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Anti-Black Racism and Policing: Keep up the Pressure

    Thursday, January 14, 2021 - 18:24
    Photo Credit: 
    Clay Banks (via Unsplash)

    What’s this all about?

    Anti-Black racism is prejudice, attitudes, beliefs, stereotyping and discrimination that is directed at people of African descent and is rooted in their unique history and experience of enslavement and its legacy. Anti-Black racism is deeply entrenched in Canadian institutions, policies and practices, to the extent that anti-Black racism is either functionally normalized or rendered invisible to the larger White society. Anti-Black racism is manifest in the current social, economic, and political marginalization of African Canadians, which includes unequal opportunities, lower socio-economic status, higher unemployment, significant poverty rates and overrepresentation in the criminal justice system. [source: https://www.ontario.ca/document/data-standards-identification-and-monitoring-systemic-racism/glossary]

    Communities have been speaking out for decades about how Black people experience policing in Canada. It’s time to listen: racism is not up for debate – it’s systemic.

    A Comprehensive reform agenda should:

    • ban the practices of carding, street checks, and racial profiling by police,
    • overhaul the approach to wellness checks,
    • refrain from additional funding for law enforcement,
    • consider significant reductions in spending on policing,
    • curtail militarization of police forces,
    • discontinue programs that put police in schools, ban the use of facial recognition technology by police for mass surveillance,
    • address the intersectionality that exists in policing Black women and Black trans individuals,
    • comprehensively overhaul police oversight,
    • and end all other harmful and racist policies and practices.

    TAKE ACTION

    We need more signatures on the online petition urging Premiers to support new, transformative approaches to upholding public safety! Please sign and share this action widely on social media.

    You can increase the impact by writing personal letter to your Premier using the online action a guide. Find your Premier’s address here. Schedule a special letter writing session for your group online and consider organizing a discussion, watching a video or inviting a speaker. See also the book club information below.

    WHAT ELSE YOU CAN DO

    Write to PM Trudeau and Minister Blair about holding police accountable for anti-Black racism and explore anti-racist resources

    Follow @AmnestyCanada on Instagram and share our commentary on specific cases as they arise, such as Anthony Aust and Sheffield Matthews from October 2020.

    ESSENTIAL READS

    Police action to disperse and arrest activists in Ottawa raises questions
    Black and Indigenous Solidarity Against Systemic Racism
    More than 50 years since police killing of Fred Hampton: Anti-Black racism remains deeply rooted in the United States and Canada
     
    UPCOMING BOOK CLUB FEATURE

    The Jan/Feb Amnesty Book Club selection is Desmond Cole’s The Skin We’re In. A discussion guide is currently being prepared and should be available soon.

    Stay tuned for a special virtual Book Club event in February. 

    Learn more about the Book Club.