Whether you are in your first month of undergrad or have been at McGill for six years, you may struggle to find spaces that you feel comfortable in or that provide you the support you need on and around campus. To help connect folks with helpful resources, activism opportunities, and support systems, the Daily has compiled a list of anti-oppressive groups on and around campus. This list is organized in the following categories:
- Social Justice and Activism
- Environmental Justice
- Resources for Racialized Students
- Resources for 2SLGBTQ+ Students
- Health and Well-being
Please note that any events and activities may be subject to change due to campus closures and social distance guidelines resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We encourage students to reach out directly to groups that you are interested in for more information.
Social Justice and Activism
McGill Students in Solidarity with Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR)
SPHR McGill is a non-hierachical, “non-profit, student-based organization that advocates to uphold the rights of the Palestinian people in the face of human rights violations and all forms of racism, discrimination, misinformation, and misrepresentation.” Students can get involved with SPHR by attending their meetings, informative workshops on the occupation in Palestine, and cultural events such as movie screenings and hummus sales.
McGill Students for a Free Tibet (SFT)
McGill Students for a Free Tibet is the campus chapter of Students for a Free Tibet, a “grassroots network which amplifies the voices of Tibetans inside Tibet in the pursuit of freedom and human rights.” They use education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action to “campaign for Tibetans’ fundamental right to political freedom.” Students can get involved in SFT by attending meetings, educational workshops, and cultural events such as movie screenings and cooking classes.
CKUT 90.3 FM
CKUT 90.3 FM is McGill’s non-profit, campus-community radio station! According to their Facebook page, “CKUT provides alternative music, news and spoken word programming to the city of Montreal and surrounding areas, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”
CKUT has a number of volunteer, internship, and employment opportunities, which can be found at https://www.ckut.ca/en.
Independent Jewish Voices McGill (IJV)
According to their Facebook page, “IJV McGill is a group of Jewish students and community members who stand in solidarity with Palestine.” IJV organizes and orchestrates direct actions, including demonstrations, along with SPHR, while also acting as a social and cultural space for Jewish students who are critical of Zionism by hosting Shabbat and other gatherings.
The McGill chapter of the Quebec Public Interest Research Group (QPIRG) is “a non-profit, student-run organization that unites McGill and Montreal communities in the fight for social and environmental justice through research, education, and by taking action.” QPIRG is run by a non-hierarchical volunteer board of directors made up of McGill students and community members.
QPIRG McGill works on a number of projects, including their annual event series Culture Shock, alternative orientation program Rad Frosh, alternative school planner School Schmool, and Montreal-based research journal Convergence.
Prisoner Correspondence Project
The Prisoner Correspondence Project is a working group of QPIRG-Concordia that “coordinates a direct-correspondence program for gay, lesbian, transsexual, transgender, gendervariant, two-spirit, intersex, bisexual and queer inmates in Canada and the United States, linking these inmates with people a part of these same communities outside of prison.” They also compile a resource library of information about topics such as harm reduction, sexuality, and HIV prevention, as well as hold educational events about incarceration and criminalization for folks on the outside.
To become a penpal, visit https://prisonercorrespondenceproject.com/.
Climate Justice Action McGill (C-JAM)
C-JAM is a non-hierarchical group at McGill that “demands climate justice from the McGill administration and Canadian governments” through non-violent direct action. As explained on their Facebook page, their principles are to:
- Operate under anti-oppressive practices
- Prioritise Indigenous, Black, and marginalised voices (and work to amplify them)
- Work to minimise social hierarchies that often manifest in activist groups
- Prioritise systemic, political change over individual consumer change
Past initiatives of C-JAM include organizing the McGill contingent of the global climate strike, hosting a webinar series with Wet’suwet’en elder Marlene Hale, and a DIY seed-bombing workshop with the SSMU Environment Committee.
Divest McGill is a 7-year-old “environmental justice campaign calling on McGill University to acknowledge and address the urgency of the climate crisis by withdrawing the direct (segregated) investments of its endowment fund from the fossil fuel industry.” According to their website, their specific goals are to:
- Complete and transparent divestment from the top 200 fossil fuel companies (globally, by reserves)
- Mobilize our supporters in solidarity with Indigenous and other marginalized students on campus, in Montreal, and in Canada
- Educate and mobilize the McGill community (administration, staff, and students) in support of bold and justice-oriented climate action such as carbon neutrality and pipeline resistance
Students can get involved in a number of tasks and teams including outreach, communications, and research.
Resources for Racialized Students
Black Students’ Network (BSN)
The Black Students’ Network is a service of the Students Society of McGill University (SSMU) that is “dedicated to addressing the needs and interests of Black students.” They host a variety of social and political events by and for Black students including Soul Food Fridays, Hair Day, Black Frosh, Black Grad, Youth Day, and much more.
BSN has a list of resources for Black students on their website at https://www.bsnmcgill.com/black-at-mcgill.
Indigenous Student Alliance (ISA)
ISA is a group at McGill that “provides integrative support for Indigenous peoples’ attending McGill University to connect and share [their] unique, authentic indigenous ways of knowing with each other and with non-indigenous peoples within the community.”
They host a variety of events including demonstrations in solidarity with Indigenous land defenders, educational workshops, bannock sales, and collaborative cultural events with groups such as Am McGill and McGill Students for a Free Tibet.
First Peoples’ House (FPH)
The First Peoples’ House provides many kinds of support for Indigenous students, typically including weekly meals and culturally-informed academic support. The FPH also hosts many events throughout the year, including “Powwows and Feasts aimed at fostering community bonds.” Additionally, the First Peoples’ House offers 10 single-occupancy rooms from September 1 – July 31 each year, with applications prioritizing Indigenous graduate and undergraduate students.
Pan-Asian Collective Montreal (PAC)
The Pan-Asian Collective is a group that intends to uplift and encourage “meaningful engagement in Asian history and culture” at Montreal-area universities. Through events including potlucks and movie screenings as well as their discussion group series, Un(PAC)k, the Pan-Asian Collective aims to provide space for support, education, and solidarity for the Asian community in Montreal.
Resources for 2SLGBTQ+ Students
Queer McGill (QM)
Queer McGill (QM) is a student-run service which offers resources including a queer library (English only, online library available on their website), safer-sex supplies, and gender-affirming products. QM also offers events focusing on queer students, including Rad Sex Month, games nights, and open mics. Remote events are being held during this semester, and can be accessed through the Queer McGill Social Distancing Group on Facebook.
The Union for Gender Empowerment (UGE)
The UGE describes itself as a “trans-positive and anti-racist feminist organization.” Its co-op offers safer sex supplies, gender-affirming products, and eco-friendly menstrual supplies, and is operating socially-distanced this semester. The UGE also co-runs an alternative library with Queer McGill and provides discretionary funding for social-justice-oriented projects, and will be providing a safe space in the University Centre (with limited access for pandemic safety reasons.)
Jeunes Queer Youth
Jeunes Queer Youth is a bilingual project-funding program comprised of five Montreal organizations focusing on empowering queer youth in the city: AIDS Community Care Montreal (ACCM), Action Santé Travesti(e)s et Transsexuel(le)s du Québec (ASTT(e)Q), the Montreal Coalition of LGBT Youth Groups, Project 10 and Rézo). The Jeunes Queer Youth program provides funding and guidance for young leaders looking to provide sexual health information to queer and trans youth in Montreal.
Health and Well-being
The Sexual Assault Centre of the McGill Students’ Society (SACOMSS) provides support to survivors of sexual violence and their allies through “direct support, advocacy, and outreach.” The volunteer-run organization offers support groups, an English phone service (Drop-In and Line or DIAL), and facilitates workshops and trainings around sexual violence. SACOMSS interviews volunteers in mid-September!
McGill Office for Sexual Violence Response, Support and Education (OSVRSE)
OSVRSE is a service that “provides confidential, non-judgmental and non-directional support” within a survivor-centred, intersectional approach to members of the McGill community who have been impacted by sexual or gender-based violence. Survivors can access support services and short-term counselling, receive assistance with resource coordination (e.g. obtaining accommodations, accessing support services, and safety planning), and discuss reporting options.
Members of the McGill community looking to access OSVRSE’s services at this time should use their McGill email address to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aids Community Care Montreal (ACCM)
ACCM is Montreal’s only English-language volunteer driven community “organization that provides support services and treatment information to people living with HIV/AIDS and/or hepatitis C.” The organization provides social and support services such as discussion groups, 1-on-1 support, and practical assistance to people living with HIV and hepatitis C. People living with HIV and hepatitis C can also receive information about treatment, symptoms, and medical coverage. These services are available to both those who have been recently diagnosed and those who have been living with HIV or hepatitis C for longer periods of time.
They also run a number of educational programs to “decrease the transmission of HIV, hepatitis C and other sexually transmitted and blood borne infections.” These programs include sexual health kiosks, workshops, and SextEd, a free anonymous texting helpline for youth seeking information about sex and dating.
SextEd Phone Number: 514-700-4411
ACCM Phone Number: 514-527-0928
The Concordia Student Union’s Housing and Job Resource Centre (HOJO) provides guidance and support to student renters across Montreal. HOJO offers legal assistance regarding workers’ rights and housing issues, workshops, classifieds for jobs and apartments, and the online housing information resource likehome.info (available in English, French, and Mandarin). These services are available to all student residents of Montreal!