On July 21, starting at 2 p.m., at the Workers Arts & Heritage Centre, I will be participating in a roundtable discussion about the history and contemporary lives of Portuguese working people in Canada, and how they intersect with contemporary art practices. Our conversation will be prompted by Teresa Ascenção‘s exhibition “Daily Bread,” currently on display at the WAHC. This event is free and open to all.
There has been over eighty riots throughout the history of Toronto, some of them quite large. This seemingly high number contradicts the idea of a peaceful and even dull “Toronto the Good,” and of Canada as a land of peace, order, and good governance, where differences have been negotiated through compromise, unlike our southern neighbours. Race, religion, political views, labour relations, social inequality, youth rebelliousness, have been the most common factors triggering these relatively short outburst of violence. In all of them, Toronto’s police forces have played a central role, as law and order enforcers, as violence instigators, or as passive bystanders. Toronto’s riot history is an important thread for weaving the story of its police forces, political rulers, inter-ethnic/racial relations, religious communities, and other significant historical agents.
In 2016-17, HIST4530 students wrote about various riots in Toronto’s past, drawing from primary (i.e. newspapers and maps) and secondary source materials. The assignment asked for them to write for a public history audience, which required them to write clearly and succinctly, and summarize complex ideas into simplified yet nuanced short texts. I have since edited and built on the students’ work, and created a digital map and timeline using Omeka/ Neatline, called Toronto the Bad: A Riots Map and Timeline.
This assignment will be repeated in 2017-18. The incoming HIST4530 students’ work will feed into this digital resource, which remains a work in progress. This work is also featured in Myseum of Toronto‘s mobile application.
I am also currently working on an article about Toronto’s riot history.
Thank you to everyone who came to our “Summer of ’77” Community Conversation at the Gallery of the Portuguese Pioneers last night. We had wonderful presentations that were both enlightening and moving. The discussion afterwards was stimulating, engaging, and generated a lot of positive energy, which will propel us forward, towards other events addressing important historical and contemporary issues. Great things can happen – and did happen last night – when we put academic historians, community advocates, historical agents, and people who have been impacted by past events, and their legacies, in the same room, talking to each other. One of the most important conversations that we started last night was about Portuguese-Canadian queer history and identity, and how it is tied to the legacy of 77. Together we identified a path forward: find more Portuguese-Canadian LGBTQ (his)stories, showcase them, and build on them, so that Portuguese-Canadian queer adults and youth can have a frame of reference in which to talk openly about their experiences, and conciliate those identities in a positive and meaningful way.
We had lots of news coverage, including Laura Fraser’s story on CBC.ca – today’s editors pick – and CBC Radio, with contributions from some of our panelists.
In case you missed our roundtable discussion last night, you can watch the live recording on the Gallery of the Portuguese Pioneers’ Facebook page (apologies for the technical difficulties). The audio recording of the presentations will be made available on ActiveHistory.ca at a later date.
Constança Saraiva’s book “A Little Country Across the Ocean,” for which I have contributed a brief introduction about the history of Portuguese-Americans, is being launched on June 4th in New York and June 5th in Lisbon. See link below for more.
I have organized a York University Community Conversation on the murder of Emanuel Jaques in the summer of 1977, and the major impact it had in Toronto, particularly with Portuguese, LGBTQ, and sex worker communities. I will be one of the presenters in this public panel, alongside historians Daniel Ross and Tom Hooper, and sex worker and advocate Valerie Scott, and moderated by Maria João Dodman.
This event will take place on June 22, from 6pm to 8pm, at the Gallery of the Portuguese Pioneers (960 St. Clair Ave. West).
For the 64th anniversary of the arrival of the first group of Portuguese “bulk order” migrant workers on Pier 21, in Halifax, I have created a digital map with the current location of and statistics about the largest Portuguese immigrant, ethnic, and speaking communities in Canada. You can find it here.
On November 14, 2016, I gave a presentation at the Toronto Workers History Project’s general meeting where I introduced the audience to the PCHP’s mission and activities. That presentation was recorded and can be seen on Vimeo here.