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Founding Chair Michael Battista celebrates designation of Rainbow Railroad as a referral partner

Updated: Jun 28, 2023

In his capacity as Founding Chair of Rainbow Railroad, Michael Battista met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, Rainbow Railroad CEO Kimahli Powell and LGBTQ+ refugees assisted by Rainbow Railroad at the Freedom Party in Toronto. The Prime Minister and Immigration Minister were thanked for designating Rainbow Railroad as a referral partner for the government’s resettlement of government assisted refugees.

Government assisted refugees are screened and selected from overseas and resettled in Canada with Canadian government support. To date, the Canadian government has relied upon the UNCHR to referred qualified cases for processing, and now Rainbow Railroad will partner with the Canadian government to assess and recommend qualified cases.

“It was a dream for me and the other founders of Rainbow Railroad to achieve this status,” said Michael in reaction to the news. “The organization was formed for specifically this purpose: to identify and resettle LGBTQ+ refugees to places of safety. I couldn’t be more proud of its achievements and effectiveness. It is a true example of what our community can achieve when it sees a need.”

Battista formed Rainbow Railroad through work with other community activists beginning in 2006. Rainbow Railroad in now a respected international organization with a budget in the millions. In 2023, the organization has so far received over 4,100 requests for assistance, and is averaging 10,000 requests for help a year.

"Congratulations to Kimahli Powell who has been instrumental in growing the organization and achieving referral partner status." Battista said.

Learn about and support Rainbow Railroad’s work here:


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