OCLA’s 2017 Year in Review

Dear OCLA Supporter,
This email is to give you an update about the OCLA’s work and activities in 2017.
OCLA statement calling for calm, reason, and objectivity
The OCLA called on the government and media to react with calm, reason, and objectivity in response to controversial and, in some cases, tragic events taking place in 2017. The OCLA’s statement warned that civil rights can quickly become abated in times of widespread outrage, and pointed to several troubling examples in Ontario. The statement can be read at the following link: http://ocla.ca/ocla-calls-on-the-government-and-media-to-exercise-calm-reason-and-objectivity/
OCLA letters
The OCLA sent several letters to public officials in 2017, in defence of freedom of speech in specific cases:
(letter to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness)
(letter to the Attorney General of Ontario)
(letter to the President of Dalhousie University)
(letter to the Attorney General of Ontario)
(letter to Toronto City Council)
Jeannette Tossounian receives the 2017 OCLA Civil Liberties Award
Jeannette Tossounian, an artist, author, and lifelong activist for civil rights, was the recipient of the OCLA’s 2017 Civil Liberties Award. In 2012, Jeannette was wrongly convicted and spent two years in harsh conditions in an Ontario jail for women. While in jail, she was put into solitary confinement for defying the jail’s policy forcing women inmates to wear bras. She was forced to go on hunger strike to finally have the policy repealed. Her book The Human Kennel was written while in jail.
Filmmaker Peter Biesterfeld created a video of the 2017 award event, which also marked the OCLA’s five-year anniversary. The video contains the OCLA Executive Director’s overview of the OCLA’s work during its first five years of existence, an introduction of the award recipient by Senator Kim Pate, and Jeannette’s acceptance speech.
We are now raising money to help Jeannette in her battle to obtain reparations from the government of Ontario. Please help with this campaign by making a donation at our GoFundMe page, and please share this link with your contacts.
Public event: “Social theory of freedom of expression”
OCLA researcher Dr. Denis Rancourt gave a public talk in November about the social theory of freedom of expression. Video of the talk is available at the following link: https://youtu.be/FBKZqvFReRo
OCLA Executive Director’s research on social hierarchy
In his PhD research, OCLA Executive Director Joseph Hickey has developed a physics model of the formation and evolution of social hierarchy that has implications regarding societal stability and individual freedom. Joseph has communicated this work in a popular science essay “How societies form and change: a physics model of social hierarchy”, which also contains a link to a scientific article about the model.
Media coverage
OCLA’s positions were covered in the media many times in 2017. A few examples are below:
Full list of media coverage here: http://ocla.ca/our-work/media-coverage/
How to stay connected and donate to the OCLA
Website: http://ocla.ca
Twitter: @oncivlib
The OCLA is an independent, volunteer-run organization. Donations help cover operating costs such as booking rooms for public events, printing promotional material for campaigns and events, and paying for court filing fees and court document production costs (copies and binding) for court and tribunal interventions on civil liberties issues.
As we are an entirely volunteer-run organization with a very small budget, we do depend on donations to continue our work, and appreciate any contribution you can make.
Donations can be made in two ways:
1) Through PayPal, by clicking the “Donate” button in the top-right corner of http://ocla.ca; or
2) By sending a cheque to “Ontario Civil Liberties Association” to our mailing address:
Ontario Civil Liberties Association
The OCLA is not affiliated with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) or the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA). All three associations are separate and distinct.
Thank you for your support!
Yours truly,
Joseph Hickey
Executive Director
Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) http://ocla.ca
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