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A Black Lives Matter protest (Photo: Johnny Silvercloud)

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Black Lives Matter: A guide to supporting anti-racism & human rights

On Tuesday, we took part in #TheShowMustBePaused—something that morphed into #BlackoutTuesday and other variations of the solidarity initiative—and we took time to research and educate ourselves on the best way we can make a difference from Canada; abroad and here at home.

Speaking out on platforms like social media is important. There needs to be a unified voice and there’s strength in numbers, but a lot more can be done to get involved and support the Black Lives Matter movement.

We’ve compiled a list of different types of ways you can get active and start pushing for change.

Sign Petitions

Signing online petitions is one way to show your support. Websites like Change.org have thousands of petitions, often for the same cause, that will be delivered to specific recipients if they get enough signatures. These people often include world leaders, people in positions of authority, politicians, lawmakers, business owners, and whomever else people believe has the power to change something. We’ve gathered some of the larger petitions online at the moment that support Black Lives Matter the and anti-racism movement.

There’s obviously no guarantee results will come from the petition you sign, but its a great place to start to get involved and take a stand. According to a 2011 study by researchers at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., “those who support a cause online—signing an e-petition or joining a Facebook group—are two times more likely to volunteer their time for the cause, four times more likely to follow up by contacting a decision-maker, and five times more likely to recruit others, than a person who supports a cause offline, e.g. with a paper petition.”

Toronto Police to wear and turn on Body cameras when responding (Change.org)

#WeAreDoneDying Petition (NAACP)

Justice for George Floyd (Change.org)

Text “JUSTICE” to 668366 to petition for George Floyd or sign the petition here (MoveOn)

Justice for Regis Korchinski-Paquet (Change.org)

Justice for Breonna Taylor (Change.org)

Justice for Ahmaud Arbery (Change.org)

The Movement for Black Lives Petition (M4BL)


Support Organizations

The are several organizations in Canada that are dedicated to fighting racism and inequality. We’ve rounded up a list of some key organizations that are providing information and other types of resources to fight systemic racism. Some of them have memberships and accept donations, others are strictly about sharing knowledge.

We’ve also included links to some American organizations that are currently on the frontlines in the fight for meaningul change. This is arguably the most attention and support the Black Lives Matter movement has received in its history, but the change isn’t going to happen if people abandon the objective once BLM is not trending.

There are several Canadian chapters of Black Lives Matter, and aligning with one of these organizations can ensure you stay connected.

Africa Centre

Africa Centre, also known as the Council for the Advancement for African-Canadians in Alberta, serves as the hub of African communities in the province of Alberta through creating opportunities of access and encouraging participation.

The organization’s mission is to “create opportunities for the access and full participation of members of the African community in all aspects of society including economic, social, cultural and educational endeavors and contribute to the holistic development and wellness of the individual, family and community.”

You can find more information on their official website.

Afri-Can FoodBasket

“The Afri-Can FoodBasket is a community based non-profit organization that has been at the forefront of championing Food Justice and Food Sovereignty for Toronto’s African, Caribbean, Black (ACB) community since 1995.”

As they look ahead to their 25th anniversary, they remain committed to “enhancing the nutrition, health, employment and food access needs of the ACB community, in particular those who are economically and socially vulnerable.”

You can find more information on their official website.

Black Community Resource Centre

Montreal’s Black Community Resource Centre (BCRC) is a growing, resource-based organization that strengthens community capacity by providing professional support to organizations and individuals in need. The Centre is committed to helping visible minority youth rekindle their dreams, and achieve their full potential.

They’re focused on empowering communities, strengthening careers, and encouraging education. You can find more information on their official website.

Black Health Alliance

The Black Health Alliance (BHA) take on key issues that impact Black communities in Canada through systems change, health promotion, research and public policy work, convening, collaborating and capacity building, championing health equity, fundraising and more.

Their mission is to “reduce the racial disparities in health outcomes and promote health and well-being for people from the diverse Black communities in Canada with emphasis on the broad determinants of health, including racism.”

You can find more information on their offical website.

Black Legal Action Centre

The Black Legal Action Centre (BLAC) is a non-profit community legal clinic that provides free legal services for low or no income Black residents of Ontario.

Their mission is to “educate, advocate, and litigate to combat individual and systemic anti-Black racism in Ontario.”

You can find more information on their official website.

Black Liberation Collective

Black Liberation Collectives (BLC) are an international movement of students challenging anti-Black racism in post-secondary institutions in every way that it manifests. The BLC in Canada began as a solidarity movement with the students a Missouri University at the University of Toronto and Ryerson University in 2015.

The three pillars of their collective include Community, Action and Education. For more information visit their official website BLCRyerson.com.

Black Lives Matter (Canada)

Black Lives Matter – Toronto is the largest Canadian chapter of the BLM movement.

Their mission is “to forge critical connections and to work in solidarity with black communities, black-centric networks, solidarity movements, and allies in order to to dismantle all forms of state-sanctioned oppression, violence, and brutality committed against African, Caribbean, and Black cis, queer, trans, and disabled populations in Toronto.”

Click here to visit their website.

Black Lives Matter – Vancouver is “a cause that supports the organizing work of black folks and allies in undoing systemic racialized violence.”

As their official website explains, “Black Lives Matter is a cause cognizant of the ongoing struggles of all marginalized folks and we strive to honour that in the work we do. We centre the voices of Black folks as well as other folks of colour and hope to lift up those who are queer, women, trans, differently abled, poor or otherwise marginalized.”

Click here to visit their website.

Black Space Winnipeg

Black Space Winnipeg is a grassroots, organization that fosters organic dialogue on everyday experiences of being Black. Spreading perspectives of Afrocentrism, and Pro-Black conversation, Black Space Winnipeg creates safe spaces for people of colour through hosting community events, artist demonstrations and workshops. Black Space Winnipeg challenges anti-Black racism and discrimination, building inclusivity across all sectors in Winnipeg for Black people.

You can find more information on their official website.

Black Women In Motion

The mission of Black Women In Motion (BWIM) is to empower, celebrate and support the advancement of Black womxn. Through collaboration with local partners and community agencies, they deliver programs and connect their clients to support resources.

Their mandate is to “amplify and promote the voices, experiences and needs of Black womxn living in the City of Toronto, by strengthening relationships with black communities and improving educational and socio-economic conditions.”

You can find more information on their official website.

Black Youth Helpline

The Black Youth Helpline (BYH) provides a multicultural helpline and services for children, youth, families, school boards and other youth serving organizations.

The Black Youth Helpline “serves all youth and specifically responds to the need for a Black youth specific service, positioned and resourced to promote access to professional, culturally appropriate support for youth, families and schools.”

You can find more information on their official website.

BlackFoodToronto

BlackFoodToronto is a food sovereignty initiative championed by the Afri-Can FoodBasket. Their tema has been raising money to provide emergency food support for individuals and families within the African, Caribbean, Black community in Toronto who have been impacted by COVID-19 and are in need of support accessing food. Anyone suffering hardship due to coronavirus can apply for assistance from community members.

You can find more information on their official website.

Canadian Anti-Racism Education and Research Society

The main purpose of the Canadian Anti-Racism Education and Research Society (CAERS) is to track and monitor hate group activity, provide victim support services, educate and provide information resources, liaise with law enforcement on racism and hate group activity, advocate for legislative change to help stop systemic racism and hate motivated activity, and more. They even have a program to help youth leave hate groups.

For more information visit their official website StopRacism.ca.

Canada Anti-Hate Network

The Canadian Anti-Hate Network is an independent, nonprofit organization made up of Canada’s leading experts and researchers on hate groups and hate crimes. Our Advisory Committee includes academics like Dr. Barbara Perry, court-recognized experts on hate crimes, lawyers with decades of experience with hate groups, people who stood up to the neo-Nazi Heritage Front in the 1990s, and leaders in communities that are being targeted by hate.

Chaired by one of Canada’s most accomplished NGO CEO’s Bernie Farber, the Canada Anti-Hate Network’s mandate is “to monitor, research, and counter hate groups by providing education and information on hate groups to the public, media, researchers, courts, law enforcement, and community groups.”

You can find more information on their official website.

Canadian Race Relations Foundation

The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) is Canada’s leading agency dedicated to the elimination of racism and all forms of racial discrimination in Canadian society.

Their mission is “building a national framework for the fight against racism in Canadian society.” Their approach to achieving their goal is “knowledge-sharing and community support in the pursuit of equity, fairness, social justice and systemic change.”

For more information visit their official website.

The Come Up

Previously known as the Youth Empowerment Group and founded by the Africa Centre, The Come Up presents itself as a hub of African and Caribbean youth. They share the same core values and principles as their founding organziation, Africa Centre. They seek to encourage individual and community empowerment from within.

You can find more information on their official website.

Federation of Black Canadians

The Federation of Black Canadians (FBC) is a national, non-profit organization, driven by organizations across the country that advances the social, economic, political and cultural interests of Canadians of African descent. As a Pan-Canadian body, the FBC seeks to discuss the opportunities, contributions and challenges that exist for people of African descent nationally.

For more information visit their official website.

Hogan’s Alley Society

Hogan’s Alley Society (HAS) is a non-profit organization which includes academics, artists, business professionals, community organizations, civil rights activists, and writers committed to daylighting the presence of Black history in Vancouver and throughout British Columbia.

“The Hogan’s Alley Society advocates for Black Vancouverites who have endured the legacies of urban renewal and their erasure from the official historical narrative. Through our iniatives we hope to build the capacity of racialized and marginalized communities to participate in city building.”

You can find more information on their official website.

Nia Centre for the Arts

The Toronto based Nia Centre for the Arts is Canada’s first Black Arts centre and focuses on supporting and promoting work by Black Canadian creatives.

“Nia Centre is committed to supporting artists working across disciples, and ranging in experience levels. We strive to build the creative capacities and support the development of a healthy identity in Black youth. We are committed to connecting community members to artistic and cultural experiences, year-round.”

You can find more information on their official website.

Stolen From Africa

Stolen From Africa (SFA) began as a t-shirt campaign in 2004. They found that through highlighting social justice issues and stories of oppression on everyday street apparel, they could sparked interest, ignited ideas and encourag dialogue. The increase in gun violence deaths in 2004/5 and the release of the 2006 Student Census by the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) of a 40% drop-out rate among black youth initiated the launch of their mixtape, Banning Guns Won’t Stop Gun Violence, Changing Mindsets Will.

The mixtape brought together various artists from Toronto’s underserved communities to address collective causes. This project led to a partnership with the TDSB and launched several SFA speaking engagements at high schools and community events. During these outreach sessions the organization looked not only at the current problem of youth violence and marginalization but the historic circumstances which have allowed this and many other issues to persist.

For the past 13 years, SFA has worked diligently on developing culturally-relevant educational resources and programming for racialized youth and students marginalized from mainstream education. Through project funding from The Laidlaw Foundation, Canadian Heritage, the Toronto and Ontario Arts Councils, ArtReach Toronto and small pockets of TDSB funding, they’ve been able to produce short educational documentaries and provide alternative multi-media arts education programming and curricula for marginalized students and youth across the GTA and in Southern Ontario.

For more information visit their official website.

Urban Alliance on Race Relations

The Urban Alliance on Race Relations (UARR) is a non-profit charitable organization that strives to address emerging issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion. The Urban Alliance was formed in 1975 by a group of concerned Toronto citizens in response to hate-motivated violence targeting various racialized communities.

The Urban Alliance is a small organization with very limited resources that strives to address emerging issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion. Some of the key areas of their organization’s participation include coalition work, fundraising, hosting recognition dinners, legal interventions, public forums, educating, providing resources and more.

You can find more information on their official website.


Make Donations

As the saying goes, money talks, and there is no shortage of reasons as to why supporting with your wallet is beneficial to the BLM movement.

There are several great ways to support including donating to mutual aid and bail funds, black-owned businesses, anti-racism organizations and more.

Many of the organizations already listed above rely heavily on donations to operate. Some of them have been listed again below.

Black Artists’ Network in Dialogue

The Black Artists’ Network in Dialogue (BAND) is “dedicated to supporting, documenting and showcasing the artistic and cultural contributions of Black artists and cultural workers in Canada and internationally.”. Their goal is educate with art.

You can donate now via their official website.

Black Health Alliance

The Black Health Alliance (BHA) uses donations to support research and health promotion.

“Support the movement to improve the health and well-being of Black communities across Canada. With over an estimated 1 million Black people living across Canada, we must work together to ensure that we all have what we need for optimal health and well-being.”

You can donate now via their official website.

Black Legal Action Centre

The Black Legal Action Centre (BLAC) is a non-profit community legal clinic that provides free legal services for low or no income Black residents of Ontario.

Their mission is to “educate, advocate, and litigate to combat individual and systemic anti-Black racism in Ontario.”

You can find more information on their official website.

Black Lives Matter

Both the Toronto and Vancouver chapters of the Black Lives Matter organization are completely supported through community donation.

You can currently donate to Black Lives Matter – Toronto’s operating budget via cheque, e-transfer or PayPal on their official website.

Black Lives Matter – Vancouver is using funds for items like vigil and protest supplies, venue rental costs, honorarioums, event promotions, and other costs associated with event planning. They also raise money for bail when needed. Donate now via their official website.

Canadian Anti-Racism Network

The Canadian Anti-Racism Network (aka the Canadian Anti-Racism Education and Research Society) is an independent voice for civil, political and economic rights.

They’ve helped organize some of the largest anti-racism and hate demonstrations in Canada and their research and work have shut down hate groups. They’ve held successful conferences and a wide variety of workshops on stopping racism and hate.

The Canadian Anti-Racism Network depends on public donations to continue their vital work on human rights. Donations can be made through their official website.

Justice for Regis Korchinski-Paquet

Toronto’s Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a 29-year-old Afro-Indigenous woman, fell 24 stories to her death on May 27, 2020. Her family claims she was pushed over the balcony by police and there is currently an investigation underway. Her family has opened a GoFundMe campaign to support their bid to find justice for Regis.

“On May 27th 2020, my sister Regis Korchinski Paquet, tragically lost her life, she was so special and meant the world to us. She was kind, beautiful and she will be missed beyond belief. We are asking the public to help with meeting are goal to get the proper justice we need.”

You can support the fund via GoFundMe.

Prisoner Emergency Support Fund

Incarcerated people are at a disproportionate risk of contracting COVID-19. Unsanitary conditions, close quarters, frequent physical contact, and the underlying chronic health conditions of many detained people, contributes to the spread of the virus and threatens the well being of prisoners and public health. Alongside incarcerated people, communities across the country are calling for the depopulation of federal and provincial prisons to protect the safety and wellbeing of prisoners and our communities.

This fundraiser supports prisoners re-entering the community and those that are still behind bars during this crisis. You can support the fund now via GoFundMe.

Toronto Protestor Bail Fund

The Toronto Protestor Bail Fund was created by Strapped TO, a black queer party collective in Toronto that creates a safe space for queer people of colour.

“When COVID-19 hit, we made it our mission to continue serving our community. Through events, workshops, and now this fund. So after connecting with the protest organizers from ‘Not Another Black Life,’ Strapped TO founder Marisa Rosa Grant decided to create a fund to assist in paying for private legal counsel, and to potentially create asset collateral for bail hearings.”

You can support the fund via GoFundMe.


Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

As a concluding point, we’d like to encourage all of our Canadian viewers (and any future visitors of Canada) to review the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a bill of rights entrenched in the Constitution of Canada, forming the first part of the Constitution Act, 1982. The Charter sets out the rights and freedoms that Canadians believe are necessary in a free and democratic society.

You can download, save and print a copy of the Charter on Canada.ca. On this site you can find also find versions in French and various other languages, as well as Braille Ready Format version.

Section 15 of the Charter focuses on Equality Rights. It states: “Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law without discrimination based on race, nationality, or ethnic origin, color, religion, sex, age, or mental or physical disability.”

This document is supposed to apply to people of all walks of life, all backgrounds, all races and all ethnic groups. But our own prime minister admitted just a couple of days ago that Canada is far from innocent when it comes to systemic and institutionalized racism, and it’s time for us to come together as a united voice to make a change.

And it’s time for the words written in the Charter, and the way we treat people of colour in Canada to lineup 100%. Right now, they don’t, and it that needs be addressed a lot further than a single speech.

 
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms


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