After attending the Sanctuary Cities in Canada panel at the March 14 Teach-In, I realized that there were a lot of things about Toronto that I did not know. One thing was that, technically, it’s a sanctuary city, however my lack of knowledge on the subject might come from the fact that Toronto doesn’t actually follow the guidelines set for the title.
The panel featured Dr. Graham Hudson, an Associate Professor and the Undergraduate Program Director for the Department of Criminology at Ryerson, and Melita Kuburas, the Associate Managing Editor of Life & Entertainment at Metro News. Hudson opened the panel by defining and explaining what sanctuary cities are, and what they mean to immigrants, before the conversation became more personalized.
Kuburas, who immigrated to Canada with her family in 1993, told the crowd about her life in Bosnia before and during the Bosnian war. I personally knew very little about the war, besides that it had happened, but was horrified to hear what happened to her family and friends during that time. Kuburas also spoke about her family’s immigration to Canada and the difficulties they faced when they arrived. She explained that immigrants at the time were seen as freeloaders and that she was often bullied by other children because of her status as an immigrant.
I found it shocking that something as terrible as the Bosnian war and genocide happened less than thirty years ago, yet no one really talks about it nor is it taught in schools’ history classes. However, hearing about it from Kuburas’ perspective was very enlightening, and gave a lot of humanity to the fairly academic definitions of sanctuary cities. In short, I feel like both aspects of the panel complimented each other very well and I’m glad I managed to see this specific presentation as I ended up learning about things I probably should have learned about a long time ago.