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By Joel Wass


The day I get thrown in jail I’ll crawl into the fetal position, wet my pants and sob for my mother to save me.

The day Wendy Maxwell went to jail she began taking down names of prisoners who needed legal representation. Toronto police arrested Maxwell, a programmer at CKLN, last Saturday while she was selling cookies for the International Women’s Day Fair.

She’d been living in Canada illegally for nearly two years. After her arrest Maxwell was sent to the Vanier Women’s Detention Centre in Milton, Ont.

“As soon as she got there she started looking for women who needed help from (Ontario Coalition Against Poverty),” I was told by Eve Labi, Maxwell’s close friend for the past two years.

OCAP is a Toronto-based organization that fights for those facing eviction, termination of welfare benefits and deportation. On occassion they also hook up people with lawyers.

It’s great that Maxwell wanted to help her fellow inmates, but it’s difficult to understand why she wasn’t thinking about herself, considering the tribulations she’s gone through:

Maxwell fled Costa Rica in 1997 because of the persecution she faced as a black homosexual; she has been separated from her two children for nearly 10 years and her refugee claim and subsequent legal applications to live in Canada have all been denied.

A public arrest can now be added to that series of shitty events. I don’t have the space to argue immigrants’ rights, but Maxwell’s selflessness will be severly missed if she is forced to go.

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