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WEEKLY ROUND UP: MARCH 24

March 25th, 2016     by Caitlin Blennerhassett     Comments

Illustration: Erin McPhee

This week the feminist community suffered a huge loss. Adrienne Rich, influential poet and radical activist, has passed.

Members of Black Lives Matter Toronto (BLMTO) commemorated International Day Against Racism on March 21st by demanding accountability from Toronto Police Services, the City of Toronto, and Mayor John Tory. The action began on Sunday, March 20th when organizers camped outside Toronto Police Services Headquarters forming #BLMTOtentcity following a rally in Nathan Phillips Square. Organizers have committed to ongoing action in protest of recent cases of anti-Black racism. BLMTO condemns the Special Investigation Unit’s decision not to indict the officers responsible for killing Andrew Loku, the City of Toronto’s decision to shorten Afrofest music festival from two days to one in response to noise complaints, and the killing of Alex Wettlaufer.

On March 21st Toronto Police rushed the crowd of peaceful protestors [trigger warning: police violence], physically assaulting some, dismantling fires and removing shelters. On March 24th BLMTO and Lawyer Saron Gebresellassi announced a lawsuit against the Toronto Police Service. The City has reinstated Afrofest as a two-day festival following successful action from the activists.

Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, of Toronto Centre-Rosedale, has offered to facilitate a meeting between BLMTO organizers and City Councillors, Chief of Toronto Police Mark Saunders, members of the Toronto Police Services Board, and representatives from provincial agencies working on mental health issues.

Shameless supports the ongoing efforts of Black Lives Matter Toronto and recognizes the ongoing, violent and systemic racism faced by all members of the Black community in the GTA. Join us in signing the Black Lives Matter #BLMTOTENTCITY Solidarity Statement and ask your friends, family and organizations to do the same.

For a statement from janaya (j) khan, co-founder of BLMTO click here. To find out what #BLMTOtentcity needs and how you can help follow them on twitter.

[Trigger warning: sexual assault] On Thursday a verdict was announced in the Jian Ghomeshi trial. Former CBC host Ghomeshi was formally acquitted of all charges including four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking. Judge William Hoskins based his decision on the perceived lack of credibility and reliability of the three witnesses who came forward. Despite the judge’s verdict, we know that trauma impacts the formation of memories and that survivors of traumatic experiences have great difficulty retaining details. On Thursday allies flooded social media with #WeBelieveSurvivors.

  • For an interview with Lucy DeCoutere, complainant in the case, click here
  • Here are some statistics about sexual assault in Canada
  • To find a Sexual Assault Centre in Ontario look here
  • For self-care strategies check out SACHA’s blog
  • If you need support contact the TRCC/MWAR 24-hour Crisis Support Line at 416-597-8808.

This week was World Poetry Day. In honour of that day check out Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh’s first work since his imprisonment in Saudi Arabia. The poem “Tense Times” is published in both English and Arabic.

And a big happy 80th birthday to environmental activist David Suzuki!

Tags: activist report, body politics, media savvy, news flash, police, race and racism, recommended reading, sexual assault

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Shameless Magazine Solidarity Statement with Black Lives Matter Toronto Coalition »