The past week has been a difficult one, both here in Toronto and across the United States. The structures of anti-Black racism and white supremacy have been on open display. We are writing today in solidarity with those affected by these structures, and to urge those who benefit from them to take action.
The deep and systemic prevalence of anti-Black racism is something that we condemn as a Local. We fully recognize and support the various resistance strategies being implemented across Turtle Island and elsewhere around the globe. That said, while we share in the outpouring of grief and rage, we also recognize that we are not all implicated in the same way. Black people and communities are forced to bear a profound and undue burden under systems of white supremacy designed to explicitly devalue their lives and experiences. We recommit to battling these systems both within and outside of the labour movement.
The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade, among so many others, at the hands of police in the United States are only recent examples of a long-standing practice of targeted state-sanctioned violence against Black people. Here in Toronto, the police-involved death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet is only the most recent example of how Black and Indigenous people are policed differently and with often violent ends. Black people in Toronto are 20 times more likely to be shot by police. This is even more true in the context of mental health crisis calls. Whatever we eventually learn about specific events surrounding Korchinski-Paquet’s death, there is no doubt that anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism is what killed her.
Now more than ever we are called to work against anti-Black racism in our city. As a result of the anti-Black racism that structures the healthcare, employment and housing systems, Black communities are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 in terms of both infection rates and deaths. While we may wish to believe that we are “all in this together,” the reality is that people are not all affected by our current crises in the same way. For those who would argue that all lives matter, we would point to the developments of the past few months and respond that never has it been clearer that some lives matter more than others. It is our responsibility, each of us, to work to identify and dismantle systems of white supremacy and anti-Black racism in any and every way that we can.
Our Local, your Local, commits to supporting and participating in the transformational work happening in streets, cities, and communities to end anti-Black racism and dismantle the systems that support it. For those of us who have it, we will use our privilege and do the work to be better; to actively learn and engage; and to stand together in solidarity with Black colleagues, leaders, and communities.
Black Lives Matter Toronto: https://blacklivesmatter.ca/
Black Legal Action Centre: https://www.
Toronto Prisoner’s Rights Project: https://www.facebook.com/
Cole’s Notes: https://thatsatruestory.
Robyn Maynard: https://robynmaynard.com/
Standing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ): https://surjtoronto.com/