Canada – On Sunday, a local band performed live music to commemorate the first-ever Migrant Worker Day in the area. The aroma of Jamaican and Mexican food filled the air at Leamington’s Seacliff Park.
The area honored the migrant workers with sounds and fragrances from their hometowns as a way of showing respect for the thousands of people who travel from other countries to work in southwestern Ontario’s agricultural sector.
Although this past Sunday was the first time this day was acknowledged, the city of Leamington declared that moving forward it will always be observed on the first Sunday of the summer.
According to Francy Munoz, who assisted in organizing the festival, “Migrant Workers Day is a reunion with their culture, with their food, with their music, with something that they need in Canada.”
Munoz is a lead on the C. A. R. E. for International Workers Program and a legal assistant at the Windsor-Essex Bilingual Legal Clinic.
“It has been a difficult moment for them, so now that COVID has passed, it’s a pleasure for us to have this kind of event presented to them,” Munoz said. Sometimes [the workers] feel alone, specifically after COVID, she added.
Approximately 1,200 employees attended the celebrations throughout the day, according to Munoz.
“This is incredible. For them, ‘My nation is in Canada’. Canada is offering me some portion of my country,” and “This is another symbol of my country here. You won’t believe it, but this is truly incredible for both them and us,” She spoke.
To offer the workers a flavor of home, Adelaida Bishop brought her catering skills to the occasion and prepared traditional Filipino cuisine.
According to Bishop, cooking for the employees and seeing them eat her food was an ‘overwhelming’ experience. “It means really a lot to me because every culture, every nationality, they always want to eat something like from their home, their country, so when I cook something like for example the lumpia, the spring rolls, it brings back the memory from where we’re from, so that’s why it really means a lot to me,” she said.