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Quebec's 'Maple Spring' Student Protest Forces Out Education Minister

LA PRESSE (Canada)

After three straight months of strikes, including several violent clashes, the Quebec student movement can finally claim a tangible victory. Quebec's Education Minister Line Beauchamp resigned Monday evening, to be replaced by Michelle Courchesne. The province's new minister is expected to meet leaders of the student associations later Tuesday, to "evaluate the situation," she said, but not to negotiate, La Presse reports.

The "Maple Spring", which began on February 2012, was prompted as a protest against the rise of university tuition fees. The Quebec government led by Premier Jean Charest had advocated an increase of 1,625 Canadian dollars over five years. The movement reached critical mass on March 22, when a demonstration gathered between 100,000 and 200,000 people in Montreal, one of Canada's largest demonstrations ever. Last Thursday, protesters launched smoke bombs on the city's subway line.

The Quebec student strike reached a new boiling point at the beginning of the week. On Monday morning, some 100 students blocked the access to Rosemont College, even as the school's administrators were urging the students to go back to class.

At least one student was injured when the police tried to make a breach into the crowd to access the Rosemont entrance. The 17-years-old student was treated for a head injury after he was hit with a billy club. Classes were suspended following this incident, as well as in neighboring Édouard-Montpetit College. Other colleges were also blocked Monday morning in Montreal. In many schools, the term has already been cancelled.

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The Changing Destiny Of Chicago's Polish Diaspora

Based on conversations with author and psychotherapist Gregorz Dzedzić, who is part of the Polish diaspora in Chicago, as well as the diary entries of generations of Polish immigrants, journalist Joanna Dzikowska has crafted a narrative that characterizes the history of the community, from its beginnings to its modern-day assimilation.

The Changing Destiny Of Chicago's Polish Diaspora

In the 1990s and early 2000s, the Polish diaspora was still quite insular.

Joanna Dzikowska

“There were instances when people came here from Polish villages, in traditional shoes and clothing, and, the next day, everything was burned, and I no longer recognized the people who came up to me, dressed and shaved in the American fashion. The newly-dressed girls quickly found husbands, who in turn had to cover all of their new wives’ expenses. There were quite a lot of weddings here, because there were many single men, so every woman — lame, hunchbacked or one-eyed — if only a woman, found a husband right away."

- From the diary of Marcel Siedlecki, written from 1878 to 1936

CHICAGO — To my father, Poland was always a country with a deep faith in God and the strength of Polish honor. When he spoke about Poland, his voice turned into a reverent whisper.

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