After the senseless murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, protesters across the world contine to fight against police brutality and demand justice for the countless BIPOC who have been racially profiled, assaulted and murdered.
Although many Canadians tend to keep a close watch on American news stories, Canada is not immune to white supremacy. In fact, its institutions were built on colonized Indigenous lands and maintain a racial hierarchy that privileges whiteness.
The local community organizers of Justice 4 Black Lives Winnipeg are calling for new investigations into the deaths of Machuar Madut, Eishia Hudson, Jason Collins, Stewart Kevin Andrews, Randy Cochrane, Sean Thompson and Chad Williams, who were killed by WPS.
Justice 4 Black Lives Winnipeg has also made a call for action to prosecute those responsible for the deaths of D'Andre Campbell, Regis Korchinski-Paquet and Jamal Francique. Their petition with over 115,000 signatures aims to make Winnipeg a safe place for all BIPOC and promotes a divest-and-invest model to defund, dismantle and abolish the Winnipeg Police Service, cadets and prison complex.
Following the release of these demands and many protests located within Winnipeg and Brandon, Man., there have been numerous acts of racial violence against Black and Indigenous people.
At the peaceful #AreYouListeningMB rally in Winnipeg on Saturday, July 4, two protesters – Theo Landry, who identifies as African-Canadian, and his friend – were attacked by a white woman and three others who yelled racial slurs and used a hockey stick as a weapon. Landry was struck twice on the arm, and his friend suffered a gash to the right side of her head and was bleeding.
On Sept. 3 in Brandon, Kevin Taylor, a 44-year-old Black man, was violently assaulted by five people at the skatepark. The police report stated that Taylor was at the park with his six-year-old son when five Indigenous people confronted him, using racial slurs.
A woman in the group slashed his vehicle’s tires, and then when Taylor tried to leave the park, the man and four women blocked him and began punching, kicking and eventually stabbing his abdomen five times. He was taken to the hospital by a witness before police arrived and is expected to make a full recovery.
For more than 400 years, white people have had the privilege to move freely in any public space, school, workplace, travel destination and justice and healthcare system and can find pleasure knowing that these spaces are open to them racially.
Safety in one’s community should not be a privilege experienced by few, but a human right experienced by all. BIPOC should not have to fear for their lives due to racial discrimination and racially motivated attacks.
Organizers from Justice 4 Black Lives Winnipeg have created a detailed outline on how to defund, dismantle and abolish the City of Winnipeg and Province of Manitoba’s police services. They are encouraging allies to amplify their action plans in order to make communities safer for BIPOC and to include these marginalized voices in rebuilding the systems.
White supremacy is deeply ingrained within Canadian society, and it’s time that people start collectively imagining a nation that values the lives of BIPOC and relies on transformative justice.
Tessa Adamski is an aspiring journalist and activist fighting for racial justice. She encourages people to get involved in the conversation about race, to read and sign the Justice 4 Black Lives Winnipeg petition and fill out the Winnipeg Police Board 2020 Survey.