Posted June 21, 2019
ACORN Canada held its 2019 National Convention between June 15th-17th, at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. It was an extremely productive and exciting weekend, with roughly 260 members present from all across Canada. This convention, ACORN Canada sent a strong message to the City of Hamilton that tenants are sick of talk from politicians. Instead, we want real action to protect tenants' rights, and for banks to stop issuing displacement loans to big developers.
The convention kicked off on Saturday, June 15th, with members from all across the country reuniting in Hamilton. This year, ACORN Canada hosted many unique workshops such as Ford Fight Back, Disability Justice, along with Healthy Homes and Tenant Organizing. Also, while the workshops were in session the leader of the federal New Democratic Party (NDP), Jagmeet Singh, dropped in to speak to some of our members about social justice and housing rights. Later on, we enjoyed a pizza dinner, and were welcomed to the Hamilton-West-Ancaster-Dundas riding by its local Member of Provincial Parliament Sandy Shaw. After, we had a powerful member speak out, where leaders from different offices updated members on the critical work they were doing in their home chapters. A few slices of pizza and many laughs later, the first night of the Convention came to a close.
The next day began in the Michael DeGroote Centre for Learning, as delegates from different chapters marched into the Convention. After everyone was seated, our plenary session was opened by an address from Marva Burnett, President of ACORN Canada. She was then followed by speeches from: Hassan Yussuff, the President of the Canadian Labour Congress; Nrinder Nann, Hamilton City Councillor from Ward 3; and Anthony Marco, President of the Hamilton District Labour Council. We then brushed up on our door knocking skills with a short outreach workshop. Then it was time for our big afternoon of door knocking in Hamilton, with over 150 members taking to the streets, collecting close to 3000 signatures! After a successful afternoon of door knocking, we were treated to a hearty meal at Mohawk College for our formal Gala Dinner. We were joined by Matthew Green, NDP Candidate for Hamilton Centre, who gave us a rousing speech in solidarity of affordable housing and human rights - followed by a performance by hip hop artist Mohammed Ali. What a fantastic way to close our night!
Monday, the final day of the convention, was ACTION TIME! After a short briefing, we were ready to show Hamilton what ACORN Canada was made of! We assembled at J.C Beemer Park and took the fight for social justice to the steps of Malluem’s Head Office to present them the “Displacer of the Year Award”, and demand respect for the rights of tenants and to stop speculating land along the light rail transit line! Next stop was RBC, where our members flooded their halls to protest their practice of lending to housing developers who displace tenants. Finally, we took our message to the steps of Hamilton’s City Hall, where we were met by Hamilton City Councillor Jason Farr, and were covered by members of the press all throughout our day of action (click here to see video and pictures from The Hamilton Spectator). This marked the conclusion of our 2019 National Convention in Hamilton, Ontario!
ACORN Canada thanks all of our extremely dedicated members for another successful conference. There can be no justice without the power of the people.
We would like to thank the following sponsors for their contributions which helped make the convention possible:
Thank you to the following speakers:
Jason Farr, Councillor Ward 2
Matthew Green, NDP Candidate Hamilton Centre
Anthony Marco, HDLC President
Nrinder Nann, Councillor Ward 3
Sandy Shaw, MPP Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas
Hassan Yussuff, CLC President
And performer Mohammad Ali (Socialist Hip Hop)
Thank you also to the staff of McMaster University for hosting us, and the Mohawk Students' Association at Mohawk College for hosting our Gala Dinner. And of course to the people of Hamilton who welcomed us with open arms to your great city, and joined us in solidarity!