CASJ story documented in research study

TORONTO–The Joint Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement-Toronto (CERIS) has recently published a research study documenting how the Community Alliance for Social Justice (CASJ) evolved from the crisis resulting from the fatal shooting of Jeffrey Reodica by a Toronto Police officer.

The publication, titled “The Road to Empowerment in Toronto’s Filipino Community: Moving from Crisis to Community Capacity Building,” authored by Mila Astorga-Garcia, was released this month (April 2007) as CERIS Working Paper No. 54, and now forms part of the prestigious research institution’s Working Paper Series – a scholarly collection of studies on topics related to immigration, settlement and cultural diversity in urban centers.

The study “describes how a crisis in Toronto’s Filipino community stemming from the shooting death of a 17-year old student Jeffrey Reodica by a Toronto policeman evolved into a social justice movement that was built through a community capacity-building effort. It reports on how the family and community were drawn together to cope with the crisis in their own supportive way: by taking action to seek redress for what they saw as a racial and oppressive act by the strong against the weak,” according to the Abstract.

The research followed through almost three years of developments — from the onset of the crisis following Reodica’s death, to the release of the jury recommendations from the Coroner’s Inquest on the case.

The study was first presented in a workshop at the international conference, “Community Crisis Response: Looking Through A Cultural Lens,” held June 9-10, 2005 in Toronto. It was presented again during a 2006 seminar attended by faculty and students in the University of Toronto as part of an anthropology course that looked into Philippine culture. Since then, it has been used as reference by university students studying about the Filipino community issues in Toronto.

It was a major reference in a brief to support the CASJ’s application for Ontario Legal Aid fund towards the organization’s intervenor role in the Coroner’s Inquest on Jeffrey’s death.

The study was also used by Manila media as background information on the Jeffrey Reodica story that appeared in the weekend magazine of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, largest circulated newspaper in the Philippines.

The study now forms part of current literature on community crisis response and capacity building, used in academic, community and government policy research circles.

Garcia is Research Coordinator of CASJ, Research Analyst of the City of Toronto, and Managing Editor of CERIS is a consortium of Toronto-area universities and community partners. It is one of five such research centres across Canada. CERIS is the Canadian component of The Metropolis Project, an international forum for research and policy on immigration, diversity and changing cities. Launched in 1996, the Metropolis Project strives to improve policies for managing immigration and diversity by focusing scholarly attention on critical issues. All project initiatives involve policy makers, researchers, and members of non-governmental organizations.