Media release Racism

PSA: Statement on behalf of Clarissa Crawley

This statement is being made on behalf of Clarissa Crawley and is in response to the flurry of wrong information to the public, and damaging racially charged hate circulating on social media and elsewhere.

On July 1, the day of the incident, the owner of the dog was driving in the other lane in an attempt to cut in front of Clarissa, as seen in a video, nearly hitting her vehicle and another one. There were two gentlemen who came to Clarissa’s aid demanding the women move the vehicle and again later demanded they return Clarissa’s property. The person recording did not catch the beginning nor the end of the incident, which would have captured racial slurs, including the N-word, being hurled at Clarissa.

The use of the N-word, especially in these racially charged times, is categorically and unmistakably meant to incite a negative or violent reaction in the person to whom it is directed. Such racial slurs immediately instill anger and fury inside a person, and those who spew such hate know this.

As the argument ensued, one of the women ripped Clarissa’s necklace from her neck and the other woman put it in her purse. This necklace is of deep sentimental value. As she attempted to retrieve her necklace back, Clarissa yelled for onlookers to call police. The women continued with the verbal assaults, a physical altercation, and still a refusal to return the necklace.

At that time Clarissa retrieved the puppy in an attempt to get the women to return her property. The situation escalated quickly as the woman threatened Clarissa and ran toward her. She was unsure at that point if the woman had taken anything from her car as a weapon, and without thinking, used the dog as a shield in the heat of the moment.

It does not make the action acceptable, and Clarissa has continually expressed deep remorse over the dog’s safety, and never intended any harm to come to the dog. She loves dogs and spent most of her life on a farm full of animals. She also expressed immediate remorse for how the situation between them had escalated so quickly.

The women have yet to express any remorse for instigating the fight, calling derogatory names, or taking her property.

Public outrage about the dog is justified and Clarissa fully acknowledges that. But people have called for others to find and lynch Clarissa and her children; hold a public hanging. And have made statements such as “only Black people do this to animals.” We have been contacted by people around the world who are in complete shock that such vile, racist hate is coming from Nova Scotians.

The Black community has expressed solidarity with Clarissa to condemn this racism. Condemning the racism doesn’t mean the community condones the incident with the dog, as too many have falsely claimed. But the Black community will not stand by and allow such blatant and disgusting hatred to become a part of this narrative. Racist trolls have no interest in what happened to the dog.

We call on them to stop with this fake outrage. They have used this incident as a platform to display their horrific racist behaviour. We hope that none of them are in positions of any influence on their jobs. We also wonder why their friends and family and their workplaces have not expressed outrage over their hate that’s out there for the world to see.

An eight-second video cannot paint a full picture of any issue. Where is the outrage over the racial slurs Clarissa endured, meant to purposely enrage and incite her?

Where is the outrage over the women driving with no drivers license, insurance or registration but were allowed to get back behind the wheel and drive away?

Where is the outrage at the theft of Clarissa’s property? And most importantly, where is the outrage over the racists who are publicly calling for the death of two innocent Black children and their mother, who has never had a criminal record despite the false rumours?

Be outraged over the animal, of course, but be equally outraged over the human beings, these Black and Brown bodies that are too often seen as disposable, unhuman, and worth less than any animal walking the earth, even innocent Black children.

Those who have sent threats to Clarissa and her children; called repeatedly and harassed her; posted her address and phone numbers and her children online; and have spewed vile, racist hate, these actions have been and continue to be gathered and documented, and they will be aggressively pursued for possible criminal charges, including hate crimes and criminal harassment.

We call on everyone to expose this racism and report it to the authorities. We do not get to play judge, jury or executioner. Our community will not stand for Black and Brown bodies being society’s continually demonized punching bag.

– The Crawley and Taylor families, on behalf of Clarissa Crawley