I was swiping through Instagram stories when I saw a humorous Tik Tok video poking fun at the pressure that many parents feel to stay calm when disciplining their children in public. Embarrassed, they timidly smile at onlookers and diplomatically negotiate with their screaming kid, only to blow up with rage and reach for the belt as soon as they make it into the doorway. It seemed like befitting content in these pandemic times as stressed, overextended parents are forced to work and homeschool at once. Perhaps, for others, it was a short comedic relief from the stream of rage-inducing news about yet another police killing, a rapid rise in coronavirus cases, and an unemployment rate of historic proportions. Yet, as I replayed this seemingly innocent video over and over again, I thought just how precisely a joke about hitting children shows what those who are skeptical about police abolition fail to understand.

At first glance, corporal punishment and child abuse seem hardly related to the issue of police violence and the Black Lives Matter movement’s demand to defund and abolish police in the United States. At the very core, however, both of these social issues are rooted in the same cultural logic of punishment that has been completely normalized in our society.

Whether we hit children into submission, violate—if not murder—a “criminal suspect,” or put masses of people in prison cells, the unspoken assumption is all the same: the act of violence is a punishment, and it is an earned consequence that the wrongdoer must endure and suffer in silence in order to correct and socially atone for negative behaviors.

We see this in the way that many people desperately look for ways to justify indefensible slayings of black people like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Eric Garner, and many more. The long-standing cultural belief that people are subjected to deadly violence or coercive force by law enforcement because they did something to merit such a punitive response is deeply engrained not only in our social institutions (like the police or prisons) but in the cultural imagination itself.

For many, being confronted with the idea that people are subjected to violence in our society because this is how our culture teaches those with power to control others is deeply uncomfortable. Seeing the use of violence as gratuitous, rather than merited, fundamentally unsettles the way in which carceral culture socializes Americans, and especially whites, to think about themselves and the social institution of policing tasked to “serve and protect” them.

Conceptually, the idea of violence as a mechanism by which society is disciplined shatters the illusion of a distinction between “good” and “bad” people and threatens our psychological investment in ideas like morality, goodness, and safety that are framed precisely in terms of these binaries. The enigmatic figure of the (black) criminal must exist so that we can be assured that “we” are not like “them” and that what happens to them cannot and should not happen to “us.”

The impulse to defend and justify how violence is weaponized to control, surveil, and dominate oppressed people shows that violence is considered to be an integral part of our cultural communication and a legitimate means of settling interpersonal disputes, particularly misbehavior. We’ve heard it all before, maybe at our own dining table or from the nearby office cubicle. “Well, wasn’t he trying to spend a counterfeit $20 bill?” “He was no angel selling untaxed cigarettes!” “It wouldn’t have happened if he didn’t start running away.” Perhaps, we have, at some point, said it ourselves.

As such, the need to frame violence against victims as warranted punishment extends far beyond the issue of racist policing. Most of us pick up on and internalize such violent ways of relating to each other early on in life. We quickly learn that some people “deserve” to be punished (with violence, bullying, silence, or indifference) simply because they have, in one way or another, overstepped the unspoken social mandate. We label people “criminals” if they have broken the rule of property law, but they need not break legal boundaries to be cast outside of social belonging. Consider all the ways in which over the years immigrants, Muslims, and, with the coronavirus pandemic, Asian Americans, too, have been ostracized, harassed, and even physically attacked simply because they are perceived as a threat to the security and wellbeing of Americans.

It is hardly surprising that cultural narratives of punishment are so well-established, since we are taught to think of violence as legitimate punishment since childhood. Despite the popular adage “violence is never the answer,” the vast majority of us learn not only to tolerate but to accept violence as a normal part of everyday life through our first experiences in the family structure. bell hooks contends that social violence begins with patriarchal conditioning within the home. “Patriarchal violence in the home,” she writes, “is based on the belief that it is acceptable for a more powerful individual to control others through various forms of coercive force.” This applies not only to the dynamic between romantic partners, she notes, but to the relationship between the caregiver and the child.

If we are not “disciplined” through violent physical and emotional abuse as children, then most of us have been at least put in the corner, shamed or in some other way isolated from others as punishment. Whenever the issue of child abuse comes up, people routinely jump up with defensive arguments about how violent discipline is necessary in order to raise polite and respectable children, despite years of research that completely disputes the effectiveness of physical punishment. Nevertheless, it is still widely assumed that “disciplining” children using physical and emotional punishment will teach them the life lessons they need to grow into responsible “good” adults.

However, if we fail to learn the lesson when we grow up, the metaphorical “reflection” corner where the young child stood—punished, shamed and isolated from others—becomes the jail cell. Law enforcement authorities mimic the patriarchal rule established in the family unit on a national scale. Just like the parent who treats the child with a sense of power and the right to punish for the sake of “discipline,” the state assumes the role of the benevolent disciplinarian over its population in the name of “order.”

Despite the ample evidence to suggest that economic poverty, substance use disorders, and lack of economic opportunities trap oppressed communities in cycles of criminalization, in a patriarchal culture the wrongdoers, like children, are penalized, isolated, and put away to reflect on their misdeeds, rather than rehabilitated and aided in regaining control over their lives. They should have, after all, made “better choices.”

All this is to say that the way we are taught to relate to another—ultimately, fearing each other and deriving a sense of comfort that those who so terrify us are kept under control—deeply shapes how our culture determines who is deserving of punishment and who is entitled to enact it. In every aspect, we live in a culture of violence.

More than that, how we think about harm and punishment has profoundly shaped social practices, public policies, and budget priorities, such that in the United States there are more police in schools than counselors, 250% more prison cells than hospital beds, and 28 states with death penalty laws.

So, as abolitionists, we want to call attention to the way in which we have accepted and taken for granted this system of enormous violence and punishment as the primary and only way of living with others.

Rooted in the history of black resistance practices, the abolitionist movement looks to shift these cultural norms towards embracing notions of healing, compassion, and holistic justice as equally viable paths for nurturing a society in which all people are free from fear and domination.

Abolition calls forth a world where each and every one of us has a birthright to be our whole selves and live in full dignity. Therefore, in calling for defunding the police and investing in communal wellness, abolitionists offer a fundamentally different model for thinking about human interconnectedness and social belonging. Instead of punishing, policing, and locking communities in cycles of violence, we can choose to center the ethos of radical love and collective care by providing our communities with compassion, dignity, and financial resources that would lay ground for stable access to safe and affordable housing, education, healthcare, and economic opportunities.

Abolition challenges the limits of our imagination and calls on our inherent capacity to imagine otherwise—to think outside of the regime of violence and to envision alternative ways of being in this world. Abolishing policing is a necessary step towards ending four centuries of racial violence against black people but it is only the beginning. To build truly anti-racist, feminist social structures that work for and empower all of us, we must radically shift and re-imagine how we relate to each other. As prolific black feminist abolitionists Angela Davis, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, and Mariame Kaba teach us, we must heed the call and decriminalize our imagination by not merely dreaming or wishing for change but actively working towards the kind of world that we know, with all of our being, is possible.

This post was curled from the Medium

CTV has parted ways with Jessica Mulroney and pulled her new reality show I Do, Redo from all Bell Media channels and platforms after she was accused of trying to silence a Black Toronto influencer and ruin her career. 

Canadian blogger and marketer Sasha Exeter alleges things went left once she put out a call to action on social media for her peers to use their platform to speak out against anti-Black racism.

She says Mulroney wrongly assumed she was being called out as she had not been vocally supportive of the movement, and took it personal.

According to the SoSasha founder, Mulroney lashed out at her several times in the span of a week and blocked her on Instagram.

Exeter said the celebrity stylist threatened her livelihood in writing, saying she had spoken to brands and companies about her – which could’ve jeopardized her income – and threatened to sue her for libel, even after issuing a public apology.

View this post on Instagram

Please read my statement. It is from my heart.

A post shared by Jess Mulroney (@jessicamulroney) on

Exeter says the entire ordeal made her sick to her stomach and she could no longer remain silent because she is raising a Black daughter. 

CityLine, Hudson’s Bay, and ABC have also cut ties with Mulroney. CityLine said she will no longer appear as a guest expert on the show, Hudson’s Bay said she will no longer represent the company or Kleinfeld Canada as a fashion and bridal expert, and ABC announced she will no longer appear on Good Morning America as a fashion contributor,

View this post on Instagram

A message from Hudson's Bay.

A post shared by Hudson's Bay (@hudsonsbay) on

Mulroney is the wife of Canadian TV personality Bel Mulroney, son of former Prime Minister Ben Mulroney, and BFFs with Meghan Markle. 

Watch Sasha speak out about her “Amy Cooper Experience” on her IG below: 

View this post on Instagram

I’ve been silent. Not anymore!⁣ ⁣ I’m used to being so transparent on this platform. I think it’s the main reason why most of you follow me. Today, I’m opening up about something that has been haunting me for the last week. I have felt like a complete fraud fighting for racial equality and using my voice openly here, while letting a white woman silence mine behind closed doors. In sharing this very personal story, I know that I am risking a lot. Opening myself up to criticism, bullying and potential ramifications with my job in this space. However, I must speak my truth. Enough is enough. Hopefully my voice will be heard by many and help change things for the next generation and for my daughter Maxwell… because I will be dammed if my child ever has to deal with this level of ignorance.

A post shared by SoSasha (@sashaexeter) on

A former Aritzia employee is calling out the Canadian retailer for anti-Black racism. Karissa Lewis says she was treated differently from other managers at Aritzia’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre location because she is a Black woman.

Even though she was an associate manager, Karissa was made to spend the bulk of her time working cashier shifts compared to a new white employee with a lower position, who was given management shifts.

She also recalled a time when the company VP visited the store and would only engage with the white members of the management team.

Another former Black employee who worked for Aritzia at two Toronto locations also spoke out against the company.

Of course, Aritzia is doing damage control given the current climate; their COO Jennifer Wong says they’ve “launched a full investigation” and are committed to “immediate action” to improving diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Source

CBC News host Wendy Mesley has been suspended for using a “word that should never be used” during an editorial discussion about Black Lives Matter and media coverage of racism.

Mesley took to Twitter to explain herself, claiming she “quoted” another journalist she was planning to interview on a panel, but did not identify the word in question.

She said it “was not aimed at anyone” and “was wrong to say it.” She added that she is “deeply ashamed” and “immediately apologized to her co-workers.”

Responding to questions about the word she used, CBC’s Head of Public Affairs Chuck Thompson declined to go into detail.

Mesley, who hosts the Sunday program The Weekly, is now off the air pending the outcome of an investigation by CBC.

 

Source

Toronto has officially declared anti-Black racism a public health crisis in the city. 

The move comes a week after a coalition of Black health leaders, backed by NDP leader Andrea Horwarth, called on the Ford government to formally recognize anti-Black racism as a public health crisis. 

The motion, introduced by Joe Cressy, was unanimously approved by the Toronto Board of Health on Monday, June 8.

It also asked for Board of Health members to affirm its commitment to support policies and programs that address inequities faced by Black communities; a request for the Medical Officer of Health to re-prioritize resources to address anti-Black racism in health inequity; and a request for the Civic Appointments Committee to promote diversity when filling positions on city boards and committees, including the Board of Health.

Cressy said he hoped the recent protests would provoke a change in policies that contribute to systemic racism and not just changes to behaviour.

Source

An Ottawa police officer has been charged in connection with one of two racist memes that were being circulated within the Ottawa Police Service.

Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly announced that the officer was charged under the Police Services Act in relation to the creation and distribution of the image, which pictured 13 racialized members of the service and the phrase: “Ottawa Police Service – We’re always hiring…anyone.”

He did not confirm if it was the same officer who was suspended earlier this month as part of an investigation into the meme.

Chief Sloly also revealed an administrative investigation is underway into the source of the leaks, saying it “further victimized the people depicted in the meme along with their families and it victimized other OPS members and their families.” He stated, “It further damaged the OPS reputation and it further undermined the trust and confidence that the public has in the OPS.”

As a result, he said they’d be overhauling their policies and their IT practices to prevent this from happening again.

Addressing the killing of George Floyd and ensuing protests, Sloly acknowledged that it is “impacting members of our local Black community,” including himself. 

The OPS chief says the entire organization “failed” and is going through “remediation.” 

Read the full statement HERE.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has reportedly terminated the sister of Shania Lavallee, an Ottawa woman who allegedly posted a Snapchat video online that seemed to be mocking George Floyd’s death.

Her sister, Justine Lavallee, had indicated on her social media profile that she was a Program Officer at the CBSA.

In a screenshot of the now-deleted video recorded by Shania, Justine is seen pinned to the ground with her boyfriend kneeling on top of her, while he holds her hands behind her back.

Shania told VICE they were just “play-fighting as they regularly do” and “in no way were making fun of or minimizing the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd.”

After concluding their investigation, CBSA President John Ossowski issued the following statement:

“The CBSA became aware of a social media post and immediately investigated the situation.

“As an organization that represents all Canadians and is very diverse, we hold our employees to a high level of professionalism and integrity.

“The person in question was a casual employee at the Agency who worked in a non frontline capacity.

“The individual no longer works at the CBSA.”

The video is one of many like it circulating online as the protests against George Floyd’s killing continue to spread worldwide.

Source

Meanwhile in Canada, an Ottawa woman identified as Shania Lavallee reportedly circulated a Snapchat video online that appeared to mock George Floyd’s death.

Shania reportedy shared the video of her sister Justine Lavallee, who is a Program Officer at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), and Justine’s boyfriend, Gilmour Maurice Driscoll, who seemed to be re-enacting his final moments.

Shania has since issued an apology, saying they were “play fighting” and she sees how it could be “taken out of context.”

Her employer, Boston Pizza Orleans, which is minority-owned, said she was “terminated immediately.”

Update: Earlier reports indicated that Shania Lavalle worked for the Ottawa Catholic School Board but OCSB said she is NOT one of their employees. 

Correction: An earlier version of this post mistated that Shania Lavellee was a Ottawa U student. She recently graduated from the University of Ottawa.

Follow @Solitisak on Instagram for more info on what happened

Police chief Mark Saunders is calling for calm amid allegations of foul play in the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, who fell to her death from a 24th-floor apartment balcony during an interaction with Toronto police.

He revealed that dispatch received three individual 911 calls regarding an assault at 100 High Park on Wednesday evening, two of which indicated that there was a knife present. The call sounded “rather frantic” and police presence was needed, he said. He also said he’s “very comfortable” with the number of officers that were at the scene.

He told reporters “there’s a whole lot I want to say” and wishes he could say more about what occurred, but can’t due to the SIU’s ongoing investigation. “It’s a lot of misinformation, it’s a lot of lies,” Saunders said.

The chief added, “I support my men and women based on the limited information that I have right now.” He said he’s “anxious” for the investigation to be completed and hopes the public gets to hear the “absolute truth.” He also called for the use of body cameras, saying this is a “textbook case” of why they should be provided.

He said people are “feeding into” the “outrageous lies” being spread on social media and is urging the public to “wait for the facts to come out.”

It still remains unclear as to exactly what happened in the moment’s leading up to Regis’ death.

Watch the news conference HERE.

 

May 28, 2020

STATEMENT ON THE DEATH OF REGIS FROM THE KORCHINSKI-PAQUET FAMILY

On Wednesday May 27, 2020 at approximately 5:00 pm a 911 call was made by a concerned mother, Claudette Beals-Clayton, for the safety and well-being of her child Regis Korchinski-Paquet.

Regis was in distress over a family conflict and her mother sought police assistance to bring calm to the situation.

Once police arrived at the residence they met her mother Claudette, Regis and Reece Korchinski-Beals, her brother in the hallway of 100 High Park in Toronto.

Claudette pleaded with police to provide assistance to her daughter and take her to CAMH to provide mental health support, as Claudette did not want the problem to escalate where it became unsafe.

Words were exchanged between Regis and the police officers, and Regis stated she had to use the bathroom and went into her apartment.

Her brother who was present, witnessed multiple police officers enter the unit after Regis went in.

When her brother attempted to go in after his sister he was stopped by police from entering the unit.

After approximately 1-2 minutes her mother and brother heard commotion in the apartment and then heard Regis cry out “Mom help, Mom help, Mom help.”

After that Mother and Brother heard silence.

Eventually an officer came out of the unit, knocked on the neighbour’s door, and stated to the family that she is over at the neighbour’s house or in the unit below.

After a few moments the mother then asked the officers if she is on the ground.

An officer went into the unit, then came back out and told her mother yes she is on the ground.

The family is distraught over the senseless loss of life and wants Justice for Regis.

The family wants answers to what happened. How can a call for assistance turn into a loss of life?

The family wants to ensure camera footage from hallway is secured by the SIU.

The family is extremely concerned that in recent times people with mental health issues across North America are ending up dead after interactions with the police.

D’Andre Campbell called for assistance on April 6, 2020 in Peel region and ended up being shot dead.

There has been a large outpouring of support online in the community, which is a testament to Regis’ effect on people.

She was proud of her Ukrainian and Nova-Scotian heritage, she was a talented gymnast, and used her skills to teach children and give back. She volunteered selfishly at her church and was a well known pillar of the congregation.

She is loved and will be missed by her Father Peter Korchinski, Mother Claudette Clayton-Beals, sisters Shyna, Shantiga, Renee, brother Reece, and her 12 nieces and nephews.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to assist the family.

All inquiries can be directed to info@maatlegal.ca