FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 30, 2016
Ontario Federation of Labour pledges support for Black Lives Matter Tent City
(TORONTO, ON) ─ The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) has joined the chorus of community groups and organizations from a broad and diverse cross-section of society that are calling for action on the demands brought forward to the Toronto Police Service by Black Lives Matter–Toronto.
“The OFL is proud of Black Lives Matter–Toronto for their commitment to peaceful civil disobedience in the service of social justice and human rights,” said OFL President Chris Buckley. “Their encampment has weathered extremes of ice and cold that have shut down other parts of the city, but their resolve hasn’t wavered. They are giving voice to the deep-seated frustrations of a community that cannot go unaddressed.”
Under the banner of Black Lives Matter-Toronto, a coalition of Black community members, students, artists, workers and many others launched a peaceful “Tent City” occupation outside the Toronto Police Headquarters on March 19 to demand:
- The immediate release of the names of the officers who shot Andrew Loku and Jermaine Carby;
- A review of the Special Investigations Unit, in consultation with families affected by police shootings, representatives of the Black community and other members of the community at large; and
- Reversal of all city-mandated changes imposed on AfroFest, including the restoration of the two-day festival.
While the City of Toronto formally restored AfroFest to its original program length, no action has yet been taken to address the first two demands.
“The OFL supports these courageous Black activists in their demand for answers about recent shootings of Black men, as well as their call for broader systemic change to prevent any future loss of life,” said OFL Executive Vice-President Ahmad Gaied. “Over the years, numerous studies and reports have recommended changes at every level of policing, from training to crisis response; from use of non-lethal technology to de-escalation techniques. It is past time for these recommendations to be implemented.”
The Ontario Federation of Labour commends the City of Toronto for reversing the limitations it imposed on AfroFest and is calling for action to be taken on the demands of Black Lives Matter–Toronto to bring justice and transparency throughout the justice system.
The OFL represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow @OFLabour on Facebook and Twitter.
For further information:
Joel Duff, OFL Communications Director: 416-707-0349 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org *ENG/FRENCH*