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TORONTOMay 17, 2022 /CNW/ – “Milk, eggs, cereal for tomorrow’s breakfast, and chicken for dinner tonight because we ran out.” Many family and friends, we imagine, would have had a similar conversation as they went through the checklist before their loved ones headed off on one of the most mundane and unremarkable of human rituals, the weekend run to the supermarket.

Tragically, that would be the last conversation many family and friends would have with their loved ones before they were brutally murdered in a racially motivated terrorist attack on Black shoppers at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, on Saturday, May 14, 2022, which killed ten people and injured three. Eleven of the thirteen were Black.

We, 21 community organizations and foundations from across the GTA, want to express our support and solidarity with the families, friends, and Black communities grieving the victims of this racially motivated massacre.

This heinous act reminds us that the threat of racially motivated violence and hatred is a constant and increasing reality for Black communities. This atrocity is simply the most recent in a long history of unrelenting and consistent brutality against Black communities across North America rooted in anti-Black hate.

This latest attack reminds us that anti-Black hate, white supremacy, replacement theory and far-right extremism continue to make even the most basic activities unsafe for Black people, such as shopping for Sunday dinner.

It should also serve as a warning about the grave dangers that white supremacy, far-right extremism, and hatred pose to our communities not just in the United States but also here in Canada. As seen by deadly attacks on Muslim communities in London, Ontario and Quebec City, Quebec, this evil threat transcends borders. Anti-Black hatred in Canada remains a huge concern for Black communities.

We must call it out and condemn it. Racially motivated hate crimes or acts of violent extremism are harmful to all of us, and we must do everything we can to ensure that our communities are safe from such actions.

Ignorance and indifference, I don’t know, and I don’t care attitudes, can no longer be tolerated or prevail. The massacre in Buffalo must not only be remembered as we honour the lives lost and the families affected, but it must never happen again.

We demand actions that go beyond pledges and statements and instead demand strategies and solutions which must be co-developed with our communities and implemented by all institutions, organizations, and levels of government that address the root causes of anti-Black hate.

As such, we call on federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to:

  1. Work with Black communities to ensure that concrete measures such as tackling hate speech and radicalization online to address anti-Black hate are incorporated in the National Action Plan on Combating Hate.
  2. Every provincial and territorial government to establish an Anti-Black Racism Directorate/Office/Secretariat if one does not already exist.
  3. The federal government ensures it works with Black communities to build on the gains of the United Nations Decade For People of African Descent as a permanent forum in accordance with the decision of the United Nations.
  4. Expanding the Supporting Black Communities Initiative program to support community organizations assisting victims of anti-Black hate.
  5. Continue to support the Mental Health of Black Canadians Fund with a focus on addressing racial trauma.
  6. That the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada accelerate and work closely with Black Canadian communities in the development of the Black Canadians Justice Strategy
  7. We urge the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to encourage its members to develop plans to combat anti-Black racism and hate in municipalities, similar to the work of Toronto’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit.

We view these recommendations as part of the necessary and critical steps we must take to counter the rise in anti-Black racism, white supremacy, far-right extremism and hate crimes targeting our communities. We must look for and erase all explicit and implicit racism in our societies – wherever it exists, whether it’s in our judicial systems, our educational systems, or in everyday life.

While we urge elected officials, business leaders, community leaders, and supporters to take quick action, we also recognize that this is a moment for the community to reflect, address our trauma, console one another, and hopefully heal.

So please join us at Nathan Phillips Square on Thursday, May 19 at 6 p.m. EST for a vigil against anti-Black hatred and terrorism in remembrance of the victims of Buffalo as we stand in solidarity, mourn their loss, and celebrate their lives.

Spokesperson: Alica Hall, Executive Director, Nia Centre for the Arts

SOURCE BlackNorth Initiative

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