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community organizing

Nick Saul delivered convocation remarks at the Ryerson University Faculty of Community Services' Convocation on June 9, 2016
Steel manufacturing in Canada is a $14-billion-per-year industry that currently supports 20,000 direct jobs, with another 100,000 indirect jobs tied to the sector. Tens of thousands of steel industry retirees rely on the continued viability of their pension plans for a dignified retirement and protection from dire poverty.
I remember coming home for the holidays a few years ago, around the time of Idle No More, and learning about Shoal Lake through the council. The water we drink in Winnipeg comes from Shoal Lake First Nation, yet the community members themselves cannot drink their own water! I was devastated and angry at such a clear injustice.
In the absence of community support, members of our communities could end up in the prison industrial complex for asserting their right to remain silent and walk away from these non-criminal encounters. The cops are aware of the fact that the people can refuse to speak with them and are free to walk away, if they are not being detained or arrested.
To what extent are we realistically expecting an African-Canadian police chief to be more committed to fighting institutional racism than a white one? Furthermore, merely having an African-Canadian person at the helm will not end police brutality or mend the community's relations with the force.
This past fall I was carded by a Toronto police officer near my own neighbourhood. It wasn't my first time. After returning home that day I did some research on the topic of police surveillance and came across Body Worn Cameras (BWC). They would prove that Toronto police disproportionately target minorities and community outrage in the city is justified. The truth is that there is no one-size-fits-all measure that restores public trust in police. But in Toronto, where there is a clear crisis of distrust between minority communities and police, it becomes clear that police officers might have to wear these Body Worn Cameras to regain some of that trust.
For those of us who are a certain vintage, Lego was coloured bricks of 2, 4 and 8 dimples that one could use to build square things like houses. If you were lucky, you had some wheels to build a rectangular car.
Racialized working-class communities, individuals and Indigenous peoples in North America know the daily reality of police violence and containment. We do not need the intervention of civil liberties organizations, critical criminology courses or the exposure of police violence at a G20 Summit to know that police are not protecting us.
In your community, as many others, everywhere you turn there are volunteers. Whether it be at the community association or