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posted by Brad Evoy in on sept. 25, 2014 - View profile


Game On: Building PanAm Resistance

DisOrientation 2014 Keynote Panel

- 9:00pm
Jeudi Septembre 25 2014

Venue: O.I.S.E, rm 2211
Address: 252 Bloor Street West
Cost: FREE

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With much fanfare and billions of public dollars expended, the Pan (and Para Pan) American Games will roll into Toronto in July 2015. With less than a year to go before this mega sporting spectacle barrels down upon our city, OPIRG Toronto and its allies are looking critically at the impact of these Games and other mega sporting events the world over. Are these mega sporting events really a force for good in host communities as they are touted out to be? What can we learn from the recently concluded FIFA World Cup in Brazil, or from the experience of Vancouver in hosting the 2010 Olympics or of Montreal doing the same in 1978? What do we make of the serious public protests that have followed these mega events? Or of consistent pattern of colossal public spending followed by massive privatization of profits? What of the accusations that resistance to these sporting events is equivalent to being against sport itself?

Join us for OPIRG’s keynote panel this DisOrientation, for a conversation with Kelly Sue Burgess (OCAP), Harjap Grewal (NOII-Vancouver & Olympics Resistance Network), Craig Fortier (Autonomous Baseball League), and Dr. Helen Lenskyi (Bread not Circuses) as they attack mainstream assumptions about mega-sports, discuss the potentially devastating impacts of Pan Am on Toronto, and propose progressive, anti-oppressive alternatives in sport. Together, we’ll build resistance to the Pan Am circus—Game on!

KELLY SUE BURGESS is an anti-poverty activist who been a member of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) for over a decade. As an engaged community activist and OCAP’s Administrative Coordinator Kelly Sue has seen the devastating effects that gentrification and “upscale urban redevelopment” have on poor neighbourhoods. OCAP is working with community groups on a resistance campaign that will address how the Pan Am Games will intensify these processes and increase the squeeze on poor neighbourhoods that are already experiencing huge losses of social housing and services. 

HARJAP GREWAL is an anti-authoritarian organizer/activist based in Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories, working with the No One Is Illegal collective and a core member of what used to be the Olympics Resistance Network in 2010. His work focuses primarily on migrant, trade, and environmental justice rooted in an anti-capitalist and anti-colonial analysis.

CRAIG FORTIER plays centerfield for The Uncertainty recreational softball team.  He was a founding member of Toronto’s Autonomous Baseball League and a long-time organizer and supporter of migrant justice, Indigenous sovereignty, and anti-capitalist struggles.  He is currently working on a research project that explores the historical ties between baseball’s origin stories, American identity, and the process of settler colonialism.

HELEN JEFFERSON LENSKYJ is Professor Emerita at the University of Toronto.  She has written five books and numerous articles critiquing the Olympic industry and other sport mega-events.  Her 2014 book is titled Sexual Diversity and the Sochi 2014 Olympics: No More Rainbows.  Helen was an active member of the Toronto anti-Olympic group, Bread Not Circuses, for many years, as well as working with community activist, feminist and LGBT organizations in Toronto, Vancouver and Sydney, Australia.

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MARY JEAN HANDE is an activist and researcher who is particularly committed to anti-poverty and disability justice organizing as well community-based research. As Community Research Coordinator with OPIRG Toronto she helped launch a community-directed research project on the impacts of the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto. She is also a researcher for the Closing the Employment Standards Enforcement Gap project and a doctoral candidate in the Adult Education and Community Development program at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Her doctoral research dialectically analyzes both informal and formal disability care provision and activism within the context of a rapidly financializing global economy.  


Organizer:OPIRG -

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Brad Evoy (Brad Evoy)
Member since Octobre 2013


Brad Evoy is a graduate student at the University of Toronto, blogger, writer, commentator, and sometimes firebrand. He has served as one of the Summer Membership and Admin. Coordinators for the Toronto Media Co-op and in the past has written for various other publications. Meanwhile, as an organizer, he's associated with the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG-Toronto) and Scientists for the Right to Know, along with past associations with various student organizations in two provinces.

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