[Marxism] redux: Bring Wendy Maxwell Back Home!
info at kersplebedeb.com
Thu Mar 24 09:04:03 MST 2005
i apologize for sending this twice, if you have already received it, but
it has not shown up in my inbox so i am assuming that it got lost in
cyberspace when i sent it to the Marxism list last night:
PLEASE FORWARD * URGENT ALERT * PLEASE FORWARD * URGENT ALERT
BRING WENDY MAXWELL BACK HOME!!!
STOP RACIST DEPORTATIONS!!!
On March 5th community activist Wendy Maxwell, aka Nzinga, was arrested
by Toronto cops while selling cookies at an International Women's Day event.
What was her crime? Being a queer Black "non-status" immigrant from
Costa Rica; being a woman who could and would stand up for herself and
Maxwell originally came to Canada in 1997, thinking she had made
arrangements to work as a bartender. When she arrived she found she was
in fact expected to work as an exotic dancer. Until 1997 "exotic dancer"
was a special category under which Immigration Canada allowed women to
work in Canada. This arrangement made it particularly difficult for
immigrant women to leave the industry, or defend their rights.
Nevertheless, after 18 months Maxwell managed to leave her job, and
applied for refugee status. As a Black queer woman who had previously
had run-ins with a gang and with the police in her native Costa Rica,
Maxwell feared for her safety were she to return to her country of
birth. This was not a decision she took lightly, as she has childen in
Costa Rica, and staying in Canada meant being separated from them.
In December 2003 Maxwell's claim for refugee status was denied, and an
order was issued for her deportation. Although she applied for leave to
stay in Canada under humanitarian and compassionate grounds in January
2004, she also decided to go underground rather than return to Costa
Rica while awaiting the government's decision.
During this time Maxwell also organized with others to fight against the
oppression Canadian society rains down on queers, immigrants, women, sex
trade workers and people of colour. She worked at CKLN 88.1 FM Community
Radio, the Latin American Coalition to end Violence Against Women, the
Barbara Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, the Ralph Thornton Community
Centre as a network administrator's assistant, the Global African
Congress, and as an outreach worker with the Black Coalition for Aids
Prevention (BlackCAP). Her work is also being published in "A New Look
at Heterosexism and Homophobia" being put out in collaboration with the
McGill University for the Canadian Aids Society.
She also took on the name Nzinga, after the seventeenth century Queen of
Angola who waged war against the Portuguese invaders. Two of Queen
Nzinga's war leaders were her sisters, and any women were active in her
army and in her council of advisors. It is not difficult to imagine why
a woman like Maxwell, persecuted by the Canadian settler state, would
take the name of a woman like Nzinga...
On March 14th, at 9 am, less than two weeks after her arrest at the
International Women's Day event, Nzinga was deported. Authorities
refused to disclose flight details, keeping Nzinga, her counsel and
friends in the dark until the last moment. However, Nzinga was able to
place a brief call out from the airplane to her lawyer. A vigil took
place at Pearson Airport, at which friends and supporters read Wendy's
poetry and spoke out, leafleting passengers and standing together in
this difficult time.
Wendy Maxwell, aka Nzinga, is now back in Costa Rica, but the fight has
only begun. Supporters are rallying throughout Canada to pressure the
government to ensure that her case be assessed quickly and that she be
granted permanent residency on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
It is also imperative that the racist Canadian State that had the gall
to deport her be held accountable and responsible for her safe and
What can you do to help?
1) Sign the Online Petition at
2) Join the Support Wendy Maxwell mailing list by going here:
3) Telephone and/or fax Canada's Minister of Immigration Joe Volpe.
Demand that Wendy Maxwell be granted permanent residency on Humanitarian
and Compassionate grounds:
You can also email Minister Joe Volpe at Minister at cic.gc.ca
Let the Minister know that we know that, as a queer Black working class
woman, Maxwell faces the risk of violence and persecution from numerous
quarters in Costa Rica. According to the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre she
is still suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of
being sexually assaulted by the cops there before she first came to
Canada. Canada is Wendy Maxwell's home now, and Canada is where she belongs.
Even if you are not a Canadian or do not live in Canada, please contact
Joe Volpe at the above phone and/or fax numbers. It doesn't matter if
you live in Canada, the United States, or anywhere else. Pressure, both
national and international, can make a difference.
You can download a low-resolution (69K) PDF flyer with these phone
numbers by clicking here:
4) Money. Nobody has any and everybody always needs some, but if there
is any chance of people forking over a little cash, or hitting up any
organizations you may be involved with, or quickly organizing a house
party with a donation can, money is desperately needed. Depending on how
things go, Wendy may even be billed by the Canadian government for the
costs associated with her deportation, and this even if she is granted
Donations, of whatever size, can be sent to:
No One Is Illegal
50 Charles St.
Please make checks or money orders payable to "No One Is Illegal" and
write on them that they should go to the "Support Wendy Maxwell" campaign.
5) Finally, you can stay up to date with what is happening at a number
of different websites. If you have a website yourself, please consider
adding a link:
Support Wendy Maxwell website at http://www.supportwendy.com
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty's Free Wendy Maxwell page at
Also, you may want to check out Nzinga's own website, put up and
maintained before her arrest:
Harambee website at http://www.geocities.com/wendypme/
And lastly, my own Kersplebedeb website now has a section devoted to
Nzinga's fight to live in Canada. It includes several articles from
Toronto newspapers about Wendy's case, as well as an mp3 telephone call
from Wendy when she was being held at the Vanier "Women's Centre" (i.e.
jail), in which she discusses how she was arrested and treated while in
This and more at http://www.kersplebedeb.com/nzinga
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