The flyer distributor – or what I’ve been doing for the past month

I can’t believe that I haven’t posted here for a whole month. It will sound lame, but it was such a busy month. One of the things I’ve been busy with is my creative writing course for new immigrant women.

You know how sometimes you do things that feel great because they are so in line with who you are? Well, that’s what this workshop has been for me. A couple of weeks ago, I felt like a happy little kid when I submitted a short fictional story and the instructor, a published author, said that it’s great and that I have “a knack for character development.”

So I thought I’d share the story with you.

The Flyer Distributor

“Brooklyn Beauty Coupons.” That’s what Simon was supposed to say. But he wasn’t saying it. He just stood, holding in his outstretched hand a card-sized pink flyer advertising two-dollar discounts for select services at Brooklyn Beauty, a nearby beauty salon.

Few passersby noticed Simon. This young man was neither tall nor short, with soft almost feminine features and green eyes. An old woman with black-rimmed glasses and a pink jacket did notice him though. She took a flyer and read it out loud. “Brazilian waxing available? I don’t think I’m interested,” she said, handing the flyer back.

Simon didn’t care about the rejection. Whether people took a flyer or not, he would still get $10 an hour. It was a week-long gig, four hours per day, and this was his last day. It was the first job he had landed, through Craigslist, since he came to New York City from his native Miami five months ago.

It was getting dark. The January wind pierced Simon’s black jacket, which he couldn’t close because the zipper was broken, and went straight to his very organs. He curled up his aching toes inside his white sneakers in vain hopes of warming them up. He wished he had put on an extra pair of socks. He had no gloves either. Now his fingers hurt so much, he could no longer separate one flyer from another.

He noticed a tall unshaven man in a tattered green coat walk by. Suddenly, the man grabbed the white plastic bag with the Brooklyn Beauty flyers. Simon had left it on the ground nearby because it was too heavy to hold. He was just about to say something, when the old man vanished into the crowd with the bag, which said I Love New York.

Simon crossed the street and approached a petite girl with a gray coat and a black knit hat pulled all the way to her arched eyebrows. That was Jo, his co-worker.

“Guess what, somebody just stole the bag with the flyers! He must have thought there was something valuable in it.”

He told her the story and both had a good laugh.

“I was just about to come and get more – I’m running low,” Jo said, pointing to her thinning stack of pink cards.

They didn’t want to call Gina, the salon’s owner. She would arrive with more flyers because they had another hour to go.

Instead, they went to Starbucks, a couple of blocks down. The warmth inside was instant bliss. Simon thought his body was going to melt. The coffee smell tempted him, but he decided not to buy anything.

They sat at a corner table and Jo removed her hat. A mop of black curly hair spilled out. She took off her black gloves and rubbed her hands together. Simon rubbed his red hands too.

“So, what do you do besides this?” she asked.

“I’m a musician. I play the violin.”

“Oh my god! I’m an actress!”

“What is it like – being an actress?”

“It’s not bad. I’m auditioning right now. I’m also doing this unpaid internship at a theater.”

“What do you do there?”

“All sorts of things. Sweeping, taking tickets… Do you have another job?”

“Not right now. My dad is helping me out. But I’m applying. I’m applying even for bullshit jobs until I find something better,” Simon said.

The demand in New York for violinists was not as big as the demand for drummers or guitarists. But he refused to play another instrument because the violin alone perfectly matched his personality. It was gentle, yet high-pitched when you needed it to be.

Simon thought about his only suit, a black one, hanging in his closet, reserved for job interviews. He had a matching blue tie with yellow stripes and a pair of black boots, which he polished daily with a piece of discarded white T-shirt. He couldn’t bear to see his interview boots gather dust.

Another daily task included checking on the condition of his red plastic resume folder. He wiped it with a tissue and then opened it to make sure he had a sufficient number of resumes, which he had printed at the public library. He didn’t have a printer at home. He also made sure the resumes were not dog-eared and the paper hadn’t turned yellow.

The one time when Simon did wear his suit in New York was for an interview with a small Cuban jazz band. They needed a violinist for their engagements in bars throughout the city. Eventually the band decided to go for a Cuban violinist with more experience. Simon had only played jazz in small formations in Miami.

After the rejection from the Cuban band, he had a phone interview for a sales position at a guitar store. The interviewer told him he didn’t have enough technical knowledge.

The futility of Simon’s application efforts exhausted him. His situation reminded him of the Asian man who sold DVDs on the subway every day. The guy walked up and down the cars of the train holding a fan of DVDs, yelling in a heavy Asian accent, “Dee Veee Deee! Deee Veee Deee!” Simon had never seen any of the jaded passengers even express an interest in the DVDs, let alone buy them, but this didn’t stop the man.

Like the Asian guy, Simon kept up his efforts. He even bought a book for 15 bucks – Job Search For Dummies 2009 With Recession Tips.

He religiously followed the rules in it. He tried, for instance, using the law of attraction by writing down the qualities of his desired job and then visualizing the job and feeling what it would be like to have it. “Visualize every night as your head hits the pillow and every morning as your feet hit the floor,” the book advised.

Still, nothing. At times Simon felt that writing yet another cover letter – he had already sent out over 100 – or making yet another phone call would be too much of an effort. The more rejection he faced, the more his morale sagged though the book said the opposite would happen. “When your application process takes momentum, rejection is not going to faze you because you will have all these applications out there. You will just keep moving until you get the job. After all, what you need is just one yes.”

To get that yes, Simon was applying even for unskilled jobs. He had recently applied to an Urban Outfitters store in Manhattan for a sales position. The application form he was handed upon walking in had all sorts of unusual questions, such as “What magazines do you like?” and “What is the last book you read?”

Simon did not read books, so he put down “The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama” in his uneven childish handwriting. Can’t go wrong with that, he figured.

In response to the question about work experience he listed a history of retail jobs in Miami.

“You know what annoys me here in New York,” he said out loud to Jo. “Even with crappy jobs they want you to have experience. Like, last month I applied to be a server and they said no because I didn’t have New York experience. You have to be so special to get jobs that nobody wanted until recently. Now I bullshit on my resume.  I figure, once I’m on the job, I’ll learn.”

“Yeah, totally,” Jo replied. “And there’s so many people applying for jobs. Everybody’s out of work.”

“I know. I always see like a hundred people with resumes waiting to be interviewed at the open calls that restaurants have. I guess everybody sees the open call announcement on Craigslist and comes. And most of these people don’t even belong there. They all look so educated, you know, like people with college degrees, at least.”

Jo’s brown eyes shifted slowly to the big round white clock on the wall.

“Oh my god, it’s almost seven!”

Both dreaded going out, but they knew the salon’s owner sometimes drove by to check on the flyer distributors.

Outside, the effect of the warmth disappeared immediately. They took their posts. Simon started doing a mental countdown to the next break. That was the only thing his brain was capable of doing. He tried job visualizing, but the thought froze before it developed. He was able to sustain the thought of the money he would get from this gig for a little bit longer, but eventually that thought froze, too. He leaned against a storefront and held out one of the few flyers left. “Get your Brooklyn Beauty coupon,” he announced in a weak voice.

Then he looked around. It was a typical downtown Brooklyn street – a vibrant mixture of quaint mom-and-pop establishments. Sweet-smelling bakeries with perfect cupcakes boasting icings in every imaginable color. Cute second-hand clothing shops. Tiny book stores brimming with rare volumes and luring customers with offers such as “give us your used books and we’ll give you a bottle of wine.”

But as far as Simon was concerned, it was the people that made Brooklyn – and the entire New York City – so unique. In this part of town, the people he saw were primarily hipsters dressed in frayed vintage clothes, wearing oversized black-rimmed glasses. When he went to Manhattan, many of the people he saw looked like they had enough money to buy the entire city.

And that’s what he loved about New York. It attracted the best and the brightest from all over the world, the kind of people who wanted to achieve, achieve, achieve! Whether it was in finance or arts or whatever, the people of New York wanted to achieve. You could inhale their ambition as soon as you stepped on the dirty subway or opened your apartment window overlooking some rusty fire escape.

He was reminded of a quote from author E.B. White, a quote he recently saw on a friend’s Facebook wall:

“There are roughly three New Yorks: There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size and its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter — the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something. […] Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion.”

Ah, the starry-eyed New York settlers! Simon was one of them.

While he was thinking all that, 8 o’clock came and Gina’s white rickety van pulled up nearby.

“You guys still alive?” she asked, handing Simon and Jo white envelopes.

They ripped them open and counted their money for the week. Each had $200. This wasn’t going to solve Simon’s biggest problem, the monthly rent of $800. But holding that money was great. Ten awesome, amazing, crisp bills. In his chest, he felt the onset of something he hadn’t experienced for months – joy.

Posted in Newcomers | 2 Comments

New to Canada? First thing to do: write

A memory exercise we did in our writing class this week. I know, my handwriting is atrocious.

A memory exercise we did in our writing class this week. I know, my handwriting is atrocious.

I am so looking forward to Saturday. But no, I won’t be sleeping in and relaxing.

I’ll be doing something way more fun – getting up at the crack of dawn and taking a 40-minute subway ride to do some writing.

I recently started this awesome creative writing course here in Toronto. It’s for (new) immigrant women and it’s offered for free by Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto. We’ve had two classes so far and with each class I just love it more.

For one thing, it’s a great excuse to go to Greektown. That’s where the class takes place. I love the neighbourhood, partly because it reminds me of New York. Much of my life there was spent in Astoria, New York’s equivalent of Greektown.

It all makes me nostalgic about my very first journalism job. I did so much reporting in Astoria as a newbie newspaper reporter (read: I walked around with a notebook, approaching random people with questions and writing down what they said). I ate a lot, too. I’m still looking for hummus that would top the hummus I had in Astoria.

But I digress. Back to writing. I’ve been a journalist for the past five years, so obviously writing is what I do for a living. But I also write for fun.

Stored in the depths of my Gmail and my Mac are several short fictional stories that I’ve written over the years. They were all inspired by encounters with people that fascinated me for one reason or another. And it helped that I have this ability to elicit stories from people. I find it so touching that even people who don’t know me well trust me enough to share deeply personal things with me.

I just wish that I’d written more stories based on such encounters. The ideas have certainly been there, but I’m so good at using lack of time as an excuse.

And that’s where the class I’m taking now comes in. The structured environment will allow me – hopefully! – to write a few stories about issues that have been festering at the back of my mind.

And in the mean time, I’m back to doing daily free writing thanks to this course. If you don’t know what that is: it’s  the act of writing continuously for a certain amount of time about anything that comes to mind without editing and crossing things out.

Daily free writing is a requirement of the workshop and I’m certainly seeing the benefits. It gives me more clarity about my thoughts and feelings and just better self-awareness in general. So if I don’t do it, something feels wrong. “And something is wrong – you haven’t connected with your creative self.” Wise words from Dr. Althea Prince. She leads the workshop.

Althea is a big shot. She’s an award-winning author. But you wouldn’t know that from talking to her. She’s so humble and approachable and that’s one of the things I really like about her. And also her red scarves and hair bands.

Ok, I’m off to do some free writing.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Canadian media fail newcomers

I don’t believe in giving my hard earned cash to a company that makes no effort whatsoever to satisfy and keep me as a customer.

So I think I’m going to cancel my subscription to The Globe and Mail, the biggest Canadian paper.

But it’s unfair to single out The Globe. In my experience, Canadian outlets for the most part are failing a growing chunk of the country’s audience: immigrants and particularly newcomers.

I guess papers here simply don’t want to expand their audience. I guess they’re not interested in targeting, along with the majority, the very group which drives this country’s population growth: immigrants.

I’ve been in Canada for over a month and when I first started reading Canadian news, I had no idea what the hell the articles were talking about. Every story I went through left me feeling uninformed and stupid.

Why is that? Because the journalists writing and editing these articles assume that their audience is comprised of people who have either lived in Canada all their lives or at least have very detailed knowledge of the issues in The Land of the Maple Leaf.

No, dear Toronto Star and other Canadian media, I don’t know the history behind Idle No More, an ongoing protest movement organized by Canada’s aboriginal people. So when you publish articles that provide no context whatsoever about this movement, you’re really doing a bad job.

I’ve had to do a significant amount of online research to find out that the country’s indigenous people tend to be less educated than the rest of the population and overrepresented in the prison population. That a number of them struggle with alcohol and drug addiction. That many of them still live on reserves where basics like clean water and heating are lacking. I’ve enjoyed the research, but you could have provided some of that context.

Also, dear Canadian outlets, using an acronym without explaining what it stands for is a really shoddy practice. Because, believe it or not, Canada is not the centre of the world, so I don’t know what NDP is. Well, now I do because I Googled it – New Democratic Party, an opposition party.

Why does all of this matter? Because, first, as I mentioned, Canadian outlets are losing eye balls by alienating a growing portion of the country’s population. By failing to provide big-picture explanations, media are also ensuring that their stories have an incredibly short life span.

This kind of lazy journalism is also a disservice to immigrants themselves because staying informed is a crucial way for them, especially for newcomers, to integrate.

Finally, when you present the news in a way that assumes your audience already knows the issues, you’re breaking a fundamental journalism rule.

One of the very first things I learned in journalism school is that a reporter always has to assume that readers, listeners and viewers do not know the background and do not know what acronyms stand for. It’s the job of the journalist to provide all of that information.

If users have to Google things to figure out what’s going on – and not many people will; most will simply abandon the story, never to come back to that site – then the outlet has not done its job.

As one of my journalism instructors used to say, “you should craft your stories in a way that allows everyone to wander in and walk away with a good understanding of the subject.”

But just to be fair to Canadian media, I do have to acknowledge that because on a global level the news industry is struggling and journalists are chronically overworked and often underpaid, more and more news outlets around the world are failing to provide the proper context for the news.

Still, Canada, that’s hardly an excuse for taking a provincial approach to news in a globalized world.

Posted in Newcomers, Welcome | 2 Comments

Yes, because people are not illegal – actions are.


The AP Stylebook today is making some changes in how we describe people living in a country illegally.

Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll explains the thinking behind the decision:

The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term “illegal immigrant” or the use of “illegal” to describe a person. Instead, it tells users that “illegal” should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.

Why did we make the change?

The discussions on this topic have been wide-ranging and include many people from many walks of life. (Earlier, they led us to reject descriptions such as “undocumented,” despite ardent support from some quarters, because it is not precise. A person may have plenty of documents, just not the ones required for legal residence.)

Those discussions continued even after AP affirmed “illegal immigrant” as the best use, for two reasons.

A number of people…

View original post 445 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Excuse me, but if you were not born in Canada, how come you speak English?”

In addition to amazing food, Khaleh Maryam also had this gift for me. That's Iranian hospitality for you!

In addition to amazing food, Khaleh Maryam also had this awesome jewelry box as a gift for me. Like I said, true Iranian hospitality!

The other day we visited my boyfriend’s Iranian-born aunt – Khaleh Maryam, as her Iranian nieces and nephews call her.

Try pronouncing the “kh”, which is supposed to be neither “k” nor “h”, but something in between. I still haven’t mastered it – but my Iranian boyfriend Ali gives me credit for trying because he cannot pronounce a single thing in my native Bulgarian.

Khaleh Maryam immigrated to Toronto from the Iranian city of Esfahan 10 years ago and since I moved to Canada only about three weeks ago, it was my first time meeting her.

I liked her before I even saw her. A couple of days before our visit, she was on the phone with Ali to find out what kind of foods I like. She then asked him if I like coffee.

“Sure,” Ali said. “Ok, then I’m going to buy a coffee maker,” Khaleh Maryam told him.

That’s Persian hospitality for you! The guest is king and you go out of your way to make them happy.

Luckily, Ali persuaded her not to buy a coffee maker. She served us black tea in dainty hourglass-shaped cups with dates and pastries.

Lunch too was amazing – a real Iranian feast. I don’t eat meat, so I stuck to the rice and the kookoo sabzi, one of my most favourite Persian meals ever. Interestingly, I didn’t discover it while I was in Iran. I first tried it at an Iranian snack place in Brussels.

So yeah, the food was amazing, but more than that, I loved the attitude of Khaleh Maryam and her husband. They were both so genuine, so eager to please, they made me feel like I’ve known them for years, like they are my family, too.

And I give them so much credit for graciously enduring all my questions, the kind of questions I ask ever single Iranian that I meet: do you think the Iranian government is really developing nuclear weapons? what do you think it will take to topple this regime? why do so many Iranian women have nose jobs?

While we were in the middle of discussing these questions (no wonder our visit lasted five hours), Khaleh Maryam’s seven-year-old son, Shervin, came up to me, tapped me on the shoulder and in the most polite of voices asked me:

“Excuse me, but if  you were not born in Canada, how come you speak English?”

Shervin was born in Canada and in so many respects, his story is the story of every Canadian or Western kid born to immigrant parents.

He speaks both English and Farsi and sometimes translates for his mom. His room is filled with Spiderman toys – there must have been at least 100 toys in that room, I swear!

He loves Oreos and separates them like a professional – and, of course, he loves McDonald’s. But at home he eats elaborate meals, prepared from scratch by his mom, with romantic names like ghormeh sabzi (herb stew with lamb) and khoresht-e bamieh-o-bademjan (eggplant and okra stew).

The story of Khaleh Maryam is also the typical immigrant story in some respects. She moved here in her early 30s without speaking any English and learned it here.

Back home she was a librarian, but she couldn’t transfer those qualifications here, so she started from scratch, volunteering and taking classes in a different field so she can take a job. Despite all that, her employment situation is still precarious – like that of many immigrants here.

She spent her first year utterly depressed and home sick, crying every day, wishing she could go back to Iran – even though she knew it’s one of the most difficult countries to live in.

By now she’s used to Toronto and knows that this is her home. Yet, something is missing – the feeling that she doesn’t belong completely. But she knows that at this point, she can’t get that feeling in Iran either.

And that’s what fascinates me about immigrants: they’re different people, with different experiences and different reasons for leaving home; yet, it seems that all of them, including the author of this blog, struggle with feelings of nostalgia, belonging and rootlessness even years after they make the move.

Posted in Newcomers, Persian hospitality | 2 Comments


Following several weeks of Senate scandals in Ottawa, Vancouver got its own fair share of federal political controversy in the media last week after a reality TV raid on unauthorized migrant workers led by the Canada Border Services Agency was carried out at a construction site. An outcry of protest ensued across the country with many people aghast over a little known TV show that would exploit the lives of vulnerable people for ratings. CBSA’s response has been limited, simply saying that it hopes to “educate” Canadians about the efforts of its border guard agents through its involvement in such a program. It is now known that each episode of the show is vetted by the agency and that it went for approval right up to the Minister himself. CBSA has reiterated that it considers the TV program a documentary in contrast to what critics claim is a reality television…

View original post 583 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Music for rootless people

Happy spring equinox, Toronto!

And Nowruz mobarak to all who celebrate.

Nowruz is a non-denominational event that marks the start of the Persian New Year and the first day of spring.

But it doesn’t feel like spring here in Toronto. It was snowing last night and it’s -2 degrees Celsius right now. A few more days of such crappy weather and I’m going to take it personally, Toronto, you hear me?

Anyway, I hope by now you’ve hit the play button and started listening to this fantastic spring song by one of my most favourite artists ever, Iranian-born Azam Ali.

I discovered Azam’s songs by accident at the beginning of 2010. (I always knew that spending so much time on YouTube will bring something good sooner or later.)

I fell in love with Azam’s music before I knew anything about her and the philosophy behind her art. I had just returned to Bulgaria after spending two and a half years in New York City and I was depressed because I had wanted to stay. At the time I couldn’t imagine that leading a meaningful life outside of the Big Apple is possible.

New York tends to have that kind of effect – you fall in love with it so hard, you can’t imagine being away from it.

So the nostalgia that many of Azam’s songs are drenched with felt totally right.

I also loved the fact that her music is such a sublime mixture of Middle Eastern ethnic elements and modern beats. It has a truly exotic feel.

And then there’s her absolutely divine voice. She sings not only in her native Farsi, but in a bunch of other languages, too – Arabic, Turkish, French, English…

So I was listening to Azam for a good year or so, when I finally heard her describe the philosophy behind her music: that it’s a place for nomads, for rootless people who have lived in different parts of the world, but feel that they don’t belong anywhere, not even back home anymore.

However, I like to think that Azam’s music is also meant to help those same nomads learn to feel at home anywhere in the world. It’s certainly what I’ve been trying to do and gotten better at with my latest move, this time to Canada.

But back to Azam. She was born in Iran, grew up in India and then moved on to the United States and Canada.

The details of her life story are so inspiring (for lack of a better word) and at times heart-breaking. She spent much of her childhood separated from her mother.

Azam was also away from her mother when she died in Iran. I always cry when I listen to the part of the interview, around minute five, where she describes flying back to her home country after many years to attend her mother’s funeral.

I’ve never been a celebrity person, but I would definitely love to meet Azam one day. I feel so bad I missed two – yes, two! – of her concerts last year. At the time I was living in Brussels and she performed in both Paris and London.

I couldn’t go because I had to work – in both cases I had to cover meetings of the EU heads of state. Yeah, the joys of being a journalist – you have no life.

But hopefully I can see her soon. Until then, enjoy the spring and remember that home is wherever you are.

Video | Posted on by | 4 Comments

A Nigerian in Belgium

And I’m finally back after a short break.

I just have to share this fantastic essay about being a Nigerian immigrant in Belgium. The author is Nigerian-born novelist Chika Unigwe.

If you’ve ever experienced the profound loneliness that comes with moving to a new country, this feeling of being totally out of your comfort zone and the urge to go back home even if home is a place you always wanted to escape, then, like me, you will totally relate to this piece.

Here’s one of my favourite parts.

“[With] a postgraduate degree from a Belgian university, I went to an employment office to register for work. Without asking for my qualifications, the lady at the counter smiled brightly and offered me a job on the spot. ‘We need cleaners, you can start today.’ Her smile slipped when I assured her that I needed a cleaner more than she did. ‘If you do find one, please send them to me,’ I told her.”

See? I told you, good stuff.

Actually, about a month ago I also finished Unigwe’s novel On Black Sisters Street and absolutely loved it. It tells the story of four Nigerian sex workers in Belgium. This is the reason why I picked up the book: for two years, I lived not too far from the Brussels Red Light District, so I was curious to see what the book had to say about prostitution in the country.

I can’t tell to what extent the women’s work experiences described in the book match reality because I never did any research about the Belgian sex industry. But I really like the fact that Unigwe portrays her characters without any condescension or pity.

And while you read, I’m going back to my job search. Those are the joys of the new Canadian immigrant.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Toronto’s warm welcome: a nasty stomach virus

Well, I always imagined my first days in Toronto would be fun.

Instead, I’ve been in bed all the time, feeling weak and nauseous, drifting in and out of sleep.

I’ll be back here in a few days – as soon as I get better and we sort things out at our new apartment.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I’m not crazy

That’s right, I’m not crazy.

Still, when I say that borders shouldn’t exist, people do look at me like I’m crazy. When I elaborate – that borders and visas effectively punish those who were not lucky enough to be born in nice countries – people still look at me like I’m crazy.

Even when I take a step back and say, we need to at least relax immigration rules world-wide and make them more common sense so they can be more in line with the realities of globalization (I mean, I don’t know a single Millennial who hasn’t studied or worked abroad) – people continue to look at me like I’m crazy.

But I’m not crazy. And now, one of my idols, feminist activist Gloria Steinem, agrees. Here’s what she says in a new video about creating social change:

“Practically all big change starts with small groups. You can’t do it by yourself. People are communal creatures. You need to have an alternate, regular place that’s almost an alternate family where you can create a different set of possibilities [and] discover that YOU’re not crazy, the system is crazy.”

I personally realized that the system is crazy only about a year ago. Before that, I used to think was crazy.

My epiphany came when I was living in Belgium – as a Bulgarian. But it’s not just my personal experience with the need for work permits that made me realize it. It was also my work as a reporter. I got to do research about the EU’s immigration system and all I can say is, if you haven’t dealt with it, you’re very lucky.

The term “fortress Europe” is more than accurate. With every passing day, European countries are tightening immigration rules, asking non-EU citizens to meet an ever growing list of requirements, some of them quite unrealistic, before they can live in Europe.

This is despite the fact that study after study shows that Europe, with its aging population, desperately needs immigrants.

And don’t even get me started on detention. Locking up undocumented migrants who have committed no felony is quite prevalent in Europe. And it will continue to be even under the EU’s new common asylum system, which is set to become a reality soon.

So yeah, I’m not crazy, the system is. Now I just need to find that alternate family of like-minded people in Toronto, my new home. Who wants to adopt me?

By the way, before I end this post, a word about the video with Gloria Steinem that I linked to. It’s part of this amazing new digital project called MAKERS, which tells the stories of trailblazing American women – some of them famous, others not so much.

The documentary premiered yesterday in the United States on PBS, but it’s now available on the MAKERS site.

Do watch it! It’s a great, super important piece and I feel extra thrilled about it because the executive producer is Betsy West, one of my instructors at Columbia Journalism School. I took a TV magazine class with Betsy. No textbooks, no exams. We just filmed and produced video stories set in New York City. It is as terrific as it sounds, but that’s another story!

For now, just remember: I’m not crazy, the system is.

Posted in Activism, News | Leave a comment