UARR Welcomes OHRC’s Interim Report, A Collective Impact, on anti-Black racism in Toronto policing

The Urban Alliance on Race Relations commends the Ontario Human Rights Commission for its work on presenting the findings in their interim report, A Collective Impact — data that reveals deeply disturbing acts of racial profiling and anti-Black racism by the Toronto Police. The UARR calls on the Toronto Police Service, the Toronto Police Services Board, the City of Toronto, and the Government of Ontario to acknowledge the racial disparities and community experiences outlined in the interim report and to act immediately.

Thirty years of reports tell us that anti-Black racism is at the core of the disproportionately deadly interactions of Toronto police with the Black community. The UARR stands with the community to demand that the TPS hold itself to a higher standard.

Interactions between Black people and the Toronto Police Service have resulted in fear, trauma, and mistrust. The over-policing of Black communities and the aggressive use of police force does not help to foster the positive relationship needed for a safer city; rather, it further contributes to the growing inequities and racial divide that continue to plague the city of Toronto.

Furthermore, the UARR is concerned by the provincial government’s rollback of Bill 175, which included necessary reforms to strengthen police oversight; the recent cuts to Ontario’s Anti-Racism Directorate, a body doing crucial work toward racial justice; and the appointment of a long-time friend of the Premier to the role of Commissioner to the Ontario Provincial Police. These recent decisions have led the UARR to remain skeptical that the Government of Ontario will implement the recommendations outlined in the report.

Lastly, the City of Toronto must also use its powers to implement the recommendations in the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism, the first of its kind in the country, having great potential to improve the lives of Black people across the city.

The interim report is disheartening but unsurprising. We hope the TPS and TPSB will continue to support the OHRC’s inquiry into racial profiling and racial discrimination against Black persons.

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UARR Outreach ​ UARR Statement on the Criminalization of Pro-Palestinian Dissent and Protest and on the Rising Antisemitism across the Country

The Urban Alliance on Race Relations joins many Palestinian, Muslim, Arab and Jewish organizations in condemning the exponential rise of discrimination against Palestinian, Muslim, Arab and Jewish communities across Canada.

As an organization committed to fighting racism, we oppose the criminalization of peaceful anti-racist advocacy and protest. Currently, we are seeing the targeting and demonization of racialized communities, with several Canadian leaders making statements equating them with “terrorism”. As we’ve previously seen during the so-called “War on Terror '' after 9/11, and Canada’s seige of Kanien’kehá:ka, this framing promotes state policies and practices severely limiting human rights and civil liberties for Indigenous and racialized populations. We also observe that suppression and reprisal against anti-racist and anti-colonial advocacy is a hallmark of the system of white supremacy. We call on Canadian leaders to acknowledge, apologize for and address harms caused by such statements. These harms include drastically rising anti-Palestinian, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arab hate incidents on our streets, in workplaces, and in schools.

We simultaneously condemn the recent violent and hateful attacks against Jewish schools and places of worship. We should all be concerned when the safety and wellbeing of Jewish communities is threatened as they exercise their rights to freedom of worship, and freedom to visibly express their religious affiliation and identity. An attack on one of us as we exercise these rights is an attack on us all.

Canada is a member state of the United Nations and as such has an obligation to uphold international law. We believe this is a time for empathy, dialogue, and learning about the detrimental impacts of settler colonialism, white supremacy, anti-Semitism, anti-Palestinian racism, and Islamophobia.

Statement Regarding May 14 Attack

The Urban Alliance on Race Relations expresses deep sorrow in response to the May 14 white supremacist attack in Buffalo, New York. 

We honour those who lost their lives to this heinous act of violence: Roberta A. Drury, Margus D. Morrison, Andre Macknil, Aaron Salter, Geraldine Talley, Celestine Chaney. Heyward Paterson, Katherine Massey, Pearl Young, and Ruth Whitfield. 

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