Commemorate the Yonge Street Uprising on May 4


YSU Akua Benjamin

Come out and commemorate the 24th anniversary of the Yonge Street Uprising that took place on 4 May 1992. The event starts at 6:00PM on May 4.

We will be facilitating a discussion on the relevance of the Yonge Street Uprising to the present experience of police/state violence, social neglect and the general economic exploitation of racialized working-class communities in Toronto. 

We are going to examine the experience of that youth-led rebellion and the lessons that must be drawn from it by today's organizations and movements that are organizing or mobilizing oppressed peoples for liberation.


WHEN: Wednesday, May 4, 2016

TIME: 6:00 - 8:00PM

WHERE: Yorkgate Mall, 1 Yorkgate Blvd, Toronto
Seneca College in Yorkgate Mall (north west corner of Jane Street and Finch Avenue)
Room 218/219 (2nd floor of the mall)

Free public event 

Refreshments and childcare provided

Let's have a frank talk on neighbourhood uprisings in response to police violence, economic exploitation, racism and resistance in Toronto:

How are uprisings and resistance criminalized in neighbourhoods and the wider society by the state and its police?

What actions should we take to protect ourselves from police violence and economic exploitation?

What was the social climate that inspired the Afrikan youth-led Yonge Street Uprising and what were some of the achievements of this rebellion?

What lessons should we draw from the Yonge Street Uprising in our struggle for freedom, justice and a liberated society?

How would we situate the Yonge Street Uprisng in the debate about organizing for liberation and mobiling people for events or public spectacles?

SIU as watchdogs? More like a lapdog!

SIU report cover

On Friday the SIU released their report into the police murder of Andrew Loku early in the morning of July 5, 2015.

According to the Toronto Star, this was the first time the SIU has released an investigative report. The report itself is pretty much a waste of time. Of its 34 pages, all but 10 were removed from what was released to the public. Download the PDF here.

Instead of simply explaining the basics of what happened the night Andrew Loku was murdered, the document goes to great lengths to excuse the actions of the killer officer. At the end of the day, this long-awaited SIU report instructs us very clearly that police violence will continue unchecked in this country.

We do learn some details of what happened. According to the report:

1. Andrew Loku was killed within seconds of the police getting onto the scene. A split second a decision was made, a Black man is dead, and the public will never know the name of his executioner. We have no idea where and when this officer will show up again.

2. The fact that the fully armed and backed up officer was intimidated by a man 6 feet tall and around 200lbs tells us that the killer officer is either a woman, or a very small man.

3. That when the killer officer saw Andrew Loku moving towards her, she considered following her training and making space by backing up, but then chose instead to stand her ground and shoot.

4. Police officers on this case, as they have on numerous others, interfered with the SIU investigation by tampering with the video recordings from the cameras on site. Apparently the SIU wants yet another law telling police not to do this.

There is an old French saying that seems applicable whenever we deal with police, their disrespect for the Black community, and their utter comtempt for even the notion of accountability -- "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."
"The more things change, the more things stay the same."


The Usual Suspects: Police Stop and Search Practices in Canada


The usual suspects: police stop and search practices in Canada by Scot Wortley and Akwasi Owusu-Bempah

The usual suspects: police stop and search practices in Canada

"This paper explores police stop and search activities in Canada using data from a 2007 survey of Toronto residents. The paper begins by demonstrating that black respondents are more likely to view racial profiling as a major problem in Canada than whites or Asians. By contrast, white and Asian respondents are more likely to believe that profiling is a useful crime-fighting tool. Further analysis reveals that the black community’s concern with racial profiling may be justified. Indeed, black respondents are much more likely to report being stopped and searched by the police over the past two years than respondents from other racial backgrounds. Blacks are also much more likely to report vicarious experiences with racial profiling. Importantly, racial differences in police stop and search experiences remain statistically significant after controlling for other relevant factors. The theoretical implications of these findings and their meaning within Canada’s multicultural framework are discussed."