Statement of Solidarity and Call to Action together with Black Communities across Canada and North America by Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre

We stand together with Black Communities in Canada and across North America as we witness the on-going calls for justice taking place in many cities around the world.

Our hearts go out to the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor – brutally killed in the United States, victims of anti-Black racism and White supremacy.

We also mourn Regis Korchiniski-Paquet who died last week in Toronto, Andrew Loku, Abdirahman Abdi, D’Andre Campbell and many others who were failed by mental health services and killed by Police in Canada.

We acknowledge the anguish and pain continuously suffered by black communities across North America who rightfully demand an end to 400 years of systemic racism and white supremacy.

Black men and women and their communities in Canada are over-surveilled, over-policed, criminalized and under-protected. Black people are twenty times more likely to be killed or injured by Police in Toronto. In Montreal, Black and Indigenous people are four to five times more likely to be stopped and carded by local police.

For justice to prevail, we need to move beyond statements and implement diversity, inclusion & equity policies across all public sectors, businesses, academia, non-profits, cultural associations and all levels of government.

We call for action that includes race-based collection of data in order to understand inequities as well as funding for Anti-Racism / Anti-Oppression implementation in our communities. While we call for systemic change, let us also call out and work together to end anti-Black racism and racism in the media and public discourse, as well as in our communities, workplaces, neighbourhoods and homes.

Canada is not immune. We have a lot of work to do.

Black lives, fears, hopes, dreams, businesses, matter.

Emily Kovacs Executive Director/CEO Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre