Ontario Independent Police Review Director Gerry McNeily will be the keynote speaker at the annual Dudley Laws Scholarship fundraising brunch to be held on Sunday at the Jamaican Canadian Centre in Toronto.
The brunch is organized by the Black Action Defense Committee (BADC) which will be celebrating its 30th anniversary.
Dudley Laws was the executive director of BADC.
Three longstanding supporters of BADC -Kingsley Gilliam, Nancy Simms and Oliver Rose – will receive awards at the event.
Gilliam, a former national chairman of the National Black Coalition of Canada, is a widely known advocate for social justice.
Simms is the Director of the Centre for Human Rights & Diversity at Humber College in Toronto and an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School.
Rose, popularly known as “Chef Man Oliver,”provides catering services for numerous trade union events and has catered the Dudley Laws Scholarship Brunch since its inception in 2012.
BADC was established following ” the shooting death” in 1988 of Lester Donaldson, a 44-year old mentally ill Black man.”
Donaldson was shot in a Toronto rooming house by Police Constable David Deviney who was charged with manslaughter in connection with the shooting but was acquitted.
A news release from BADC recalls that this was ” a catalyst for the community to mobilize for community action and the establishment of BADC resulted from that community mobilization.”
Since then, BADC has championed numerous issues involving police conduct, human rights and the justice system, it said.
The news release also noted that ” BADC has fought against racism and unequal treatment of Black Police Officers, most of whom served their entire careers of 30 to 40 years without promotions, retiring as first class constables.”
” We have since seen numerous promotions of Black Officers in Toronto and other police organizations. Toronto Police has since had three Black Deputy Chiefs and now a Black Chief,” it said.