Anti-Black Racism & Crimes Against the Black Community

Statement re: Anti-Black Racism & Crimes Against the Black Community

“Anti-Black racism is prejudice, attitudes, beliefs, stereotyping and/or discrimination that is directed at people of African descent and is rooted in their unique history and experience of enslavement and colonization. Anti- Black racism is deeply entrenched in Canadian institutions, policies and practices, often making anti-Black racism appear normal or invisible to the larger white society” (Definition: City of Toronto, Toronto for All).

I can’t breathe. Hands up, don’t shoot. Black lives matter. Over the last few weeks, these powerful statements have echoed once again. In chants, on posters, on television and through hashtags to acknowledge the overwhelming and disturbing instances of anti-Black racism that have recently taken place in the United States. We will say their names: Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed, Tony McDade, Nina Pop and George Floyd.

As Black-Canadians, we acknowledge that we face similar challenges and realities as our American counterparts, not only now, but historically. BLSA Canada stands in solidarity with the African American community during this time. Black men and women, we see, hear, and feel your pain.

The senseless deaths of these innocent Black men and women have deleterious effects on the emotional and psychological well being of the Black community on a micro and macro level. Innocent Black lives have been threatened and lost due to the deeply entrenched beliefs, institutions, and systems that continue to uphold and perpetuate anti-Black racism. Black lives are not inferior lives. Black lives matter. The colour of one’s skin does not outline their character. However, it unifies a collective of people that have learned to be relentless and resilient. Who have looked into the face of adversity, and overcome. Who have strived for greatness and accomplished it, time and time again.

It is not the responsibility of Black people to dismantle systems and institutions that uphold and reinforce anti-Black racism. Allies, we need you. This is a call to action. To eliminate racism, we need your support. Silence is no longer acceptable. “Not being racist” is no longer acceptable. “I’m shocked and appalled” is no longer enough. Join the fight in combating anti- Black racism and take mindful and active steps to be educated about it.

Remember, that the very same systems that we will be entering into as lawyers, advocates, and leaders is the very system that we must ensure provides justice for all. We have the power to make real and tangible change, even now as law students. Let us use our voice for justice and be the change we want to see.

Until victory is won.

Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us Facing the rising sun of our new day begun

Let us march on ’til victory is won

Lift Every Voice And Sing, James Weldon Johnson, J. Rosamond Johnson

Yours in Solidarity,

2020-2021 BLSA Canada Executive