Today, on December 18, 2020, the world commemorates International Migrant Day. A day to remember migrant’s resilience in the face of hardship and the contributions of many who have made Canada their home from all corners of the world. A day to remember and reiterate the need to respect the rights and dignity of all peoples regardless of immigration status.
More people than ever before live in a country other than the one they were born in. An estimated 272 million migrants are members of our society today, and Canada is known for having the highest immigration rate per capita amongst the western nations. Particularly, we thrive in the efforts of becoming a welcoming society able to provide safe and inclusive spaces for LGBTQI individuals seeking to live their lives free from prejudice, discrimination, and violence.
During these hard times of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people from all backgrounds have shown a tremendous amount of solidarity, generosity, and care for others. Migrant and racialized workers have come forward on the frontlines making sure we can access food and resources, and care for the elderly and the sick. They have risked their lives in support of our society, our lives, and our economies.
In recognition of the “extraordinary contribution of asylum claimants working in Canada’s health-care sector during the COVID-19 pandemic…”, Minister Medicino extended a pathway to permanent residency  to all who meet the criteria. Communities and organizations working and supporting migrants, welcomed this pathway as a good start in regularizing and extending status for all, particularly when our immigration targets will not be met due to border closures this year. Although we recognized there’s more that can and needs to be done to broaden the eligibility criteria, this is a message to us all to appreciate, and recognize those who are directly invested and contribute to our survival.
MCC Toronto is a diverse, inclusive, community of faith with people from all nations. Either we gather in the Sanctuary to worship together (before COVID-19 times) or on our electronic devices, here in Canada or elsewhere, our community thrives together.
Let us come together once more as the year comes to an end to really see each other and hold each other in our differences and shared experiences. Let us celebrate the beautifulness, resilience and heroism found in our migrant communities. Let us be transformed by the relationships we create with people from around the world. Let us welcome the stranger as our extended chosen family.
– Aleks Dughman-Manzur,
Director of the LGBTQ+ Refugee Programs
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