A spoken word piece Angee Bowden performed yesterday at the rally against racism in downtown Halifax.
Early this afternoon some 50 African Nova Scotians and their allies (and 4 very visible cops) gathered in downtown Halifax , to once again call attention to the racism that pervades Nova Scotia politics and society. Speakers included Kirk Johnson, Jason MacLean, Angee Bowden, Raymond Sheppard, and many more.
No apology will be forthcoming from Halifax Regional Police (HRP) and HRM RCMP for the damage inflicted on the African Nova Scotian community through the racist practice of street checks. This despite a unanimous motion by the Halifax Board of Police Commissioners that asked for such an apology.
Two Halifax residents are circulating a petition calling on the Halifax Regional Municipality and the provincial government to ban the racist practice of police checks.
We interviewed Toronto journalist, writer and community organizer Desmond Cole, who has been involved in the fight against carding in Toronto for many years. Turns out that much of what’s been happening here in NS occurred in Ontario as well, just a bit earlier. In other words, there are lessons we can learn.
An Ontario judge asked to review new street check regulations in Ontario similar to the ones Nova Scotia is contemplating, found that we’re better off just banning the racist practice.
I went to the Halifax Board of Police Commissioners meeting this afternoon when it recommended that street checks be suspended.. Afterwards I talked to some members of the African Nova Scotian community who think only a ban is good enough.
Media release and open letter to Minister Furey by the African Nova Scotian Decade for People of African Descent Coalition : “Street checks are illegal and must stop before we can sit to discuss their impact. We are not interested in negotiating away our inherent human and Charter rights.”
Ever since the Wortley report came out almost all the discussion has focused on street checks and whether to ban or regulate them.
What about rampant racism among the force as reported in Wortley’s community meetings? What about classism, sexism and ableism we continue to hear about? And why do we think the same old and tired recommendations are going to work this time?
PSA: There are no more studies needed. There is much work to be done to undo the layers of racism at play in the HPD. Banning street checks is only a start, but an absolutely necessary one. Let Minister Mark Furey know that we need to end the racist practice of street checks now.