Support of essential workers and leadership from within marginalized communities far more effective than enhanced policing
TORONTO ON, April 19, 2021 – The BlackNorth Initiative asks all governments to strongly consider a more compassionate and collaborative approach to the management of the escalating COVID-19 pandemic. By working with marginalized community leaders and providing enhanced support to our essential front-line workers, governments can rebuild trust with racialized communities most impacted by the pandemic.
“As governments struggle with an escalating pandemic, policing and over-enforcement are not viable options. Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) have historically been negatively impacted by police interactions, over policing and racial profiling and enhanced policing will only undermine our work to contain the pandemic,” said Wes Hall, Founder & Chairman of The BlackNorth Initiative. “After a year where so much progress has been made to remove the barriers created by anti-Black systemic racism, this is a step backward.”
While the BlackNorth Initiative recognizes the Government of Ontario’s latest revision(s) to their new COVID-19 related restrictions concerning law enforcement power, we must always remember that any progress made between BIPOC communities and government authorities to-date is fragile. We should remain ever vigilant. We also acknowledge the response of various police organizations during this time regarding their new authorities and their leadership in exercising caution and restraint.
“To be truly effective within the management of the pandemic, trusted voices from within marginalized communities must be mobilized and supportive legislation enacted – legislation that recognizes the essential nature of work done by so many racialized individuals. Mandatory sick leave, days off to get vaccinated and better pay would provide Canadians with the ability to better comply with recommendations made by our health care authorities,” continued Mr. Hall.
Creating meaningful progress in our society can only happen when all parties operate in a space where there is trust. We continue to engage with community partners to make further progress and build that trust.
There is still much more work to do.