June 12, 2020
“It is not possible to be in favour of justice for some people and not be in favour of justice for all people.” – Martin Luther King
The events of the past few weeks have pushed the issue of Anti-Black racism back to the forefront of society. We mourn the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, we’re outraged by the death of George Floyd in the custody of police, and we’re angered by the antics of Amy Cooper against Christian Cooper in Central Park. Sadly, countless other incidents of harassment and violence against Black people, as they go about their daily lives, can be added to this list. It’s time for change.
Anti-Black racism is never acceptable. Racial profiling, over-surveillance, excessive and lethal force – all forms of racial discrimination— in law enforcement are never acceptable. This, clearly, isn’t solely an issue for the Black community. Racial discrimination in law enforcement is a pressing concern for all racialized communities. Indigenous communities in Canada have been severely affected by racial injustice. Although the examples are countless, recent incidents include the abuse of the Inuk man in Nunavut and the death of Chantel Moore in New Brunswick. We feel all these recent tragedies and we mourn the losses of life. We must do better. We can’t let these incidents fade into history without embracing the opportunity to address the issue of all forms of racism against racialized people in our society.
We call on the justice system to look at their policies and practices and make changes where required to ensure that all citizens – regardless of race – are treated fairly. We call on our democratic leadership to acknowledge that systemic racism exists in our society, and we implore them to courageously push for reforms to address racist attitudes that are ingrained in the fabric of our society. We challenge all individuals to follow the example of the young people (of all races and backgrounds) who are engaging in peaceful protests around the world. We stand with all those who demand justice for those who are victims of discrimination, hate and violence.
As human rights advocates, we actively work to protect and promote human rights, and that includes arguing cases at the Human Rights Tribunal where individuals have experienced harmful events related to their race at work, school, or in receiving services. As an organization made of individuals dedicated to this cause, we can and will actively resist, and actively support. We stand in solidarity with the organizations working to advance equality for Black, Indigenous, and other racialized communities in Ontario.