Draped Up & Blacked Out in T.O

“There’s a war going on outside we ain’t safe from”

It’s been long engrained within our culture that we can’t trust the police and that the system in which the modern day government has put in place, was not designed for protecting the needs & rights of those who are of colour, specifically Black people. This is not a myth, and it’s not some sort of hyperbolic statement that warrants the mirror to be pointed back at Black people and ask “what about Black on Black crime” because that’s just a byproduct of a failed system. The internet is free, so do your Googles if you need assistance.

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The myth that Racism isn’t “as bad” in Canada as it is in the United States, too, is something that is overblown. Considering the fact that it’s 10 times the size in population with our country, of course numbers will be skewed, and although we don’t have as violent of a culture that our neighbours do, that doesn’t mean that this country isn’t without its own shame, and that’s why there are rallies, marches, and calls to action to demand the municipal, provincial, and federal governments to look at their policies on how authorities handle the proper treatment of Black people in their country. To dial it in just a bit, Toronto is the focus, and having been to quite a few rallies & protests in the past couple of years, it is safe to say that a beast has been awoken that people in this city didn’t think would emerge, and that solidarity was evident on March 26, 2016 at the Headquarters for the Toronto Police Service.

Black Lives Matter T.O had already posted up on the front steps of the TPS HQ for 6 days, at the time of the Blackout, and it was as though history was repeating itself with the infamous sit-ins during the Civil Rights Movement. There are still Civil Rights that are being violated, and the brave individuals who endured through police brutality, having their access to electricity cut off, minimal supplies, and bad weather, were in full jubilance on the cold, yet bright Saturday afternoon that saw speakers from the BLMTO core, to a family member of the slain Jermaine Carby, who was gunned down by Peel Police at a gas station, and also the friend of Andrew Loku, who was gunned down by police for holding a hammer after he asked tenants repeatedly to lower the noise in the apartment building. There are many names, yet the names of their murderers have been protected by the system which represents them fully, and thus no justice is truly sought out. That’s the frustration, and it’s a shame & disgrace that it has to continue in what’s supposed to be an upstanding civilization, being that this is a ‘first-world’ country and all.

This was more than just a protest. Black, Indigenous, Asian, White and Sikh people alike stood in solidarity at the heart of the Toronto police to chant, cheer, yell, dance, and overall unify for a cause that would hope to see some progression towards the treatment of all Black lives from the authorities who are supposed to protect the tax paying citizens of this city. Young, Old, Trans, Queer, Disabled, Man, and Woman. All Black lives have been effected in some degree by the mistreatment of the Toronto Police, and whether it was at this past rally, or a rally 2 years ago, the message stays the same, and that’s the problem. If it’s not police brutality, it’s the harassment of Carding. If it’s not Carding, it’s the threat of losing a day for AfroFest (thankfully, that was reversed). There are many other things that being Black, not only in Toronto, but globally, bring their worries – the last place we want to be worried about how we’re treated is where we sleep, work, eat, and consider a relatively safe haven. But when injustice is done upon people who look like us, then that’s where there’s a problem.

It’s definitely exhausting that this fight has to continue, but there’s a fire that has been burning long before we were born, and that will be carried on for more generations after us, but it’s the fact that we don’t want our current perils to be brought upon our children in the future because some people don’t want to get their acts together. As long as cops keep violating their positions of power, and as long as the victims don’t receive the justice that they deserve, there will be more shutdowns on the streets, more disruptions, and more takeovers of government property. There are voices that need to be heard, and just as the chant went late into the night on Saturday, “Cops out here all night, but we’re gonna be alright.”

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