On Sunday, March 20th, Black Lives Matter Toronto Coalition organized a peaceful rally and protest at Nathan Phillips Square to speak out against ongoing incidences of anti-Black racism in the city. Specifically named incidents were the City of Toronto’s threat of shortening of AfroFest from two days to one and the recent SIU decision not to publicly name or charge the officers accountable for the death of Andrew Loku.
As an organization that uses critical dialogue, open and accessible resources and artistic tools of engagement to create alternative learning spaces for young people, Lost Lyrics is proud to stand in solidarity with the organizers of Black Lives Matter Toronto Coalition and the protestors, supporters and allies at #BLMOtentcity. Lost Lyrics is proud to support a movement committed to intersectional analysis and action and one that creates connections across communities. Thanks to the perseverance of organizers and their supporters, the peaceful protest is still going strong after more than 90 hours on the street despite the presence of harsh weather conditions and aggressive responses from police.
Black communities and particularly young people within those communities, face a disproportionate amount of institutional and physical violence. The threats protestors have faced, including but not limited to the aggressive acts made by police on March 21st, 2016 – the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – demonstrate this fact.
We urge Premier Kathleen Wynne, Mayor John Tory and Chief Mark Saunders to hear and affirmatively respond to the demands from Black Lives Matter TO for:
- Transparency and the release of critical information concerning the shootings of Alex Wettlaufer, Andrew Loku and Jermaine Carby. Public release of the identities of the officers responsible for these shootings not public? The release of video footage from the building where Loku was killed.
- A review of the Special Investigations Unit with adequate consultation from families victimized by police violence and affected communities. Through our laws police wield great powers, we must ensure they are also subject to these same laws.
In love and solidarity,