KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Yesterday some 100 folks gathered in front of Halifax Regional Police headquarters on Gottingen Street, in the Halifax North End, angered by yet more racist behaviour by Halifax Regional Police.
That’s an amazing number of people, given that the rain was coming down in sheets.
We know what happened. A couple of days ago a video hit social media, showing a white Halifax police officer threatening a Black man who has his hands raised, aiming his gun at him and telling him he will pump him full of lead, or something like that.
“This is unacceptable, today we could be grieving the loss of yet another young person,” said long time activist (and frequent Nova Scotia Advocate contributor) Raymond Sheppard, who initiated yesterday’s protest.
“It’s about respect,” Sheppard said. “The police chief, when he gave his apology without substance for carding, said that he was going to try to reestablish the trust or the African Nova Scotian community. How can you reestablish something that ever existed, that never happened?”
So what are we going to do now, asked activist (and wonderful writer) Kate MacDonald.
“As a community we have been at this for a long time, and we’ve seen very little change. We’ve seen shiny things being placed in front of us, and policies, and reasons why we can’t change things, and all that kind of shit. Well, I don’t have time for that,” said MacDonald.
“We get to dictate how justice is served and what we mean by that. We can’t let the narrative of a police officer change how we felt when we saw that first 32 second clip. I was waiting for a gunshot. It’s 2021 and I was waiting for a gunshot! We’re lucky we aren’t at a funeral today.”
EL Jones, poet, teacher and tireless activist, directly addressed the many young folks in the crowd.
“I know that some of our younger comrades have been quite upset in the last few days, seeing how some of the older people have not been supporting your protest and not supporting your resistance, trying to shame you,” said Jones in her powerful speech.
“So I really want to say that you are part of the movement, that we honour the work that all of you are doing out here, the bodies you put in the street, the time you’re putting in. We see you in this community. So thank you so much. Don’t be shaken by people who want to sell us out for respectability. Don’t be shaken by people that would rather get honoured by people who do not believe in change and do not think we can have a better world.”
“We know that when there are problems with drugs it’s because the police criminalizes drug use. The war on drugs has been going on for fifty years and hasn’t kept drugs out of the community, has not stopped one person from overdosing, hasn’t stopped a single dealer,” she said.
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