In the wake of George Floyd’s brutal murder, millions of people have walked the streets to protest police brutality and violent crimes against the African American community.
In the United States, racism has been going on for centuries with slavery, segregation, and lynching. You would have to wait for 1964 for the Civil Rights Act, and J. Edgar Hoover, then director of the FBI, actively spied on all black college students all the way until 1972. Programs like Stop and Frisk in New York City strongly targeted the black community.
To this day, racial profiling continues to be a major issue. Electing the first black president did not magically make discrimination disappear. Institutional racism is real and we have to do something about it.
While the White House claims to support peaceful protests, the government is in fact taking the hard line against anyone who stands in the way of the so-called law and order. The administration sent the army into the streets; an unprecedented move that was harshly criticized. In a leaked phone call, Trump lambasted governors for being soft on protectors. He went on to call demonstrators thugs, criminals, etc.
Protesters are on the right side of history, and the few anarchists behind the looting cannot change that.
Elected officials must enact major reforms to its system while voters must turn away from the politician who fuel the fire as well as those who are indifferent.
While Canadians often boast about being better than our southern neighbours, we also made our fair share of brutal mistakes. As a British colony, we share a common history with the United States. Slavery was not completely abolished in the British Empire until 1833, with the Slavery Abolition Act.
Even then, former slaves and fugitive American slaves lived in slumps and were strongly advised to keep away from white folks. Indigenous children were sent into boarding schools in an attempt to assimilate them. Over the years, federal and provincial governments have signed treaties of reparation and created programs to help minorities. However, that is not enough, especially when racial profiling is still common practice in the police force.
In Montreal, Haitian-born police commander Patrice Vilcéus sent a letter urging the Montreal Police Service to take concrete actions to end racial profiling within the organization. Other law enforcement agencies across the country are just as guilty of these antiquated practices.
Racism is a problem in Canada as well, and so are sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and ableism. We are not importing a US problem when we choose to talk about it, we are, however, complicit in those injustices when we are turning a blind eye. For this reason, I want to applaud every protester who walked the streets of Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and other cities all across the country.
Show some support
Here are some great organisms you can donate to:
The Federation of Black Canadians is a national non-profit organization that seeks to help black communities across Canada. Service in French is also available
The Black Health Alliance is a community-led charity that aims to improve the health and well-being of members of the black community. Service in French is also available
The Black Youth Health Line was founded by volunteers as to serve all multicultural youth. It also offers counselling for parents. Service in French and other languages also available.
Black Women in Motion is a youth-led organization that support black women and survivors of sexual abuse.
A collective of black students dedicated to transforming higher education institutions through unity, and direct action and political education.
I feel powerless in the face of what’s going on. Besides from donating, protesting, and writing this humble piece, there’s very little I can do right now. However, I welcome any suggestions with an open heart. If I can be of any help, you can always reach out.