Now is the perfect time to create change. Now is time to dismantle the systemic racism that surrounds us.
The violent deaths of D’Andre Campbell, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, George Floyd and many others in Canada and the United States, have had a significant impact on many, particularly members of our Black communities, which includes our service users, staff and Board. The level of violence directed at the Black community is unbearable to witness but even more so to experience.
For some of us, these tragic incidents have triggered memories of the killing of Andrew Loku. He was one of our service users, who died at the Toronto Police’s hands five years ago. At that time, we immediately saw it for what it was – anti-Black racism.
Across Boundaries joined the calls for an SIU investigation, unredacted SIU report, an inquest, and sat through 21 days of heartbreaking details of Andrew Loku’s last day and ultimate death. At the end of the inquest, we left with a level of satisfaction for the first time in Ontario. The verdicts in a Black man’s death resulted in a clear reflection of Anti-Black racism being core in the police response, and clear recommendations for the Toronto Police Services, Toronto Police Services Board, Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, and others. The big question we have today is – To what extent have any of those recommendations been reviewed and implemented?
Let’s also take this opportunity to say that anti-Black racism and other forms of discrimination do not begin and end with our police institutions. While we acknowledge that it is at the hands of police that we see the most traumatic and immediate consequences, we are all complicit. This includes health, mental health, child welfare, media, and others that are on the periphery of systems of care and work together to sustain and nurture systemic, ongoing violence against our communities.
Anti-Black racism is real, and it is global.
Racism is an act of commission; it is also an omission, negligence, and targeted lack of oversight. Anti-Black racism is not going to go away if we deny it, minimize it or mock it.
We hope that the recent tragic events, and the spotlight on anti-Black racism will pave the way for us to move forward as a global community. We must accept that this insidious disease is real and pervasive. We must look internally to see how we continue to promote it and take meaningful actions to address it.
Across Boundaries hopes that we can pull apart racist systems and begin the healing process in the not so distant future.
Learn how having an anti-oppression practice can help your workplace.
Police shooting of Andrew Loku ruled a homicide by inquest jury.
Ontario Man shot, killed by police during wellness check.
Across Boundaries’ News
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