Community Alliance for Social Justice (CASJ)

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CASJ paper goes the round of universities

Posted by casjcanada on December 2, 2008

Reposted from the Philippine Reporter:

CASJ paper goes the round of universities

November 17, 2008

RESEARCH studies of Community Alliance for Social Justice (CASJ) are presented by Mila Astorga-Garcia, CASJ research director, to York University  graduate students on Oct. 27, 2008.

RESEARCH studies of Community Alliance for Social Justice (CASJ) are presented by Mila Astorga-Garcia, CASJ research director, to York University graduate students on Oct. 27, 2008.

TORONTO – Research studies of the Community Alliance for Social Justice (CASJ) have been featured as models of successful research in Toronto’s academic circles.

In the past three years, CASJ has been invited by academic and community groups to discuss its research projects in conferences, seminars, symposia and university graduate course classes.

Recently, CASJ’s research director Mila Astorga-Garcia was asked to share CASJ’s research methods and findings at a graduate studies course in York University, specifically on how successful research can be conducted as an effective academic-community collaboration that builds the research capacity of both parties.

In a panel presentation, Building Bridges Across Sectors: Challenges and Benefits of Community-Academic Research Partnerships, which featured two other groups of panel presentors, Garcia discussed three research projects CASJ has conducted around the organizations’ three priorities: youth, policing and community safety; access to trades and professions; and the live-in-caregiver program. The event was sponsored by The Centre for Feminist Research and the Graduate Program in Women’s Studies, York University, on Oct. 27, 2008, and announced in the CERIS (Ontario-Metropolis) network.

The event also featured research by the Access Alliance Multicultural Health; and research by Dr. Nancy Mandell, Fiona Whittington-Walsh and Katharine King of York U.

CASJ’s studies include “The Road to Empowerment in the Filipino Community: From Crisis to Community Capacity Building,” which documents the family and community’s struggle for justice in the fatal shooting of Jeffrey Reodica by a Toronto police officer; the labour market issues of Filipinos both in the regulated trades and professions, and in unregulated work; and the live-in-caregiver program as it impacts on the lives of caregivers.

The first research was published by CERIS as part of its Working Paper Series (No. 54) and is now used in academic, community and policy circles as reference in subjects related to community capacity building, community crisis response, community engagement, and policy advocacy.

The paper has been one of the references used by lawyers representing CASJ during the Ontario Coroner’s Inquest on Reodica’s death, and has been submitted to the Toronto Police Services Board Chair Alok Mukherjee. The campaign for justice, documented in the report, had resulted in the Coroner’s inquest jury’s seven recommendations, which Toronto Police Service Chief Bill Blair had announced the Service would implement starting 2007.

The second research, on labour market issues, is a collaboration with Dr. Philip Kelly of the Department of Geography, York University. It includes a survey and a series of focus groups coordinated by Rowena J. Esguerra. Initial results were presented in a federal hearing on the issue of access to trades and professions, along with other presentations by other organizations.

The third, which involved a series of focus groups among live-in-caregivers, was coordinated by Pura Velasco, member of the CASJ Board. The resulting document, titled “Respect and Dignity for Caregivers,” was submitted as a policy paper to an Ontario MPP, and a federal MP, as well as to visiting opposition party list members of the Philippine Congress. It has also been used for education and mobilization around the LCP issues, in particular following the campaign for justice for Jocelyn Dulnuan, the live-in-caregiver murdered at her employer’s residence; and the Juana Tejada case, involving a community successful campaign to allow Tejada permanent resident status, after being denied initially due to her cancer.

CASJ has been invited to present its research in previous other academic events: at the 10th International Metropolis Conference, October 2006,Toronto; at a workshop discussion of current research on the Filipino community in Canada, and some aspects of Philippine life and culture, March 31, 2006, sponsored by the Community/University Knowledge Alliance Program of the Women and Gender Studies Institute, and by the Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto; and at a symposium panel in the Community-Oriented Research: Opportunities and Challenges-Relationship plenary, during OCASI’s 30th Anniversary symposium, Settlement Without Borders, held June 26, 2008, at Ryerson Universitiy, on the subject of relationship building and community engagement.

CASJ’s research, has been described as “living” and meaningful, in that it involves grassroots community participation by the very people affected by the issues, and its results are used toward making policy changes. And as one graduate student had put it following the York University presentation, after confiding to Garcia that she had thought all along that research was all about lonely field work and shuffling papers, she said: “I didn’t know research could be so exciting!”


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