Community Alliance for Social Justice (CASJ)

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CASJ elects new board members

Posted by casjcanada on December 17, 2008

Reposted from the Philippine Reporter


CASJ Board: (Standing) Ricky Esguerra, Hermie Garcia (President), Ben Corpuz (Chairperson), Mila Astorga-Garcia, Helen Reyes, Ben Bongolan, Alex Felipe. Seated: Mithi Esguerra, Paulina Corpuz, Julie Nanquil and Marlene Mogado. Not in photo: Bert de Lara, Jonathan Canchela, Jojo Geronimo, Popoy Caña, Wilma Delo, Jun Enverga and Rose Bustamante.

TORONTO — The Community Alliance for Social Justice (CASJ) elected new members to its Board of Directors on Sunday, Dec. 14, to take in new blood and veteran advocates to face the challenges in the next two years, 2009-2010.

Chairperson Ben Corpuz delivered the welcome remarks and explained the unique character of CASJ, emphasizing its aim of achieving positive change through advocacy, education and community action.

Hermie Garcia, CASJ President, delivered a report on accomplishments and activities for 2007-2008. He higlighted the inclusion of the Coroner’s Inquest Jury’s recommendations (on the police fatal shooting of Jeffrey Reoidica) in the Toronto Police’s budget; and the findings of the Ontario Ombudsman’s Report on the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) as major accomplishments. He also reported the drafting and dissemination of a position paper on the Live-In Caregiver Program, the various seminars and forums on LCP; participation in the Jocelyn Dulnuan and Juana Tejada campaigns; the publication of the CASJ study, “The Road to Empowerment in the Filipino Community” by Mila Astorga-Garcia.

Dr. Philip Kelly of York University reported on the recently concluded study “The Deprofessionalized Filipino” which explains Filipino experiences of employment in Toronto, and the inability of most of them to find jobs related to their profession and education.The study is a collaborative project between CASJ and Dr. Kelly and involved 427 respondents to a survey of 1,000 Toronto residents. Two sets of focus groups were conducted that covered regulated and non-regulated professions. The study aims to identify and examine the barriers and circumstances that contribute to the non-access of Filipinos to jobs and professions for which they were educated and had work experience with.

The extensive part of the program was devoted to the session to gather ideas, concerns and suggestions from the general membership to be considered by the incoming board in drafting the program of action for 2009-2010.

The session was ably facilitated by Jojo Geronimo, Director of Labour Education Centre, Toronto and York District Labour Council.

The participants were gathered in a big group and a few times split into smaller groups to give more chance for everyone to speak out. Issue ideas and concerns were gathered from all small groups, sorted out and organized into a few themes for submission to the new board for discussion.

There are 21 positions in the Board of Directors, of which the first top 10 members elected in 2006 have a four-year term and the next 11 elected in 2006 have a two-year term. The nominations and elections were for the 11 positions in the board whose terms are expiring this year.

CASJ was launched in January 2005 after a community conference in October 2004 (“Strengthening the Community for Social Justice”) identified three main issues that affect the lives of Filipino Canadians, namely, Policing and Community Safety, Access to Professions and Trades, and the Live-In Caregiver Program. The conference also identified the need for an advocacy group that would fight for positive changes to meet the challenges confronting the community.

The conference was held in response to outcries for justice by leaders, organizations and members of the community in the fatal shooting of Jeffrey Reodica, 17-year old Grade 11 student, by a Toronto Police officer in May 2004. As a result of rallies and other actions and mobilizations by CASJ, the Justice for Jeffrey Coalition and other groups from the Filipino and other communities, the Ontario government conducted a Coroner’s Inquest into the fatal shooting. CASJ and the Reodica family were represented by lawyers in the Inquest which came up with 7 Jury Recommendations for police changes.


LAWYER Avvy Go (left), and Michael Kerr, Coordinator, Colour of Poverty Campaign, spoke before the CASJ General Assembly on the importance of working together to address and redress the growing racialization of poverty in Ontario. CASJ is a new member of the Colour of Poverty Campaign, which is one of the 500 organizations that have endorsed the 25 in 5 campaign in Ontario.

Dr. Philip Kelly presents the study “The Deprofessionalized Filipino”

CASJ President Hermie Garcia (left) and Chairperson Ben Corpuz PHOTO: EDWIN MERCURIO

Paulina Corpuz (left) with Jojo Geronimo facilitating the session to gather and distill ideas and suggestions for the CASJ program 2009-2010

Benson and Isabela Corpuz sing the final cultural number.

Part of the almost 50 attendees who participated in the General Membership Assembly.


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