TORONTO, July 18, 2020 /CNW/ - Black Lives Matter held a rally and march today in support of demands to defund the police, invest in communities and create emergency safety services that do not harm Black and Indigenous people. Along with a coalition of artists, the group artistically disrupted statues of slaveholders and monuments to colonialism at Ryerson University and at Queen's Park. The city of Toronto spends just over 25% of taxpayer dollars on funding the police. That's a cost of $1.13 billion dollars, comparable to the tax dollars spent on public transportation, the library, children services and public health combined.
"Torontonians are paying over $3.3 million per day on policing! In Peel Region, over 40% of taxpayer dollars are spent on the police," said Ravyn Wngz, a Black Lives Matter - Toronto organizer. "Most people have no idea how much money goes into policing, which is why we created defundthepolice.org, so that people can easily see how much funding is going toward this service that continues to target, harm and kill Black and Indigenous people in our community."
The action comes after the City of Toronto and the Province of Ontario have failed to take action against police violence against Black people. "Around the world, policy-makers are taking action. Minneapolis is abolishing their police department. Oakland is removing firearms from front line officers. Seattle is defunding their police department by 50%," said Rodney Diverlus, co-founder of Black Lives Matter - Toronto. "Look at everything we know -- Black people are 20 times more likely to be shot and killed by police in Toronto, the police conviction in Therriault trial after the brutalization of Dafonte Miller, the recently released charges against Toronto police in an underage human trafficking case, the recently announced investigation against Toronto police in a scheme being run with the towing industry, the class action sexual misconduct case against the RCMP, and now the charges laid against a Peel police officer for shooting Chantal Krupka on Mother's Day. How much more corruption do you need to take action? The police are beyond reform, and the time has come to defund"
The artistic disruption of statues also comes as Black activists worldwide are taking down monuments to anti-Blackness, white supremacy, and colonialism. "Much like the institution of the police, these statues are monuments that glorify the ugliest parts of our history and our present," said Syrus Marcus Ware, an organizer for Black Lives Matter - Toronto. "If this society truly believes that Black lives matter, it's not enough to simply say so in words. Let's refuse to honour colonialism, anti-Blackness, and white supremacy. Let's tear down monuments to anti-Blackness and colonialism, including the police system. Let's build a society that truly values safety for all of us."
Black Lives Matter - Toronto's full set of demands can be viewed here: https://blacklivesmatter.ca/defund-the-police/
Black Lives Matter – Toronto is the Toronto chapter of the Black Lives Matter Global Network, an international organization and movement fighting anti-Black racism all over the world.
SOURCE Black Lives Matter Canada