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The Raptors said earlier this week that they planned to join the growing chorus of pro athletes speaking out against police brutality.
Since Black Lives Matter Toronto's sit-in during Pride 2016, many of you have shown woeful levels of misunderstanding of where our community as a whole sits with the police. I've heard several of you say that the police don't pose a threat to LGBT people, because we've made "progress." "The bathhouse raids were 35 years ago. Everything is fine now between LGBT people and the police!" is how the argument goes, as if conflict between police and LGBT people is a thing of the past. What you mean to say is that your battle for your rights (which did not include an agenda for LGBT people of colour) was already hard fought decades ago.
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Many were brought to tears by the comments of Zianna Oliphant, a child who needed a stool to be seen over the lectern.
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"Ferguson effect essentially means what happens there, matters here."
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I watch him go down from the one-two punch of a Taser and several gunshots to the body. I don't know why they followed up a successful non-lethal takedown with lethal force, but I'm not a police officer. If you were to take every single piece of shaky cam and mobile phone footage showing police officers killing unarmed or complying Black people and splice them together, you'd have a horror movie. Or a snuff film. When it's time for me to die on camera, how will it look? Who will film me? What small physical imperfection, what inadvertent stumble will be the reason I'm murdered on a jittery impulse?
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This is the second night of protests.
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Over the last few years there has been a steady stream of disturbing videos showing minorities being gunned down by the people meant to protect them, most without any sort of criminal consequences for the shooter. Add all this to the horrible history of racism in America and it's no wonder that someone from that community would want to take a stand. Yet it happens so rarely.
The Queen walked the white carpet with the mothers of Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Oscar Grant.
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The Prophet spent time uprooting the deep-rooted racism against black people. He admonished Muslims to be careful for the people of Paradise include black persons including Negus, Bilaal and Luqman. However, just as the black Companion Bilaal faced discrimination, black Muslims continue to face discrimination in Muslim spaces.
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It must be a struggle, having to listen to scary words you don't like from little people you don't respect. Almost like you don't think you should have to listen, by virtue of your hard-won experience of giving up on anything but the bottom line, and wish that all of us employee-children would just be quiet and respect you.
Another depiction of police brutality against a black man caught on tape, sparks outrage among black Canadians and the cycle of violence begins anew: a black person murdered by police is captured on video, the video goes viral and no changes are made to policing strategies or tactics. More importantly, no one is held accountable. Rather, the cycle of violence continues on an administrative level: SIU documents are concealed, police officers go unnamed; are seldom reprimanded and the victim's family and the black community never get justice.
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The city launched Pride Week on Monday.
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Donald Trump's apocalyptic acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland was easily the scariest political event I've ever witnessed outside of 1930s newsreels. As CNN's Anderson Cooper summed up: "He painted a dark and frightening picture of America, he talked about people being attacked by criminals, attacked by terrorists, betrayed by their leaders, the game is fixed. And he said he can be their voice." The thing about this tactic -- a far cry from conservative saint Ronald Reagan's inspirational "shining city on a hill" much less Obama's hope and change optimism -- is that it captures (and, yes, fuels) the zeitgeist of white America.
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There is a systematic war against a set of people who cannot erase the colour of their skin; a type of oppression, experienced by my ancestors, which has been prettied up. One doesn't have to look too far to see this truth; the evidence is right in front of us.
In fact, BLMTO is doing something no other group or society has ever done -- centering a Black experience, instead of excluding it. BLMTO looks to put its efforts into elevating and putting forward the issues of Black folks because no one else is -- and this is important and necessary.
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One the most important concerns of police violence, and one that several fail to even recognize, is how much we do not know about the police use of lethal force. There is no national or centralized database for use of force statistics in Canada. A further problem is the fact that agencies do not normally release official statistics on use of force, and the way in which use of force data are collected varies greatly between jurisdictions. Although lethal force by police is much less common in Canada as compared to the U.S., we are not immune to police violence.
"As a black man in an overwhelmingly white industry, race is never far from my mind."
The group will not take part in the Pride Parade on July 31 because Pride no longer represents "community action, resistance and revolution.''
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There is a clear problem: hundreds of people of specific populations are killed every year in police interactions. Black Lives Matter is not saying that only their lives matter; they are saying that, historically, their lives have not mattered. They haven't mattered much, nor have Native American lives.
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Allies must create the "teachable moments," one Black Lives Matter Toronto co-founder says.
Seeing an innocent member of your 'team' die tragically feeds this sense of 'us and them.' Micah Johnson, the Dallas shooter, did not see fathers, sons or brothers. He only saw white people and cops. This is the same mentality that fuels the atrocities of ISIS. When we see a group instead of an individual we feel justified in killing an innocent member of that group. Trained as a soldier, Johnson only saw 'the enemy.'
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"If you want me to go 'back' to Africa, then pay for it."
In death, Bland has become something of a poster child for police violence against black women. But on the anniversary of her death -- and every day to come -- her name and the names of the countless other black women who have been killed should be remembered.
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I would like to think that the police, of all people, are following this controversy closely and that their social media managers know what they're tweeting out into the world and how it will be perceived. But maybe they don't. Maybe you don't. Maybe your uncle doesn't. (Though, c'mon, you've heard him rant after a few glasses of red at Thanksgiving.) Maybe you refuse to believe that when you say, tweet or even sing "All Lives Matter" what people hear is that you're racist. But if you don't think that it devalues the lives of black people consider this.
If your 12-year-old son was playing in the park by himself with a toy gun and you saw video of a policeman shoot him and stand over him watching him die, and you spoke out against that injustice... what would you say if someone responded by saying All Lives Matter?
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"That was my singular motivation when I said all lives matter."
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Even if I don't have the minutest idea of what it means to navigate life as a black person, I pledge that I will always stand in solidarity with those who do. Not only will I open myself to listen to the voices of the community without moderating them, but I will also make my words my protest, my sit-in. And if I cannot help in the fight for justice and equality, I will never impede those who can, or those who fight for it, humanely.
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Don't call "Pokémon GO" a comeback, Pikachu's been here for years. Twenty years, to be exact, an anniversary celebrated this past February. The viral launch of the augmented reality game on smartphones on July 6 has pushed this enduring Japanese pop cultural property into a previously unexplored region: the real world.
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Black lives do matter, but not everything is black and white, and at the end of the day, after the dust settles and the smoke clears, after the bullets stop flying through the air and after the protest signs have been lowered, remembering that old adage might be what matters most of all.
"We don't need sympathy. We need everyone to respect our lives."
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"It is beyond our comprehension."
So what do I do now? I'm still learning. I'm still seeing. It's my job to spread the word -- not my own experience of this, either -- the voices of black men and women. It's my job to stop racist talk, behaviour and ideas from perpetuating within white culture. It's my job to get off my defensive high-horse and listen and learn. It's my job to be an ally, to join wherever I'm needed and to not be offended if I'm not wanted.