Home > The Call to Speak out > Please Help my friend Kim Rivera

Please Help my friend Kim Rivera

Dear Readers,

I am about to break all my rules of anonymity to take a political stance in support of a dear friend of mine. This blog is purposely written under my pseudonym and will remain so. This post will remain up until September 20. For my readers in Canada – whether you know me or not – I ask that you read the following and take action. You most likely have heard of my friend as it’s on the news quite a bit. At the very least, I ask you to pray for this beautiful family in a time of great need, uncertainty and undoubtedly fear.

This is regarding a dear friend of mine, her four beautiful children and we have two weeks to get the Minister of Immigration to revoke his decision – which means I need your help. Kim Rivera (see her story below) sought asylum in Canada after refusing to be redeployed to Iraq due to her convictions. On August 30, Kim and her family were given a deportation notice to leave Canada by September 20th or face forcible removal. The Riveras are worried that if she will face severe penalties including imprisonment (possibly up to 10 years!). She has four children, two of whom were born in Canada, and the youngest is 18months. Kim is the first female resister for the Iraq War.

I am writing to spread awareness – please feel free to forward my email to anyone you can think of. I am asking you to write or call Jason Kenney, Minister of Immigration (see below for more information) and if you are able to come out for one of the peaceful petitioning and leafletting and peaceful demonstration in the coming weeks (various locations across the country).
I am aware that there are various views on the Iraq war. But I am asking you to please read this story and if you are able, to do what you can to support a courageous woman who stood up for what she believed in and is now facing huge consequences. There are multiple ways to get involved which I’ve listed below. The War Resisters are going to put up a template for a letter that you can use and I’ve included a sample phone message.
To give a glimpse of who is supporting this movement… Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote a letter to the Minister of Immigration asking him to protect war resisters and Kim Rivera in particular. Amnesty International has also written a similar letter. I believe War Resisters (www.resisters.ca) will be posting these letters on their website.

Did you oppose the Iraq War? So did Kimberly Rivera.
Kimberly Rivera grew up in Mesquite, Texas. When she was 17, Army recruiters visited her home offering money for college that her family did not have. She signed up to be a mechanic and was enlisted in the Army Reserves.In October 2006 her unit was activated and deployed to Iraq. What she witnessed during that deployment affected her deeply. In January 2007 on a two week leave in the US, Kim and her husband Mario agreed she would not go back to Iraq. In 2007 she became the first woman U.S. Iraq war resister to seek asylum in Canada. She lives in Canada with her husband and four children, two of them born in Canada. In 2009, Kimberly Rivera and her family were granted a stay of removal after the Harper government ordered her deported on March 26, 2009. On March 30, 2009, Parliament passed a motion calling on the government to allow Iraq War resisters to stay. Yet the Conservative government is once again attempting to deport the Rivera family.If deported, Kim faces harsh punishment at the hands of the US military, including jail time and separation from her family. She will be punished for having the courage to stand up against the illegal Iraq War. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney has prejudiced the chances of US war resisters being treated fairly, by labelling them “bogus refugee claimants” and by issuing a directive to immigration officers that states that US war resisters may be criminally inadmissible to Canada because they have deserted the US military.
Amnesty International and others have called for the rescinding of this directive.
A majority of Canadians support US Iraq war resisters. Parliament has voted twice now to stop their deportations and to let them stay in Canada. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has acknowledged the Iraq War was “absolutely an error” but is handing over to the US government the soldiers who came to the same conclusion.

 

HOW CAN YOU HELP?
(1) Write, email, phone or fax Minister of Immigration Jason Kenney to ask that Kimberly Rivera, her family and all Iraq War resisters be allowed to stay in Canada
325 East Block, House of Commons, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Phone: 613-954-1064  Fax: 613-957-2688  Email: minister@cic.gc.ca

Templates for letters will be posted on the War resisters website:http://resisters.ca/support-the-rivera-family/letter-to-jason-kenney/

Template for phone message: Hello, my name is __________________  from  ______________________. I’m calling about the case of Kimberly Rivera, a US resister to the Iraq War, who has been ordered to leave Canada by September 20th. Kim has a husband and four children, two of them born in this country. In the United States, Kim is likely to face a long jail term, tearing the family apart. Please let them stay in Canada, where since 2007 she and her family have become well integrated into the community.

(2) Spread the news! Tell your friends, your church, your colleagues, your networks. We need to get as much people on board as fast as possible – we have 14 days! Feel free to forward my blog entry.

(3) Join a Canada-wide day of petitioning and leafletting at the following locations (Friday September 14th from 4:30 to 6:00pm) – see War Resisters website for details

(4) Join a peaceful demonstration on Wednesday September 19th from 4:30-6:00 pm to call on Jason Kenney to halt the deportation of Kim Rivera and her family (again, see War resisters for details)

(5) Write your member of parliament

Visit www.resisters.ca for updates and further information on Kim Rivera and other Iraq war resisters in Canada

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