As a social justice and harm reduction organization, ANKORS stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and all marginalized communities of colour. We must work to resist the many forms of systemic and structural violence present in our communities, including: police brutality, racism, white supremacy, and ongoing settler-colonialism. We stand in solidarity with this important struggle for humanity and justice and we commit as an organization, as well as in our personal lives, to actually take action to change the systems that perpetuate violence against members of our community.
In Canada, Black and Indigenous people are more likely to be victims of crime. In Toronto, where Black people are 4% of the population, they account for as many as 40% of murder victims. Meanwhile, despite statistics showing that Black people are not more likely to be involved in crime, young Black men are around twice as likely to be stopped and searched by police than white young men. These are obvious examples of injustice.
As a harm reduction organization we believe in the decriminalization of all drugs. The war on drugs targets Black and Indigenous people and other racialized minorities in huge disproportion. To us, the connection is quite clear. Decriminalizing drugs fights racism, stigma, and prejudice. Black people are overrepresented in Canada’s federal prisons by 300%, and Indigenous people by 500%. Many of these people are imprisoned for drug possession, or other ways we criminalize poverty in our society.
The first step is recognizing that racism is in our communities and in ourselves; racism does not only live south of the border or in large cities. As an organization that strives for inclusion we commit to taking action to reflect on how we can do better to do more than just be inclusive but to be actively anti-racist. We know that ending racism is tied in to many other battles: providing housing, food security, better public health, ending homophobia and transphobia, supporting restorative justice systems, and creating a school system that teaches our children the true history of Canada.
Read more at the John Howard Society blog, Black Lives Matter Vancouver, and Pacific AIDS Network‘s statement.