The reality is that in Toronto, as in most police services across the continent, the vast majority of serving police officers are exceptional public servants. The bad news is that reality is entirely irrelevant. People don't form judgments or base their decisions and actions on reality. They base them on their perceptions. And a fast-growing segment of society in Toronto, in Chicago, in New York City, in Ferguson, in cities and towns across North America, perceive their police services to be acting for their own benefit -- not society's.
"My biggest fear is I won't hear about the next black man being killed by police because it'll be me."
I stand in solidarity with the people of Ferguson, New York and all over the world who are experiencing police violence. I encourage those of us who are committed to dismantling structural violence against black people that as we chant the slogan "Black Lives Matter", we must also remember "Black Lives Matter Everywhere". Let us not limit our desire for structural changes to only the United States.
To me, Ferguson is a call not only to indict the system but to decolonize the systems that create and maintain the forces of Indigenous genocide and anti-blackness. I have a responsibility to make space on my land for those communities of struggles, to centre and amplify black voices and to co-resist. We both come from vibrant, proud histories of mobilization and protest, and it is the sacrifices of our elders and our ancestors that ensured that our communities of struggle continue to exist today. They believed in their hearts that there is no justice and no peace until we are all free, and so must we.
Nothing can really prepare you for the small humiliations and the nagging sense of being an outsider that comes with having dark skin in North America. But I wanted to fit in; how hard could it be? I went about figuring the best way to get ahead in life, while Black. As I began to pay attention to how I was treated in comparison to others, I became mindful of myself, of my actions. It became a social dance. Or more accurately, for a kid who grew up playing Nintendo and never stopped, it became a game. And if you want to win any game, you'd best acquaint yourself with the rules. So I started to keep track of how I was doing.
I won't go into the details of black groups being marginalized at the hands of white people who dominate the "center," because if you're smart enough to think that you fooled us into feeling remorse for "leaving you out" during the protest in Toronto, then you're smart enough to do a Google search to figure out historical black oppression and its endless contemporary reproductions.
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