Wider View Archive

Criminal justice on celebrity platforms

June 8, 2018 Cherelle M. Dessus

By: Cherelle M. Dessus In recent years, many celebrities have used their platforms to highlight flaws in the criminal justice system. The light shed on these important issues has encouraged others to pay more attention to and advocate for legislation that focuses on sentencing and reentry reforms within the criminal justice system. Celebrities have historically played a large role in highlighting injustice, including during the civil rights movement. Performers such as Ray Charles and the Beatles refused to perform in front of segregated audiences. Tommie Smith and John Carlos used a human rights salute during the 1968 Olympics to draw attention […]

The power of apology

May 25, 2018 Esther Epp-Tiessen

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently announced that his government would make a formal apology for Canada’s failure in 1939 to provide asylum to the 907 Jews who were fleeing Nazi Germany on board the MS St. Louis; 254 of those Jews later died in the Holocaust. When the formal apology is issued later this year, it will be the 5th one Trudeau has made to a group of people since his government was elected in 2015.  The other collective apologies include: May 18, 2016 to descendants of passengers of the Komagata Maru, a Japanese vessel carrying 376 Sikh, Muslim, and […]

Separating mothers from their children at the border

May 18, 2018 Tammy Alexander

On the eve of Mother’s Day, the Trump administration formalized a policy of forcibly separating immigrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, a practice that, in recent months, has already led to the separation of hundreds of families. The new policy is a cruel response to immigrants seeking asylum (safety) in the United States, many of whom are mothers with young children fleeing gang violence and domestic violence in Central America. It is designed to deter families from coming to the U.S., but will only add to the trauma families have already endured. Under the policy, which applies […]

Nigeria: Rebuilding lives

May 4, 2018 Charles Kwuelum

By Charles Kwuelum Displaced from her home by Boko Haram attacks at Madagali, Nigeria and the Nigerian military’s response, Christy and her family fled to the area of Girei in Adamawa State. As the family of seven tried to escape the violence, Christy was abducted and forced into marriage with a Boko Haram member. She was lucky to escape in 2015. While sharing the story with a care giver and faced with trauma and almost in tears, she said, “I was 24 in 2014 when it happened, but thank God that I am able to partake in an opportunity for […]

Palestinian youth in jeopardy

April 20, 2018 Thirdway

Many of us like to have our days planned out when we start the morning. We send our children to school, we head to the gym or to work, we meet with coworkers for lunch. At the end of the day, we expect to return to our homes to spend time with our families before we start a new day. But life is often not so predictable for Palestinian families living under occupation in the West Bank. Sometimes simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time can mean arrest and detention, even for children. Many times youth are […]

$1.7 trillion

April 20, 2018 Jennifer Wiebe

By Jenn Wiebe, MCC Ottawa Office Director In 2016, global military spending amounted to a staggering $1.68 trillion. It likely won’t be surprising which countries topped the military-spending charts—that year, the U.S. and China clocked in at $611 billion and $215 billion respectively. While nations like the U.S. are, of course, in a league of their own, Canada is not off the hook. Though not commonly known as a “military superpower,” Canada is still in the top 16 highest defence spenders worldwide (and 6th out of 28 NATO countries). What’s more, last June the Canadian government unveiled a plan to […]

Remembering the Legacy of War

April 6, 2018 Charissa Zehr

I walked the perimeter of a small rice paddy, surrounded by a few simple houses and groupings of gravestones. The plaques nearby list the names of people who died there, but no one is exactly sure who ended up in which mass grave. Most haunting was the cement-covered path, now imprinted with the steps of barefooted children and soldiers’ boots–a reminder of the tragedy that took place in this Vietnamese hamlet 50 years ago. On March 16, 1968, Lt. William Calley led his platoon into My Lai in the Quang Ngai province of Vietnam. Convinced the village held enemy combatants, […]

To help or not to help: Eritrean refugees in Israel

March 23, 2018 Thirdway

To help or not to help: Eritrean refugees in Israel By Nicholas Pope, Advocacy Research Intern in MCC’s Ottawa Office. Nicholas has a law degree from the University of Calgary. He has served with MCC in Palestine and also Alberta, where he has been the MCC Alberta Refugee Sponsorship Coordinator.  He continues in that role part-time, while serving in the Ottawa Office. On January 1, Israel announced an ultimatum for the thousands of East African asylum seekers within its borders: take $3,500 USD and a one-way ticket to Africa or face indefinite imprisonment. There are around 34,700 East African asylum seekers in Israel. 27,000 […]

A temporary fix for enduring issues

March 16, 2018 Thirdway

A temporary fix for enduring issues Erin Beidler, Domestic Policy Intern, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office In recent months the immigration conversation has been largely focused on the fate of nearly 700,000 Dreamers protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. However, another 300,000 people are now living in uncertainty under Temporary Protected Status (TPS). TPS is granted to immigrants in the U.S. when it is determined that it would be difficult for them to return home due to ongoing armed conflicts, natural disasters or other extenuating circumstances. In January of this year the Trump administration announced that […]

Is prison reform criminal justice reform?

March 2, 2018 Cherelle M. Dessus

Is prison reform criminal justice reform? Cherelle M. Dessus In President Trump’s first State of the Union address, many priorities and goals were mentioned. Advocates for criminal justice reform were not left out of this conversation. Trump stated that his administration would focus on reforming prisons to ensure that returning citizens have access to second chances. For several years, presidential administrations and Congress have mentioned the need for bipartisan criminal justice reform to end the cycle of over-incarceration. Many understand criminal justice reform to be a combination of reforms to how sentencing happens and to prison conditions. Separately, both reforms […]