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Wellness Within: Letter to Mayor Savage and Councillor Smith re racist violence by Halifax Regional Police

March 31, 2021 

Mayor Mike Savage 

c/c Counselor Lindell Smith, Chair, Police Board of Commissioners 

Dear Mayor Savage, 

We were angered, but sadly not surprised, to see a video circulating on social media in which a  white Halifax police officer threatens the life of a Black man who has his hands up. This  behavior follows a trend of racist violence by HRP members towards Black community  members such as Santina Rao, Serrece Winter, Trayvon Clayton and others. This incident  happened to be captured on video but given the HRP’s track record, it is not unreasonable to  assume there are similar incidents that have not yet come to light. 

On September 26th 2020, Halifax Regional Municipality announced that it would be adopting  “internal and externally-focused anti-Black racism strategies and actions”. It also painted the  words “Black Lives Matter” on streets. How can Black and other racialized community members  have faith in this pledge when racist attacks such as the one in the video continue to happen?  

Wellness Within demands the following: 

1. Reparations for victims of police violence 

2. An apology from the mayor for the racist violence communities have long experienced 3. An immediate end to all street checks without exception 

4. Defund the Halifax Regional Police by 25% this year, with a plan to completely defund in  the longer term.

We urge the municipality to divert resources from the police, who have shown time and time  again to be agents of systemic racism and violence against women. Investments in housing,  food security, economic security and organizations for women, gender diverse and transgender  people are proven approaches to preventing and addressing harm in our communities. 

Wellness Within is a registered non-profit organization working for reproductive justice, prison  abolition, and health equity in K’jipuktuk, Mi’kma’ki (Halifax, Nova Scotia). 

Sincerely, 

Martha Paynter 

Chair, Wellness Within

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