In May of this year, a white supremacist attacked a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, murdering 13 people, 11 of whom were Black. This massacre is yet another fatal manifestation of anti-Black hatred, which is woven into the daily experiences of Black people and communities across the United States, Canada, and indeed, around the world.
In the wake of the Buffalo mass shooting, a coalition of 21 community organizations and foundations from across the Greater Toronto Area issued a statement entitled "We Can No Longer Wait to Address Anti-Black Hate." The statement describes how anti-Black racism operates simultaneously at the systemic and individual levels, and how it is connected to other forms of hatred, such as Islamophobia.
The statement maps out a clear set of demands aimed at federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments:
- 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.
- Every provincial and territorial government to establish an Anti-Black Racism Directorate/Office/Secretariat if one does not already exist.
- 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.
- Expanding the Supporting Black Communities Initiative program to support community organizations assisting victims of anti-Black hate.
- Continue to support the Mental Health of Black Canadians Fund with a focus on addressing racial trauma.
- 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
- 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.
CCEDNet has formally endorsed these demands, and we encourage everyone to support these demands as well by becoming signatories to the We Can No Longer Wait to Address Anti-Black Hate statement.
In addition to issuing this statement, the coalition organized a Vigil Against Anti-Black Hatred and Terrorism at Toronto's Nathan Phillips' Square on May 19. You can watch the recordings (part 1 and part 2) on Instagram.