Sunday, April 26
12pm – 5pm est (depending on time zones)
On Sunday April 26, migrant justice & prison justice groups from coast to coast will again be coming together to demand the immediate release of everyone still being held inside Canada’s prisons, jails, and migrant detention centres as well as demanding status for all! Sunday’s action comes on the heels of previous caravans to specific institutions in March and April, as well as last Sunday’s coast-to-coast caravan organized under the title #FreethemAllCaravan.
In cities across the country, COVID-19 safe solidarity caravans will drive to prisons, jails, and migrant detention centres in multiple cities. Participating cities include Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver. The caravans plan to honk their horns, make noise, and hold signs to show solidarity with those inside, as well as demand their release by posting photos and videos online using the #FreeThemAllCaravan hashtag (along with #StatusForAll & #FreeThemAll).
For those who can’t participate in the caravans, we’re asking everyone to please post photos of themselves holding support statements & using the same hashtags (#FreeThemAllCaravan #StatusForAll #FreeThemAll) to show your solidarity with the urgent need to free all prisoners.
— For those looking to join the Tio’tia:ke / Montreal event, please message firstname.lastname@example.org
— For those looking to join the Algonquin Territory / Ottawa event, please message email@example.com
— Vancouver https://www.facebook.com/events/1145408909134769
— Toronto https://www.facebook.com/events/290164021976097/
— Please message Anti-Carceral Group to add your city’s contact info to this event
Social distancing is impossible inside prisons and detention centres and those inside remain at high risk of contracting COVID-19. There are now over 300 confirmed cases of COVID-19 linked to Canadian carceral institutions around the country. There have also been cases confirmed in Laval and Toronto detention centres for migrants. On April 16th, the Correctional Service of Canada confirmed that an inmate at BC’s Mission Institution prison had died due to COVID-19, with over 50 other inmates testing positive for the virus. In Quebec, 50 inmates at Joliette Prison for women, and FTC Medium, have tested positive. Many prisons remain on lockdown as a “safety” measure, confining prisoners to their cells for all but a half hour a day. The effects on prisoners’ mental and physical health are grave.
From the moment states of emergency were called in Canada mid-March, there has been a consensus among prisoner advocates, prison justice activists, migrant justice activists, and abolitionists about the measures that need to be taken to keep people safe. These include releasing as many prisoners as possible, as soon as possible, and providing sanitary products and personal protective equipment to all remaining prisoners. In spite of this, federal Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair has refused to act – or even provide a plan. No more than a handful of prisoners have been released, and safety measures in prisons remain inadequate.
The prison system in Canada disproportionately incarcerates Indigenous people, Black people, people of colour, people living with mental illness, and people living in poverty. In the face of Minister Blair’s inaction, we continue to show our solidarity with all incarcerated people and demand the immediate release of everyone still being held inside Canada’s prisons, jails, and migrant detention centres as well as demanding status for all.