Learning in Social Action: Students of Color and the Québec Student Movement


  • Lena Palacios McGill University
  • Rosalind Hampton McGill Universtiy
  • Ilyan Ferrer McGill University
  • Elma Moses McGill University
  • Edward Oh Jin Lee


It is clear that neoliberal policies, along with austerity measures, serve to reinforce and further the oppression of marginalized groups such as poor and working class, Indigenous, racialized, migrant, LGBTQ, and women. Racialized people, especially racialized women, systematically earn less income that their non-racialized counterparts, end up in more precarious employment, are 2 to 4 times more likely to live in poverty, encounter structural discrimination within the labour market and take longer to pay off student debt. Consequently, tuition hikes disproportionately impact racialized communities, systematically excluding even more racialized people from university education. Through their participation in the 2012 Québec student strike, members of Students of Colour Montreal asserted that broader issues of systemic inequality are considered and that links be made between the predominantly White student movement and ongoing struggles for Indigenous, racial and migrant justice.

Author Biographies

Lena Palacios, McGill University

Lena Palacios is a PhD Candidate (Education and Communication Studies) at McGill University. She is a member of the Students of Colour Montreal collective and of Life after Life, a collective dedicated to prison abolition.  Her research focuses on critical race feminisms, prison abolitionism, transformative justice, and transnational student movements.

Rosalind Hampton, McGill Universtiy

Rosalind Hampton is a parent, educator and artist who has worked in the fields of social services, community work, education and workers' rights.  She is currently a doctoral student in Educational Studies at McGill, pursuing research that examines structural and systemic relationships between the University and Montreal Black communities.

Ilyan Ferrer, McGill University

Ilyan Ferrer is a PhD Candidate at McGill University's School of Social Work.  His doctoral research focuses on the experiences of aging, im/migration, caring, and the labour of transnational Filipinos.  Ilyan has also worked as a community organizer with the Filipino community in Montreal.

Elma Moses, McGill University

Dr. Elma Moses is a member of Cree Nation of Eastmain and is a Residential School Survivor. She recently completed her PhD in Education at McGill and currently teaches courses in the First Peoples Studies program at Concordia University. Her research explores Indigenous knowledge and methodologies, sacred stories as healing, and the residential school experience.

Edward Oh Jin Lee

Edward Ou Jin Lee is a community organizer within queer and trans people of colour and migrant communities in Montreal / Kanienkehaka (Mohawk) Territory. They also engage in scholar-activism to better understand the social organization of queer migrations through the lens of critical race feminism.