Bring on the Sunshine celebrates Africans and their contributions in Waterloo Region, and has done so for over 10 years in many forums and formats across the tri-cities and townships. Our team is on the front lines in the community, be it the Black Lives Matter march or in the living rooms of African and Black families across the region.
The recent violent arrest of a Black man with mental health issues on the streets of Kitchener is extremely worrying and raises many questions. Witnesses say the man was restrained by 10 police officers (as seen in the video), and repeatedly punched by one of them with no intervention by his colleagues. If this man was white, would he have been treated this way? In the midst of strong verbal assurances by all levels of government that Black Lives Matter, how could this take place? How could the officer involved feel that he could act this way in public view? What was the purpose of the officer who stood with the youth that filmed the incident?
The systemic racism entrenched in the Justice system does not treat people equally. What is the role of police in our society? The incident does not show any effort to de-escalate by the police, and begs the question: what is the goal/purpose of hitting a man who is already on the ground? It does not respect the rights and freedoms of Citizens and creates fear and distrust of this system. Such incidents validate Black Canadians fears and the cycle continues into the next generation.
We are calling for an immediate suspension of the officer involved and a full and public external investigation into the situation. We call on the WRPS and the officers involved to take part in a restorative justice process that involves genuine conversation – and not platitudes – in order to effect the change you say you want to see. Genuine conversation involves listening and action. Listening alone is not enough.
The Bring on the Sunshine Board and Leadership Team.
Alice Penny, Director
Jacqui Terry-Carroll, Board Chair
Priscilla Muzira, Board member
James Kandoje , Board member
Thulani Mangoye, Board member
Tapiwa Ziyenge, Board member
James Kandoje, Board member