So the making of this post does not count as “action” – my blog does not have a following and thus the reach of this post is limited. Rather, this an assemblage of links for myself for the purposes of locating them again when needed in discussions (the number of tabs I have open is getting a bit silly these days). I thought it would be appropriate to tidy it up and share it on the blog as well.
There are many great resources (like this – formerly the BLM Carrd, now a linktree!) out there. What this includes is a reading list with some Canada-specific readings and an action list with Canadian places to donate as well as a quick discussion of registered charity status with regards to making donations (something that has come up in conversations I’ve had).
PLEASE NOTE: I made this blog post prior to to the development of the BLM Canada section of the BLM Carrd. Thus at the time I thought it was helpful to assemble some Canada specific readings and organizations. Now that the BLM Canada section has greatly expanded, I would recommend you first defer to the recommendations of that document for resources and places to donate!
1. Reading list
The murder of George Floyd:
- How do you kneel on a neck for nine minutes? (The Atlantic) – This an uncomfortable read, and one I am sharing for those less impacted by the trauma that has occurred
- A Scolding in Seven Pieces (Afroculinaria, Michael Twitty) – what Black lives matter means
The practice of protesting & the response:
- The double standard of the American riot (The Atlantic)
Throughout history, black people have employed violence, nonviolence, marches, and boycotts. Only one thing is clear—there is no form of black protest that white supremacy will sanction.
- Black people have always fought hate with love (Wear Your Voice)
Anger and love can co-exist and work in tandem towards a single end, and we are angry because of our love for our Black selves, despite endless messaging that says we are not worthy of it.The ways we choose to show this love will always be in conflict with what the state wants from and for us, especially when it manifests as actions against the oppressive systems from which the state benefits.
Respectability becomes a code word for complacency and submission. Respectability allows white supremacy to flourish unimpeded. Historically, respectability has not ended violence against people of colour. It has not diminished incidents of police brutality.
- Angela Davis on revolution (YouTube) – an excerpt from The Black Power Mixtape
- The police can still choose nonviolence (The Atlantic) – How the responsibility for enabling peaceful protests to stay peaceful lies with the law enforcement
But as years of cases from around the country keep proving, police force can’t pacify protests responding to police force—and only the police can break the cycle of violence. […]
Of course this is happening in Canada too:
News stories and readings:
- Remembering 27 Black, Indigenous and racialized people killed by Canadian police (Cole’s Notes – Desmond Cole)
- Canada has race-based police violence too. We don’t know how much (the Tyee) – this article points out that we have only fragmented data sources when it comes to police violence. We need systematic data collection & dissemination of police violence statistics and race data to hold our justice system accountable.
- 5 charts that show what systemic racism looks like in Canada (CTV News)
- Why Canada needs Campaign Zero just as much as the USA (Pivot Legal Society) – specifically describes how Campaign Zero’s manifesto applies to and should be implemented in Canada too
- Policing Black Lives by Robyn Maynard (book) – a history of anti-black racism in Canada; here is some of her other writing:
- Over-policing in black communities is a Canadian crisis, too (Washington Post)
- Canadian education is steeped in anti-black racism (The Walrus) – just one reminder that police brutality is only a facet of systemic racism; some people face this at every point in their lives
- Canada’s prisons are the ‘new residential schools’ (Maclean’s) – details the systematic discrimination against Indigenous folk that occurs at every level of the justice system. This is one of the most memorable articles I’ve read.
- What we can learn from policing and public safety in Toronto (Urban Alliance) – document describes the different organizations involved in policing and public safety, including the SIU which was intended to provide civilian oversight on the police. This outlines some of the criticism of the SIU (for instance, many investigators are former police officers), particularly relevant given the investigation currently ongoing into the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet.
Prison industrial complex in Canada: some readings to spark discussion, particularly after watching 13th (Ava DuVernay)
- Tories roll out huge crime bill touching on drugs, refugees, parolees and terrorism (Global News) – Stephen Harper’s “tough on crime” bill from 2011
- The Safe Streets and Communities Act: Neo Conservative Crime and Cruelty (Sheryl Jarvis)
- The Conditions Project (BC Civil Liberties Association) – “revolving door”
- Assessments and analyses of Canada’s bail system (Department of Justice, 2018) – how Canada’s bail system impacts vulnerable populations
- Ex-inmates want political help after prisoner pay cuts upheld in court (CBC News)
- Harper was tough on crime, Trudeau promised a new approach — did he deliver? (Global News) – has anything much changed?
Sources to go for statistics:
- A Collective Impact: Interim report on the inquiry into racial profiling and racial discrimination of Black persons by the Toronto Police Service (Ontario Human Rights Commission Report on police violence against racialized individuals, 2018) – this report contains stories of lived experiences and impacts, and is also a useful source of statistics for discussion (go to section IV: Findings). For instance, Black people in Toronto from 2013-2017 were 11.3 times more likely die in a police interaction where the officer used force, and 19.5 times more likely to be shot and killed by police than white people. Compared to white people, Black folk subject to violence from the police were more likely to be unarmed and have no mental health contributors.
- Deadly Force (CBC News) – this article covers another one of our fragmented data sets, the data collected by the CBC from 2000-1017. You can also see it presented here by Pivot Legal Society, which includes graphs demonstrating the disproportionate impact of police brutality on racialized folk across Canada, especially Black and Indigenous.
- Ipperwash Inquiry Report (Government of Ontario, 2007), which includes: Police use of force in Ontario: An examination of data from Special Investigations Unit, a report containing a lit review on police violence in Canada and reports on SIU investigations where, yes you guessed it, there is an overrepresentation of Black and Indigenous persons.
- Paying the price: the human cost of racial profiling (Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2003)
- Juristat (Statistics Canada) – this is where to find reports from StatsCan on the judicial system and public safety. For instance, Adult and youth correctional statistics in Canada, 2017/2018 has statistics regarding the overrepresentation of Indigenous folk in prison, being about 30% of all people in prison despite being only 4% of the adult population. This percentage has in fact increased from 20% ten years ago, suggesting current efforts have not resolved the systemic racism in the system.
- Spotlight on Gladue: Challenges, experiences and possibilities in Canada’s criminal justice system (Department of Justice, 2018) – the Gladue sentencing principle allows an Indigenous individual’s context to be taken into account during sentencing decisions. However, it has not resolved the overrepresentation of Indigenous folk in prisons. Contains more stats and information about Indigenous overrepresentation (particularly section 2)
What does defunding the police mean? To put it simply: “We’re sending people with a gun to somebody who is in crisis. The answer is to stop policing and start supporting and caring” (Desmond Cole as quoted in CBC News). It’s just as much, if not more so, about introducing new supports and investments as it is about reducing policing.
- No more money for the police (New York Times) – an article found through SURJ. Outlines what defunding can look like with many examples of policing-alternative initiatives. I’ve added bolded font. **this article had the best reception when I shared articles about defunding the police with others who were initially skeptical about the idea. This would be a good article to start with when talking with others!**
The only way we’re going to stop these endless cycles of police violence is by creating alternatives to policing. Because even in a pandemic where black people have been disproportionately killed by the coronavirus, the police are still murdering us. […]
As the case of George Floyd makes clear, calling 911 for even the slightest thing can be a death sentence for black people. For many marginalized communities, 911 is not a viable option because the police often make crises worse. These same communities, who often need emergency services the most, are forced to make do without the help. […]
People often question the practicality of any emergency response that excludes the police. We live in a violent society, but the police rarely guarantee safety.
- Defunding the police will save Black and Indigenous lives in Canada (Huffington Post) – another article I found via SURJ and highly recommend it as a read. Have included excerpt below which delineates the difference in experience of policing between communities. (I’ve added the bolded font).
[1.] Black communities interact with police regularly because we live in neighbourhoods police target. We are experts in the ways that police can brutalize and inflict violence upon us. Their presence is no assurance of safety in Black communities. This is often true for Indigenous communities and communities living in poverty as well.[…]
Wealthier, non-Black, non-Indigenous, privileged communities tend to feel safe because they have a rarely used option to call the police when they feel their safety is threatened. But, they are generally not interacting with police; their communities are not policed in the same way, and they are not targeted for criminalization. […]
Defunding the police can free up funding that we can reinvest in services that provide real safety for both kinds of communities. The communities that are constantly exposed to police violence should not be deprived of effective safety and security services simply because more privileged communities feel safer when calling the police is an option. […]
- The answer to police violence is not ‘reform’. It’s defunding. Here’s why. (The Guardian) – this article is a bit more jargon-y than the above, but it addresses the rationale for reform, which is based in “fair” processes of justice system as opposed to questioning what the actual impact of these processes are.
- Reformist reforms vs abolitionist steps in policing – this infographic compares the impacts of policing reform (something which has not had the desired result) vs defunding.
We need solidarity.
- Anti-Asian Racism Has Gone Global. So Has the Battle against White Supremacy (The Tyee)
- I’ve written about anti-Asian racism in the wake of the pandemic here – and all of these conversations go together in the broader discussion of white supremacy
And if police must be involved, we need them not to shoot.
- Toronto van attack: The cop who didn’t shoot (Maclean’s)
Finally, some resources for white and white-ish people such as myself
- I came across this resource list via TheShowMustBePaused
- Barnour Hesse’s The 8 White Identities – I was introduced to this at a talk earlier in the year. The speaker explained that apart from identities #7 and #8, the rest act to impede anti-racist efforts. It’s a useful framework to think about where we are and what effectively we are contributing – if anything at all
- Allegories on race and racism (Camara Jones, Tedx via Youtube) – I’ve been introduced to this previously as a useful tool
2. Taking action
Summarized by Da’Shaun Harrison: “There are only three things white people can do that will matter, both in this moment and beyond: 1) give up your money, 2) provide shelter and other resources to Black folks, and 3) give up your life. That’s it.”
- Black Lives Matter Carrd – this is a compilation of resources, petitions to sign, places to donate and other actions to take (link updated to the linktree)
- Talk to those in your sphere of influence (see Radicalizing your family against white supremacy is essential for liberation via Wear Your Voice)
- Call or email officials. I participated in an organized calling event put on by SURJ which is a great way to get started and helped give me an idea of who I could contact. Since then I’ve been working on my own email templates to flesh things out a bit more referencing statements by local organizations, and trying to cite stats and reports when I can find them (I’ve been doing Toronto and Calgary specific templates – contact me if you’d like them!).
- A new initiative I just received an email about today is this rapid response Black voter registration program by Color of Change (note: you must be a US citizen or permanent resident to contribute)
- Donate (suggestions below)
- Black Lives Matter – Toronto chapter
- Justice for Regis
- Toronto Protestor Bail Fund (unused funds will go to Justice for Regis)
- COVID-19 Black Emergency Support Fund (held by BLM Toronto)
- Document of Black-led community organizations in Scarborough and Tkaronto accepting donations
- Black Legal Action Centre (Ontario)
- Prairie Province Prisoner Support Fund (AB, MB, SK)
- Ontario Prisoner Support Fund – recognizing that the current pandemic has had a tremendous impact on incarcerated and recently release individuals
- Black Lives Matter Foundation
- NAACP Empowerment Programs
- Split a donation amongst 40 community bail funds (goes through ActBlue Charities)
- Across Boundaries (Toronto) – organization providing mental health and addiction services to racialized communities
- Anishnawbe Health Foundation (Toronto)
- Black Business and Professional Foundation (Canada)
- Black Health Alliance (Canada)
- Black Youth Helpline (Canada)
- Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto (Toronto)
- Thunder Woman Healing Lodge (Toronto)
- Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre (Toronto)
- Women’s Health in Women’s Hands (CHC in Toronto)
Registered charity status?
In my conversations with people, I’ve been told that some prefer only donate to registered charities. I think it’s important to consider that the process of becoming a registered charity can pose a barrier to many organizations, particularly the smaller community led initiatives being created to respond to community needs. Becoming a registered charity can also pose restrictions on the what activities can be carried out and how funds can be used. This article details some of the reasons why organizations may not choose to become a registered charity, but may instead adopt other structures such as non-profit organizations. Furthermore, many organizations still have transparency processes and reports about use of funds.
However, I acknowledge that there may be less clear accountability and regulation around use of donations, particularly for some of the non-registered funds that have popped up recently. Thus, for those that prefer to donate to registered charities/tax-deductible donations, I have separated the two lists.
Finally, if you’re finding yourself held back by fears:
“Another big problem with the white liberal mentality is being afraid to offer solidarity and support out of fear that black people will be offended or angry,” Cole says. “‘What if I say the wrong thing? What if I get called a racist?’ So instead they sit it out and watch what happens. But for black people, this is a matter of survival. We will be out in the streets campaigning, organizing, resisting. The question is, who wants to join the party with us?” (Desmond Cole, as quoted in Pacific Standard)
The fear can be helpful if it motivates us to read and educate ourselves. You can also consider some of Layla Saad’s online courses such as How to Show up in BIPOC-only Spaces without White Centering.
Some etiquette via Layla Saad:
I’ve read feedback that it can be frustrating to see all these lists being made and no evidence of anything being done. So far I have made two Canadian donations and am talking to the financially stable people in my life about them donating as well. I’ve also participated in organized calling and emailing of government officials.
The value of just conversation is dubious, but I’ve also been trying to bring up these topics (though to be honest, with the pandemic going on, my conversations have become quite few and far between…). I’ve found it can be helpful to look for common ground and be open to learning from others. As an example: in conversation with a senior I’m connected with through a program, we found common ground in terms of the inappropriateness of police responding to mental health crises based on her own experiences of caring for someone with mental health concerns. And from her I learned about different models of emergency mental health response initiatives she had seen!
Please feel free to provide feedback, recommendations and additional links.