In the Blog

Mid-Week Round Up: July 15

July 15th, 2015     by Jessie Hale     Comments

Illustration: Erin McPhee

Andrew Loku, a Black father of five from Sudan, was killed by police in his Toronto apartment building on July 5. Witnesses say that Loku, who was holding a hammer, was shot to death mere seconds after being told to drop the tool. According to friends, Loku experienced mental health issues and fought as a youth soldier in South Sudan.

Black Lives Matter’s Toronto chapter has issued a statement demanding answers from the Toronto Police Service and Mayor John Tory about Loku’s killing: “Andrew Loku’s murder by the police is a traumatic experience for Black people in Toronto. We are enraged,” said a representative.

Andrew Loku’s death comes in the wake of several high-profile killings of Black people in the US and subsequent protests across the country calling attention to police violence against Black people. However, activists point out that Canadian police have no better track record when it comes to violence against Black people, particularly Black people with mental health issues. A coalition of groups, including the Canadian Mental Health Association, the African Canadian Legal Clinic, and Black Lives Matter-Toronto are recommending that the Toronto Police Service conduct an inquiry into “disproportionate force used against African-Canadians with mental health issues,” among other recommendations.

The Osheaga Music and Arts Festival, taking place July 31 to August 2 in Montreal, has officially banned the wearing of First Nations–style headdresses. Stated the festival on its Facebook page:

“The First Nations Headdresses have a spiritual and cultural meaning in the native communities and to respect and honor their people, Osheaga asks fans and artists attending the > festival to not use this symbol as a fashion accessory.”

In other music festival news, a new Ottawa-based program called SoundCheck is seeking to reduce sexual assault at music festivals by training volunteers in bystander intervention.

As Wimbledon comes to a close, check out a pair of stories about Venus and (Wimbledon women’s singles champ) Serena Williams:

  • Until 2007, women champions at Wimbledon earned a smaller cash prize than their male counterparts. Venus Williams helped change that.

  • Serena Williams has been the target of body shaming throughout her career. Writing in the Huffington Post, Zeba Blay argues that the real target is her blackness, not her physique: “Everything from her hairstyles to her celebratory dances have been - regarded as ‘ghetto’ or uncouth. No matter her success, her intelligence or her graciousness, her humanity is consistently denied.”

Pushes for equality, financial and otherwise, are being made all over the world of women’s sports, from soccer to pro wrestling. And if you just want a pick-me-up, check out the amazing video of Carli Lloyd’s midfield goal during the Women’s World Cup finals—the first ever midfield goal in a championship match, whether women’s or men’s.

Tags: body politics, gender, media savvy, news flash, race and racism, recommended reading, violence

« Welcome to SuperMutant Magic Academy – Where You’re More Normal than Weird

Purple Monsters on Parade: Five Things (this) Chronically Ill Person Would Like You to Know »