Members of Black Lives Matter-Toronto (BLM-TO) shut down Yonge and Bloor this morning (Tuesday, September 19), to protest the imminent deportation of a Toronto mother. Beverley Braham, who is married to a Canadian citizen and recently gave birth to a child, is facing deportation to Jamaica on September 21.
Around 50 protestors gathered at 7:45 am. At 8:10 am, they blocked all four sides of the intersection, holding signs that read “Let Beverley stay,” “Black families matter” and “Which side of history are you on?” Braham and her husband were in attendance.
“She’s one month away from the completion of her sponsorship application and they want to separate her from her family,” says Syrus Marcus Ware, a spokesperson for BLM-TO. “There’s no reason why this should be happening.”
BLM–TO first got involved in Braham’s case this spring, when she faced deportation in March. At the time, she was 31 weeks pregnant. The #LetBeverleyStay campaign was launched, and supporters were encouraged to contact Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, as well as their local MPs. Braham’s case was reconsidered.
Then last week, the Canadian Border Services Agency rescheduled deportation for Braham for September 21. She was detained at the Toronto Immigration Holding Centre, along with her infant, for 48 hours.
“She’s experienced a lot of harassment from Canadian Border Services,” says Ware. “She’s really just asking what every new mother would, which is to start building her life with your child.”
Braham also currently has a medical condition prohibiting her from air travel – a blood clot in her lung. Ware says an appointment with a medical specialist has been scheduled, but it’s after her scheduled deportation date.
BLM–TO is encouraging Toronto residents to talking about the case in public spaces to raise awareness about an all-too-common occurrence.
“Many families are separated from their children on a regular basis either through immigration detention or through deportation orders,” Ware says. “We must support Black women and Black mothers, and try to make Toronto a safer place for Black people to live and raise families.”
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