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Support Sex Workers at Dec 17th Action and Vigil

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ACTION SANTÉ, TRAVESTI(E)S ET TRANSSEXUEL(LE)S DU QUÉBEC (ASTTeQ), RÉZO AND STELLA, L’AMIE DE MAIMIE have invited sex workers, those who work with sex workers, and allies to join in a walk and vigil this December 17th, the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

Last year, sex workers and allies celebrated a huge victory when the Supreme Court recognized that criminal laws contribute to systemic violence that sex workers experience, and declared those laws unconstitutional (check out this link for more information). This year, however, the federal government introduced a new set of laws (known collectively as C-36) which came into effect on December 6th and will once again cause harm to sex workers – compromising safety, security, and dignity.

C-36 is a big concern for us and the folks we work alongside with on a daily basis. We here at Head & Hands, an organization committed to harm and risk reduction, believe that C-36 will lead to increased surveillance and criminalization of marginalized and racialized communities – trends we are already fighting against! C-36 is a strong reminder as to the importance of our Street Work program, our legal clinic, our work against racial profiling, and our commitment to underscoring the strength and resilience of our communities. These laws also remind us that the fight for safe working conditions, decriminalization, and dignity for sex workers is rooted in demands to end to gendered, racialized, systemic violence. The fight continues.

With the passage of C-36 , we at Head & Hands, along with ACTION SANTÉ, TRAVESTI(E)S ET TRANSSEXUEL(LE)S DU QUÉBEC (ASTTeQ), RÉZO AND STELLA, L’AMIE DE MAIMIE are calling for people to come together  to demand safe working conditions for sex workers.

We encourage you to learn more about the incredible work STELLA is doing, about Bedford v. Canada, and about the devastating laws under C-36.

We are calling upon you to come out in numbers on Dec 17th to support sex workers and call for an end to gendered, racialized, systemic violence. We are looking forward to seeing you tomorrow!

 

When: December 17th, 2014, 4:30pm-5:30pm

 

Meeting point @ 4:30pm

Montreal Municipal Court

775 rue Gosford, Montréal

(Champs de Mars metro)

 

Vigil afterwards

Palais de Justice

1 Rue Notre-Dame East, Montréal

Racial Profiling & Know Your Rights: New Video Resources!

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know Your RightsThese past few months, racial profiling and police violence have been in the international media spotlight. The murder of unarmed teenager Mike Brown, the acquittal of the police officer responsible for his death, and the resulting popular mobilizations in Ferguson have all shed light on this issue.

For youth of colour in Montreal, racial profiling and police harassment have been parts of their daily reality for years. In the last two decades, Montreal police have killed at least 47 civilians – including unarmed teenager Fredy Villanueva in 2008. The police report commissioned in response to Villanueva’s death concluded that Black youth in Montreal are eight times more likely to be stopped by police than White youth of the same age.

If you or someone you know has experienced racial profiling, Head & Hands can support in a few different ways (free of charge for youth 12-25, like all our services):

-Through active listening and non-judgmental conversation, we create safe spaces to be heard, acknowledge the trauma caused by racial profiling, and let youth know they aren’t alone in these experiences

-Through individual support from our Legal Coordinator, we empower young people to follow up on experiences of racial profiling, explaining their options and helping them navigate bureaucracy (for example, in order to file official complaints or contest unjustified tickets)

-Through our workshops and published resources, we educate youth and communities around how to react when they face racial profiling, by providing information about rights and responsibilities as well as strategies for conflict de-escalation

This week, we are very excited to launch our “Know Your Rights” video series – a new resource intended to share key information from our legal program with a broader audience, and spark conversations around this important issue. Each of these video capsules contains strategies for asserting your rights and de-escalating tense interactions, including “Interacting with Police” and “Loitering & Arrest“.

To request support, book a workshop, or get more information about our full range of legal support services, click here or call Ralph at 514-481-0277.

Know Your Rights: Interacting with the Police

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This week, Head & Hands would like to remind you of your basic rights when interacting with the police:

  • You can stay silent and refuse to talk to police or answer their questions, unless you are in a bar or a movie theatre, driving a car, or they say you broke the law. In those cases, you must give your name, birth date, and address, or show your ID, but you do not have to say more.
  • You can say no if police ask to search you or your belongings. Saying no does not mean you have something to hide.
  • You can leave unless you are being detained or arrested.
  • If you are being detained or arrested, you have the right to know why, and the right to speak to a lawyer in private without delay, even if you can’t pay.
  • You can only be strip-searched in private and by officers of the “same” sex.
  • You have the right to know an officer’s name and badge number.
  • You can report an officer who abuses you, swears at you, or violates your rights.

At Head & Hands, our legal services include information, support, and accompaniment in the case of arrest or violation of rights. We also have twice weekly, by-appointment legal clinics where you can get legal advice from a lawyer, and we offer community workshops on a variety of legal issues.

The above legal information is based on Pivot Legal‘s  “Statement for Police” cards, available at our offices. These cards can be read aloud and then given to police in case of detention or arrest.

The above information should not be taken as legal advice or relied upon in legal proceedings–if you require legal advice, you should contact a lawyer.

Did You Know?

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A lot of you probably know about services like our medical and legal clinics, counseling, and Sense Project sexual health workshops–at least based on how many phone calls we get about them! Today we’d like to highlight a few of our less visible services. Did you know that Head & Hands offers…

  • Accompaniment! Sometimes life throws you situations that can be confusing or scary.  Our team is available to go with you to your abortion appointment or court date to provide support and help clarify the process.
  • Tons of community workshops! Besides sex ed, we’ve got workshops on racial profiling, legal rights, drugs, healthy boundaries, and relationships. We are often able to tailor workshops to the needs of your school, group home, community centre, or organization. One example? “Paddling the Pink Canoe: The Importance of Talking About Female Sexual Pleasure.”
  • Food Pantry! Up to twice a month, youth can drop by the main offices to pick up groceries intended to last 1-2 days in emergency situations.
  • Free tutoring! Every fall, we match students aged 12 – 18 with volunteer tutors based on scheduling and subject. The pairs work together weekly at Head & Hands.