsuit claiming, among other things, that inmates’ rights, guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, have been violated.
Saturday, February 1, 7-9:30pm @ Central Library, Stevenson & Hunt B
Co-sponsored by Safe Space London
On December 20, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down all three prostitution laws thereby creating more safety and justice for sex workers on Turtle Island (Canada). The Bedford decision is the largest victory in Canadian history for sex work. Please join us in discussions about the Bedford case, the reality of decriminalization and the effect of on sex work/sex workers.
We will be showing the following films:
Remember the Living: Monica Forrester on Sisters in Spirit and Indigenous Sex Workers
In this film Monica asks us to honour and grieve the Indigenous trans sisters in the sex industry that we’ve lost due to systemic abuse and neglect, to demand more–and to remember those who are still living!
Voices for Dignity
For years Pivot Legal Society, Sex Workers United Against Violence and the PACE Society have been fighting for the rights of sex workers. That fight led to intervening in the Bedford case at the Supreme Court of Canada in June of 2013, and on December 20th, 2013 the Supreme Court of Canada released their historic decision.
Negotiating Sex Workers Rights in Calcutta
A short clip about a sex worker owned co-operative in Calcutta India.
Mandatory HIV Testing
A short clip about the fight against mandatory HIV testing for incarcerated sex workers.
Naomi Sayers is an activist and Indigenous Feminist from the Garden River First Nations, just east of Sault Ste Marie ON. She is also creator of http://www.kwetoday.com. Currently, she is in her fourth year of studies at Western University for the honors specialization in criminology program with a minor in women’s studies. Her motto is: Tell me I can’t and I will show you I can.
Janelle Flemming is a babe-a-licious radical feminist sex worker, visual artist, Sensual Pro-Domme, and writer. She is passionate about fat acceptance, body love, anti-oppression activism, erections, sexual freedom, women’s liberation, cycling everywhere, urban farming, and good typography. She lives and works in Toronto, where she mostly cycles, swims, cooks and plots world domination on Facebook and twitter. To hire her or learn more, please visit janelleflemming.com
Alice Teply is a Social Work graduate from Kings University college and has been engaged in numerous activist activities. Notably No One Is Illegal London, which is a grassroots anti-racist organization that works in solidarity with migrants without status, refugees, and the Indigenous community. She has also been a coordinator at Safe Space, a drop in center for sex workers.
Holly Weaver is a founding coordinator of SafeSpace, a volunteer run support centre for sex workers, allies and women in crisis currently operating out of EVAC at 757 Dundas. SafeSpace has been operating since 2009. It’s model is one of empowerment with the goal of meeting women where they’re at and helping sex workers operate with safety and with dignity. SafeSpace recognises a person’s right to choose or refuse sex work and we work to educate the public about sex work in London as well as promoting the decriminalization of sex work. While the space is generally for (past/present/future) women only, it is also open to male sex-workers.
Lisa Kerr is a doctoral candidate and Trudeau Foundation Scholar at New York University, where she also completed an LL.M. in 2009. Her first law degree is from the University of British Columbia, where she graduated in 2005 before clerking at the B.C Court of Appeal. Lisa articled at Fasken Martineau and worked as a staff lawyer at Prisoners’ Legal Services in Abbotsford, pursuing strategic litigation on human rights issues in federal and provincial prisons. Her doctoral research is a comparative study of the ways that legal systems regulate prisons. Lisa works with Pivot Legal Society in pursuit of the decriminalization of sex work in Canada.
Political Prisoners in Latin America, 4-6pm @ Central Library, Stevenson & Hunt B
Struggle of the Mapuche People in Chile: A short documentary on the struggle of the Mapuche indigenous people of Chile to recover their land and their clashes with the multinational logging companies and the Chilean police. Many Mapuche activists are now political prisoners, prosecuted and detained under the anti terrorist law that was created by Pinochet.
A Jail in Columbia: A look inside the La Modelo prison in Bogota, Colombia. Called a “model” prison by Colombia officials the prison in reality is controlled more by the prisoners than the guards. With 5000 prisoners for 2400 spots.and not more than 150 security guards assigned to the prison. The prison is awash in violence, and drugs. Last year, 162 prisoners were killed there. The prison is controlled by members of the guerrilla movement, paramilitary forces, and cocaine traffickers. They have broken the prison up into three different territories and each group has it’s own security forces, defending it’s own territory. In the current context of the peace process between the government of Colombia and the FARC-EP, it is important to remember that more than 9,500 men and women are political prisoners– a consequence of the internal armed conflict that has been going on for more than six decades. The political prisoners are still victims of torture, overcrowding, and cruel, degrading treatment. Their dignity and human rights are constantly violated and their status as political prisoners is not recognized by the Colombian state. This film by Paul Comiti shows how critical living conditions are for political prisoners.
PBI interviews the president of the Political Prisoner Solidarity Committee Foundation about the prison situation in Colombia: The political prisoners in Colombia are: 1. Political prisoners of war, who have taken up arms against the state 2. Political prisoners of conscience, men and women who have been persecuted, criminalized and imprisoned for their ideas, their work, or their dissident political views against the regime 3. The ordinary men and women who have been victims of “illegal arrangements” in the development of police and military operations and are stigmatized as guerrilla “helpers”. The issue of political prisoners is fundamentally important in the context of the peace talks between FARC- EP and the Colombian government presently taking place in Havana, Cuba. The prisoners of war and conscience held in Colombian prisons or abroad are the result of the internal armed conflict, state terrorism, and the persecution and criminalization of social protest.
Co-sponsored by: Latin American-Canadian Solidarity Association (LACASA) and the International Network in Solidarity with Colombian Political Prisoners (INSPP)