Prominent artists and cultural leaders sign Black Lives Matter - Toronto #BLMTOtentcity solidarity statement

TORONTO, March 26, 2016 /CNW/ - Over 100 prominent artists and community leaders have released an open letter in support of the ongoing Black Lives Matter - Toronto protests: #BLMTOtentcity. The letter is representative of a diverse group of artists and cultural producers who are concerned with anti-Black racism, police violence, and the attack on Black lives by the City and the Province.

"Artists and activists, often one in the same, have been fighting together here for many decades," says visual artist and community activist Syrus Marcus Ware. "And this work continues today! The BLMTOTentCity has been a beautiful creative space of collective resistance."

Black Torontonians and their allies are outside of Toronto Police Headquarters right now and have been since Saturday, March 19th to challenge anti-Black racism in our city. Sparked by the SIU's decision not to indict the officer who killed Andrew Loku, #BLMTOtentcity is resisting anti-Black violence from the City and the Province. #BLMTOtentcity draws our attention to the ways that Black lives are dispensable to Toronto Police Services, the inefficiencies of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the uselessness of the carding regulations, and all the ways that our Black people continue to face violence in our communities.

"I am inspired by the artists, activists and leaders within the Black Lives Matter Toronto Coalition," says filmmaker Min Sook Lee. "They are the civil rights leaders of today.  They are taking up space to demand justice that is long overdue."

Together, they call on the Mayor of Toronto, Chief of Police Mark Saunders, and Premiere Kathleen Wynne to adopt Black Lives Matter - Toronto's demands, including:

  • Transparency and the release of critical information concerning the shootings of Alex Wettlaufer, Andrew Loku and Jermaine Carby
  • Public release of the identities of the officers responsible for these shootings.
  • The release of video footage from the building where Loku was killed.
  • A review of the Special Investigations Unit with adequate consultation from families victimized by police violence and affected communities.

Dub poet, spoken word artist, and writer Lillian Allen on #BLMTOtentcity: "It is heart warming these young people taking up the work that we have dedicated our lives to here in this city and country."

The open letter is signed by over 100 signatories including: Artistic Director of The Watah Theatre d'bi.young anitafrika, Naomi Klein, Amanda Parris, John Greyson, Artistic Director for Obsidian Theatre Company Phillip Akin, Dionne Brand, Naomi Campbell of the Luminato Festival, Artistic Director of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre Evalyn Parry, Coach House Books Editorial Director Alana Wilcox, LAL's Rosina Kazi and Nicholas Murray, Independent artist & Chairperson of the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter (CCNCTO) Alvis Choi, Canadian actress Sarah Polley, director and producer Gein Wong, Artistic Director of Factory Theatre Nina Lee Aquino, Artistic Director of The Theatre Centre Franco Boni, Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts Ryan Cunningham, and more.

Artists for Black Lives Matter is a loose coalition of artists, activists, and community leaders working in solidarity with Black Lives Matter - Toronto.  Their open letter can be found here:

Black Lives Matter-Toronto is the Toronto chapter of #BlackLivesMatter, an international organization and movement fighting anti-Black racism all over the world.

SOURCE Black Lives Matter - Toronto

For further information: For inquiries, contact: Rodney Diverlus at or 647-456-8476; Syrus Marcus Ware at or 647-990-5316; Min Sook Lee at or 416-671-5109

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