Black History Month

“We must open the doors and we must see to it they remain open, so that others can pass through.” – Rosemary Brown During the month of February we as a community come together to recognize the important and lasting contributions of people of African and Caribbean descent in Canada. It is also time for […]

Implementing Change in Carding Procedures

Over the last few months I have spoken out incessantly against the carding / street check practices that have been taking place across Ontario, as well as throughout Canada. I am extremely happy to hear that the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services has proposed two regulations, one new and one amended, to […]

How ‘Serve and Protect’ Can Often Become ‘Fear and Distrust’ for Black Men and Women in Toronto

On March 3rd 2014 the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights held a meeting on the topic of visible minority youth and the criminal justice system. Since that meeting, young people from across the country have contacted us to share their experiences living as a visible minorities, and I want to share one of their […]

The Importance of Minority Women Role-Models for Young Women and Girls

When we look at young visible minorities in the criminal justice system, it is easy for the conversation to focus primarily on young males. This is not without reason: According to the Statistics Canada: “In 2008/2009, as in previous years, less than one quarter of completed court cases involved a female accused. Approximately 18% of […]

Are Visible Minority Youth Getting Adequate Access to Legal Aid?

One of the basic tenants of the Canadian justice system is the right to be represented by a lawyer. If an individual cannot afford a lawyer it falls upon the government to provide that service for its citizens. When an at risk visible minority youth comes into contact with the law they often cannot afford […]

Understanding Systemic Discrimination in Our Criminal Justice System – Part 2

The Government’s Response   Most Canadians regard the police as trusted personnel whose job it is to protect you. When my children were growing up I often told them that if they ever got lost they should go and find a police officer to help them. Unfortunately, many visible minority youth do not have such […]

Understanding Systemic Discrimination in Our Criminal Justice System – Part 1

Visible Minority Youth Need Our Support   On March 3, 2014 the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights met to discuss the issue of visible minority youth and the criminal justice system. As you may be aware, visible minority youth constitute a disproportionate amount of individuals involved in our criminal justice system. Emma Rhodes from […]

The Quebec Secular Charter is Already Affecting Minorities

Since the Quebec secular Charter was proposed there has been an increase in hateful acts taking place across Quebec. One particular incident that was reported in the news stood out to me. It was the story of two daycare workers from Verdun who wore niqabs, a veil which reveals only one’s eyes. These two daycare […]

International Day of Non-Violence

Today, October 2, I honour International Day of Non-Violence. Today is not only a day to think about ways we can bring about change within our societies peacefully, but it is also a day to honour Mahatma Gandhi, and the example he gave us of how a person can use non-violent resistance to change the […]