News and Articles

International Migrants Day

Julie-Richard_Migrants_Dec18
Photo courtesy of Julie Richard
Articles
December 17, 2020

Every year, on December 18, we observe International Migrants Day. Today, we stand with migrants who have fled their homes in search of safety, security, opportunity and community. We stand with migrants whose journeys ended too soon and migrants detained or separated from family. Migrants’ journeys and stories are intricate and complex. They remind us of their individuality and humanity while embodying the call for collective action to demand greater protection of basic human rights and dignity.

The rhetoric surrounding migrants is too often focused on the perceived pitfalls of difference. Today, and everyday, we are reminded to challenge these rhetorics. We challenge ourselves to see difference as a positive – as opportunity and abundance. To move away from labels that reduce migrants to being only migrants. We challenge ourselves to see migrants as individuals with vast experiences, stories to tell, and we welcome them in hopes of building inclusive and diverse communities. 

During these unprecedented times, our sense of belonging and community has drastically shifted. We are also experiencing various uncertainties, related to healthcare, income security, and isolation. For migrants and asylum seekers, these concerns are often heightened and are left unaddressed. 

Amidst the challenges of the pandemic, we are seeing the world collectively move towards virtual community-building, engagement and solidarity. These shifts convey our collective strength, one that reminds us that together, we are better. Our Common Threads program, committed to forming positive narratives around forced migration, has adapted itself in an effort to continue building social connectedness with newcomers amid times of physical distancing. In August, we held our first virtual Zoom Welcome Session, and have since continued to hold bi-weekly sessions.. To accommodate and include as many people as possible, we’ve held breakout rooms of different languages, thanks to the diversity of our volunteers.  Although these sessions have been very different from those we are accustomed to, we have found that virtual sessions still offer a sense of belonging and community for both migrants and volunteers alike. 

If you are familiar with Montreal and are interested in being involved in our Welcome Sessions, you can sign up here! If you are new to Montreal and interested in learning more about the city and joining one of our Welcome Sessions, you can sign up here.