Black Lives Matter-Toronto shut down Bloor/Yonge to protest deportation of new mother
Members of Black Lives Matter-Toronto took over a hectic downtown intersection Tuesday morning to protest the ordered deportation of a new mother.
All four directions of Yonge and Bloor streets were blocked for about 20 minutes by protesters during morning rush hour, demanding that the 38-year-old Jamaican national be allowed to stay in the country with her husband and new baby.
Protesters locked arms, forming a human wall, while holding signs and chanting “Let Beverly stay.”
Organizers told CP24 that Beverly Braham was recently handed an immediate deportation order scheduled for September 21.
Braham, who is married to a Canadian citizen, is residing in Toronto while she completes a 12-month sponsorship program.
She gave birth to her son two months ago.
While her sponsorship is expected to expire soon, organizers claim the Canadian Border Services Agency are attempting to deport her even sooner.
“It’s not yet up. It’s completely unjust that they’re deporting her at this point rather than just waiting for the sponsorship period to end,” the organizer said.
“For Black Lives Matter – we are in support of black families and we believe that black immigrant lives matter. We also know that this process of breaking up black families has been happening since slave labour camps, where they sold members of our families up and down the river. This is no different. They’re separating a mother from her husband and child, this is completely unacceptable and we demand that she be allowed to stay in Canada.”
A representative from the group End Immigration Detention Network said Braham is one of many families who are at risk of being torn apart by immigration detention.
“A sponsorship application is supposed to take a maximum of 12 months. Her application has already been there for 11 months. She needs to be able to stay until that process is heard,” the representative said.
“There have been 241 kids who have been held in immigration detention from 2011 to 2015. This is ridiculous. People cannot be held in immigration detention, they should not have to choose between their families and be deported to a country where they have not been for years.”
Braham, her husband and their newborn sat amongst the protesters on Tuesday morning.
“All I’m asking is to stay with my family. That’s all I want. I don’t want them to separate us. I’m begging them,” Braham said.
“All I’m asking, please, let us stay together. Canada is about family so why do you want to separate us?”