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Toronto – April 4, 2013 - Two weeks and twenty stops later, a cross-Ontario tour by Students Against Migrant Exploitation (S.A.M.E.) engaged thousands of participants and visitors, and has built the way for new S.A.M.E. chapters across Ontario. At the heart of the awareness tour — S.A.M.E’s goal to engage and encourage young people to take action.
Building on the great success of the first week of S.A.M.E. Tour 2013 (see Directions 13.24), the awareness-raising presentations about migrant workers in Canada took the S.A.M.E. message to community centers, local media and elementary and high-schools across the Toronto-area, as well as to students at Mohawk College and McMaster University in Hamilton.
"The reception for the S.A.M.E tour has been tremendously encouraging," says Pablo Godoy, co-ordinator of the S.A.M.E. program and a UFCW Canada national representative. "Over two weeks, the S.A.M.E. volunteer-presenters directly engaged over 3,500 students, between 10 and 55-years-old, in over 45 class rooms and lecture halls across Ontario. On top of that, S.A.M.E’s videos and social media efforts reached at least 7,000 additional viewers, as well as national and international radio listeners who tuned in to the dozens of interviews done on local and campus radio stations."
Many of the thousands of students that S.A.M.E engaged during the tour contributed to the fight against migrant worker exploitation by sharing videos, pictures, and S.A.M.E research and information. The commitment will continue, with students at many campuses now interested in contributing to a S.A.M.E. initiative through their location.
“For instance Central Commerce in Toronto, which is home to a bicycle repair program, is already working towards a partnership with S.A.M.E for future bike donations to migrant workers," says Santiago Escobar, one of the many S.A.M.E members helping with the tour. "At Mohawk College, students there pledged to use their ESL experience to help deliver translation services at Agriculture Workers Alliance migrant worker support centers."
Teachers were just as engaged as their students. “It was incredible to see the students and teachers so enthusiastic to learn about the challenges facing migrant workers, and the tremendous contribution migrant workers make to our communities," says Jazmine Mitchell, a long-time S.A.M.E. volunteer and presenter, who also launched a S.A.M.E. chapter at Brock University.
Additional university and college chapters are in the works, "and we're now working hard to ensure that the new energetic faces who expressed interest in volunteering and starting chapters get the support they need, "says Brother Godoy, "to keep the S.A.M.E. momentum going at their schools and in their communities."
To find out more about S.A.M.E., or how you and your school can get involved in this student leadership initiative, check out www.thesame.ca.