An Open Letter from Artists in Support of Black Lives Matter Toronto

March 25, 2016

Dear:

Premiere Kathleen Wynne

Mayor John Tory

Yasir Naqvi, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services

Chief of Police, Mark Saunders

We are artists and cultural producers, working and living in Toronto who are deeply concerned about race relations in our city.

On March 21, 2016, the Province announced that it had passed its proposed carding regulations effective January 1st 2017. These new regulations fall short of eliminating carding and they do not incorporate the bulk of concerns raised by Black communities that include: the elimination of racial profiling, the deletion of previously collected carding data, and more.

That same evening, dozens of police officers surrounded and ambushed peaceful protesters who were participating in a Black Lives Matter action in front of police headquarters.

Without adequate warning to allow people to disperse, the police formed a line in front of protesters and pushed through. The protesters, comprised of a diverse group including young people, women, people with disabilities, children and elders were punched, shoved, slammed to the ground and physically assaulted in other ways.

Activists continue to camp outside of Toronto Police Services Headquarters and call for our support.  We are answering their call and urge you to show leadership in this time of crisis.

Together with Black Lives Matter-Toronto we demand the following:

  • 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. Through our laws police wield great powers, we must ensure they are also subject to these same laws.

The relationship we have with police is a reflection of the health of our democracy.

Police have unique powers, including the permission to use force when necessary.  These powers demand great scrutiny and oversight from the public to ensure we are all treated with equity, respect and dignity. Civilian accountability and oversight of policing is crucial to an open, democratic society.  The demands of Black Lives Matter-Toronto are paths to ensure civil liberties for all of our communities are protected and respected.

Black communities have actively continued to resist targeted policing and anti-black racism for decades, and we are here to support them in the current fight. Black Lives Matter Toronto are people, mostly young people, who have not given up on our city, but choose to engage because they believe in the values of decency, democracy and justice. We demand leadership in a moment that is proving to turn into a movement for building social justice, grounded in integrity, love, compassion and true equality, for all in our beautiful and vital city.

Signed,

d’bi.young anitafrika, Artistic Director, The Watah Theatre

Syrus Marcus Ware

Min Sook Lee

Dionne Brand

Lillian Allen

Jane Doe

Andrea Fatona

Elisha Lim

Camille Turner

Deanna Bowen

Amanda Parris

Romeo Candido

Eshan Rafi

Tara-Michelle Ziniuk

Olive-or-Oliver

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Joshua Vettivelu, Whippersnapper Gallery

Jessica Karuhanga, Whippersnapper Gallery

Michele Pearson Clarke

Punam Khosla

Radiodress

Ian de Souza

Tristan R Whiston

Shaunga Tagores

Wanda Nanibush

Judy Rebick

John Greyson

Sheila Heti

Quentin VerCetty

Leslie Kinton

Pablo Munoz

Karina Iskandarsjah

Richard Fung

b.h. Yael

Naomi Klein

Avi Lewis

Dalton Higgins

Naomi Campbell, Luminato Festival

Darren O’Donnell, Artistic Director, Mammalian Diving Reflex

Ayo Leilani + Sun Sun, 88 Days Of Fortune

Philip Akin, Obsidian Theatre Company

Ryan Cunningham, Native Earth Performing Arts

Franco Boni, Artistic Director, The Theatre Centre

Evalyn Parry, Artistic Director, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

Nina Lee Aquino, Artistic Director, Factory Theatre

Nigel Shawn Williams: Associate Artistic Director, Factory Theatre

Nicole Bazuin

Margeaux Williams

Deborah Barndt, Professor Emeritus, York University

Honor Ford Smith, Writer, Director, Professor York University

rosina kazi / nicholas murray – LAL

Carole Condé + Karl Beveridge

Umar Corion

Mike Hoolboom

Tania Willard

Susan Crean

Gein Wong

Martha Chaves

Farzana Doctor

Clifton Joseph

Sheila Heti

Itah Sadu

Bear Bergman

Adam Garnet Jones

Faith Nolan

Eliza Chandler

Amy Lam & Jon MCCurley

Hazel Meyer

Natalie Wood

Jesse Wente

Sandra Brewster

Mary Tremonte

Melannie G Campbell

Heidi McKenzie

Alexis Mitchell

Anna Jane McIntyre

Lisa Myers

Pamila Matharu

Jérôme Havre

Brenda Joy Lem

Stephen Andrews

Nahed Mansour

Andrew Zealley

Sturla Gunnarsson

Alana Wilcox, Editorial Director, Coach House Books

Susan Swan

Kathleen Smith

Jason McBride

Jessica Dargo Caplan

Andil Gosine, Associate Professor, Sociology, York University

Kerri Sakamoto

Kathy Wazana

Dennis Day

Lisa Steele, video artist, curator, co-founder of Vtape

Kim Tomzack, multidisciplinary artist, co-founder of Vtape

Rae Johnson

Donna Kerbel

Jess Dobkin

Alex Tigchelaar

Anne Collins

Rémy Huberdeau

Alvis Choi, Independent artist & Chairperson of the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter (CCNCTO)

Sarah Polley

Jennifer Holness

Sudz Sutherland

Ali Kazimi

Chris Lee

Maiko Tanaka

Chandra Siddan

Lisa Valencia-Svensson

Mariam Zaidi

Dana Prieto

Michael Barker

Ravi Jain

Deborah Waddington

Judy Virago

Elle Flanders

Tamira Sawatzky

Director RT

Shary Boyle

Michelle Mohabeer

Afua Cooper

Sharon Lewis

SATE

John Borra

Luis Jacobs

Keith Lock

Marjorie Chan, Artistic Director, Cahoots Theatre

Tawlst

Elizabeth Sweeney

Zanette Singh

Eugenio Salas

Aruna Boodram

Rupi Kaur

Jonathan Culp

Kara Sievewright

Kara Springer

Zun Lee

Darren Anthony

Christina Zeidler

Shomari Downer

Simone E. Schmidt

William Andrew Finlay Stewart

Mary Carl Guiao

Iris Karuena

Vera Frenkel

Jia Qing Wilson-Yang

Andrew Hunter, Curator, Canadian Art, AGO

Neeks Powell

Akua Delfish

Maria Belen-Ordonez

Sheila Sampath

Sagan MacIssac

Clementine Morrigan

Naldine Valcin

Raven Davis

Jamaias DaCosta

Kami Chisholm

Grayson Richards

Sarah Schulman

Leah Simone Bowen

Stephanie Pete

Sashoya Simpson

Erika Hennebury

Rita Kamacho Lomeli

Suzanne Carte

Michael Maranda

Shira Spector

Dinah Thorpe

Aliya Pabani, SAVAC – South Asian Visual Arts Centre

Tina Zafreen Alam

Nadijah Robinson

Daniel Ellis

Natalie Wood

Wy Joung Kou

MOTIoN

Elaine Stewart

Carrie Perrault

Gina Badger

Alison Cooley

Robin McDonald

Sedina Fiati

Shellie Zhang

Su-Ying Lee

Annanda DeSilva

Ted Witzel

Myung-Sun Kim

Nathalie Younglai

Audrey Dwyer

Rebecca Applebaum

Dainty Smith

Devjani Raha

Tricia Hagoriles

Steve Baker

Amita Zamaan

Keith Clarke

Jessica Nicholson

Francisco-Fernando Granados

Sunny Drake

David Bobier

Brescia Nember Reid

Gloria Swain

Jalani Morgan

Jenn Snider, Managing Director, Toronto Animated Image Society

Zena Lord

Brenda Korvig

Alison Duke

Ingrid Jones

Katia Café-Fébrissy aka “KaFé”

Navneet Kaur

Cara Eastcott, Tangled Art + Disability

Tanya Matanda

Guillermina Buzio

H. Jordyn Taylor

Jamie Quail

Najla Nubyanluv

Natasha Greenblatt

Ellie Anglin

Tanisha Taitt

David Demchuk

Coral Maloney

Danica Drago

Laurie Kang

Louis Taylor

Julia Horel

Laine Zisman Newman

Jude Johnston

Andres Musta

Sakinah Hasib

Amita Zamaan

Coral Maloney

David Demchuk

Aries Cheung

Donna Dykeman

Kôsa

Joe Bowden

Tania Anderson

Victoria Wells-Smith

Sharlene Bamboat

Kevin Barrett

Sarindar Dhaliwal

Nila Gupta

Robin Pacific

Amy Wong

Vanessa Dion Fletcher

Jennifer L. Davis

Jean-Paul Kelly

Phil Strong

Rebecca Campbell

Jill Glessing

Safiya Ricketts

Susan Schellenberg

Jo Lalonde, The ChalkChick

Dorothy Goldin Rosenberg MES, PhD

Raechele Lovell, Company Director for The Children and Youth Dance Theatre of Toronto

Nile Seguin

Nik Redman

Caitlin Black

Susanna Fournier

Nancy Nicol

Gillian Goerz

Amy Gottlieb

Brighid Fry

Matthew Sloly

Stephanie Markowitz

Rusa Jeremic

Larissa Diakiw

Gisèle Gordon

Keiron Lyn

Alyssa Bistonath

Irene Marques, Lecturer (U of T), African Studies Program, Poet and Writer

Vittoria Lion

Darwin Lyons

Scott Emerson Moyle, Artistic Director, Dauntless City Theatre

Rusa Jeremic

Tova Kardonne

Nadia Moss

Chase Lo, Interdisciplinary Performing Artist & Executive Director of the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter (CCNCTO)

Amrit Brar

Ryan Hayes, Radical Design School

Steven J. Smith

Kyo Maclear

Heather Keung

Krystle Tabujara

Kristan Horton

Troy Jackson

Abdi Osman

Claire Burns

Fiona Smyth

Scott Miller Berry

Liza Kim Jackson

Sheryl A. Keen

Colin Anthony

Myfanwy Ashmore

Thom Sevalrud

Chrissy Binetti

Felix Kalmenson

Gabrielle Moser

Jeremy Smith

Amber Landgraff

Cathy Daley

David Arnold

Jacob Zimmer

Natasha Mytnowych

Jeff Bierk

Lisa Smolkin

Kika Thorne

Kilby Smith-McGregor

Dushan Milic

Grace Lynn Kung

Martin Julien

David Yee, Artistic Director, fu-GEN Theatre Company

Denise Ryner

Ayesha Mansur

Evan Webber

Akash Bansal

Camila Diaz-Varela

Yuula Benivolski

Nicole St. Martin

Matt Jones

Heather Hermant

Selina Martin

Jes Sachse

Leena Raudvee

Emma Lou Beckett

Yolanda Bonnell

Michelle St. John

David Dacks

Vivek Shraya

Barbara Fischer, Executive Director/Chief Curator, Art Museum, University of Toronto

Sarah Evis

Ritchie Acheampong

Kim Katrin Milan

Adrienne Reynolds

Janine Carrington

Amy Wong

Stacey Mullen

Faye Mullen

Djanet Sears

Althea & Jo, Kwentong Bayan Collective

Richard Rose, Artistic Director, Tarragon Theatre

Jenna Winter

Margaux Williamson

Shannon Cochrane, Director, FADO Performance Art Centre

Andrew Gaboury

Reena Katz

Allyson Mitchell, Deirdre Logue and FAG Feminist Art Gallery

Sheila Cavanagh

Shari Caldwell

Srinivas Krishna

Farrah-Marie Miranda

Basil AlZeri

Carly Maga, Theatre Critic for the Toronto Star

Ibrahim Abusitta

Kevin Hegge

Jon Davies

Loree Lawrence, Ontario Arts Council – Multi and Inter-Arts, Community-Engaged Arts Officer

Adrienne Reynolds

Bonnie Anderson

Rebecca Burton; Co-Organizer, Equity in Theatre (EIT)

James Kendal

Brianna Love, owner/director, Fraser Studios

Natalia Saavedra, Radical Design School

Charmaine Lurch

Laura Simon

Shoshona J MacKay

Jenna Harris

Kelly Thornton, Artistic Director, Nightwood Theatre

Marta Chudolinska

Jinthana Haritaworn

John Fidel Klarke Smith

Jesus Figueroa

Jonathan Seinen

Shira Leuchter, UnSpun Theatre
Anthony Cooper
Johnson Ngo
Kathryn Mockler

 

 

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Photographs by Omisoore Dryden & Nik Redman