While the murder of George Floyd and many others at the hands of American police has drawn global attention to problems with racialized policing in that country, Canada has its own long history of racialized policing. This panel contextualizes the current move to defund police in this history.
The panelists will discuss racialized policing in Canada in both historical and contemporary contexts, and then explore why so many people in Canada and around the globe are calling for the defunding of police.
Can we not just reform the police to tackle these problems?
What would defunding the police look like?
This webinar originally aired on November 10th at 7:00pm. Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x04AF3QAOkw
Host: The Canadian Sociological Association.
Session Organizer: Aaron Doyle, Carleton University
This session is co-sponsored by the Criminalization and Punishment Education Project
About the panelists:
Desmond Cole is a Canadian journalist, activist, author, and broadcaster who lives in Toronto. His first book The Skin We’re In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power, was published by Doubleday in January 2020 and is a national bestseller. The book focuses on 2017 and chronicles a year in the struggle against racism in Canada. Desmond was previously a columnist for The Toronto Star and has also written for The Walrus, NOW Magazine, Torontoist, The Tyee, Ethnic Aisle, and Buzzfeed. In his 2015 cover story for Toronto Life magazine, Desmond exposed the racist actions of the Toronto police force, detailing the dozens of times he had been stopped and interrogated under the controversial practice of carding. His activism has received national attention, specifically on the issues of carding, racial discrimination and dismantling systemic racism.
Robyn Maynard is the author of Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present (Fernwood 2017), and a finalist for the The Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers. The book, her first, is a CBC, Toronto Star, and Globe and Mail national bestseller in its fourth printing. It was designated as one of the “best 100 books of 2017” by the Hill Times, and is the winner of the 2017 Errol Morris Book Award. Robyn has published writing in The Washington Post, World Policy Journal, The Toronto Star, The Montreal Gazette, Canadian Woman Studies journal and Maisonneuve magazine. Her writing on policing, criminalization, gender and anti-Black racism is taught widely in universities across Canada and the United States. Robyn has been a part of grassroots movements against racial profiling, police violence, detention and deportation for over a decade.
El Jones is a spoken word poet, an educator, journalist, and a community activist living in African Nova Scotia. She was the fifth Poet Laureate of Halifax. In 2016, El was a recipient of the Burnley “Rocky” Jones human rights award for her community work and work in prison justice. She was recently appointed by Halifax’s board of police commissioners to propose a committee to define defunding police. El is a co-founder of the Black Power Hour, a live radio show with incarcerated people on CKDU that creates space for people inside to share their creative work and discuss contemporary social and political issues, and along with this work, she supports women in Nova Institution in writing and sharing their voices. El served as the 15th Nancy’s Chair of Women’s Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University for the 2017-2019 term.