A reminder: tomorrow, July 8, US war resister Kim Rivera and her family will be in federal court. Their lawyer, Alyssa Manning, will argue an appeal of the negative decision on Kim's Pre-Removal Risk Assessment.
If you live in or near Toronto or San Francisco, you can show your support for Kim, and for all the war resisters, in person.
When: Wednesday, July 8, 2009, 8:00 a.m.
Where: 180 Queen St. West, west of University Ave (subway: Osgoode)
In San Francisco:
When: Wednesday, July 8, 2009, 12:00 to 1:30 p.m.
Where: Canadian Consulate, 580 California Street, San Francisco
Kimberly Rivera served in Iraq, and was appalled by what she witnessed there. When she saw the traumatized face of a little Iraqi girl, she thought of her own daughter, waiting for her at home. Kim realized that if she continued to participate in the war, she might make a small child lose her parent - maybe her own child, maybe some other little girl. Either way, she knew she couldn't do it. She wouldn't do it.
Back in the US on leave, Kim was tormented by nightmares and depression. She was horrified that people in her hometown in Texas thought she was a hero. She knew she couldn't go back to the war, but she had no idea where she could go instead.
Kim and her husband Mario packed up their little car and their two children, and they drove. They drove east, then north, still not sure of their destination, and with no idea what they would find. In February 2007, they crossed the Rainbow Bridge to Canada.
Since then, Kim has become a constant voice for peace. She is a regular fixture at every meeting of the War Resister Support Campaign, attends every rally, function and fundraiser - whether or not it relates to her own situation, speaks to media at every opportunity, and supports all her fellow war resisters in any way she can. Kim has become active in her Parkdale neighbourhood, and enjoys the support of all her neighbours, many of whom are refugees themselves.
In November 2008, Kim and Mario had another child, little Katie Marie, a Canadian citizen (who also attends all our meetings). The Riveras don't have much money, and their life is hard in many ways. But, Kim says, it's a life of peace and community, and that's what counts.
If Kim is deported, she will be court-martialed and likely face a long sentence in military prison. Because she didn't want to make a child motherless or fatherless.
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Polls show that 64% - nearly two-thirds - of Canadians support the Iraq War resisters, and believe they should be allowed to remain in Canada.
The House of Commons has twice passed a motion - in June 200 and March 2009 - calling on the Government to stop deporting war resisters and let them become permanent residents of Canada.
Yet the minority Harper government continues to thwart democracy. The Riveras face deportation, along with several other war resister families, including Jeremy Hinzman and his family.
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If you can make it to the vigil or demo tomorrow, please do.
If you can't, please show your support in any way you can: write your MP, write Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney (and cc the Immigration critics), write a letter to your local newspaper, post on your blog, alert your friends on Facebook or Twitter.
Will Canada deport a mother of three young children and send her to prison, because she refused to kill?
Is this the country you want Canada to be?