Shree Paradkar, a columnist with the Toronto Star, commends Black Lives Matter (BLM) for spurring “essential conversations” and noted that it has become “a voice to reckon with, despite the racist backlash they faced.”
In an article entitled “Why 2016 was not a complete washout for anti-racism” Paradkar wrote the following (December 29, 2016):
“This was the year that Black Lives Matter found its voice in Toronto. The fledgling group arose to hold Toronto police accountable for taking black lives, exposing the disingenuousness of the argument that blacks are better off in Canada than in the U.S.
“Their controversial move of bringing Gay Pride to a halt and demanding a ban on police representation touched a raw nerve in the city leading to what turned out to be essential conversations. Were gay police gay first or police first? How to deal with racism within minority groups? The attendant publicity also made BLM a voice to reckon with, despite the racist backlash they faced.”
Earlier on December 6, 2016, Toronto city council gave the William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations to Black Lives Matter TO, the self proclaimed “coalition of Black Torontonians resisting anti-Black racism, state-sponsored violence, police brutality.”
According to the official website of the City of Toronto, the City’s Access, Equity and Human Rights (AEHR) Awards “recognize people who, or programs that, have made a difference in Toronto by eliminating discrimination and barriers to equality.”
The AEHR Awards are administered by Equity, Diversity and Human Rights in the City Manager’s Office. The nominations come from the Toronto residents, and the five recipients are selected by a panel of community individuals “with expertise and knowledge of issues pertinent to the awards.”
The following is the text of the decision explaining why Black Lives Matter – Toronto is eligible for the William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations:
“Black Lives Matter – Toronto (BLM – TO) is a diverse coalition of Black activists, students, workers, and parents who are committed to eradicating all forms of anti-Black racism, supporting Black healing and liberating Black communities.
“The Toronto chapter of the international movement works to bring a Canadian-specific narrative to the global fight against anti-Blackness and to (re)build the Black Liberation movement.
“BLM – TO is a platform for Black communities to actively dismantle all forms of anti-black racism, liberate blackness, support black healing, affirm Black existence, and create freedom to love and self-determine.
“Their mission is to forge critical connections and to work in solidarity with Black communities, Black-centric networks, solidarity movements, and allies in order to dismantle all forms of violence and brutality committed against Black peoples.
“In just two years, the coalition has shaken up politics in Toronto, forcing the issue of anti-Black racism as a priority for municipal, provincial, and federal policy makers, local and international media, and the public.
“Their two-week long occupation of Toronto Police Headquarters during winter, shut down of the Allen expressway, and sit-in at the Toronto Pride Parade are just a few examples of their commitment to direct people-led sustained action.
“BLM – TO is loud, strategic, and persistent.
“BLM – TO’s work extends to the affirmation of Black lives. They have organized a Black-victims focused Take Back the Night march, community healing spaces, and children’s programming. This includes their Freedom School initiative which is an arts-based summer program for Black children in the GTA. The program offers an alternative setting to teach children about Black Canadian and diasporic history and to engage them in political resistance to anti-Black racism through a trans-feminist lens.”
“BLM – TO uplifts the lives of Black queer and trans, disabled, Muslim, undocumented, incarcerated or formerly incarcerated, women, and lives along the identity and expression spectrum.
“BLM – TO includes those who have been marginalized within Black liberation movements.
“BLM – TO is working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. They put sweat equity and love for Black people into creating a political project – taking the hashtag off of social media and putting it into the streets.
“Black Lives Matter is not a moment, it’s a movement.”
Desmond Cole says Yusra Khogali was unjustly labelled “racist”, “violent person”
One of the recipients of the award is Yusra Khogali, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto. Desmond Cole, a Toronto-based journalist and a Toronto Star’s regular columnist, stood by Yusra Khogali, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Toronto chapter movement, who was in hot water earlier this year after tweeting on February 9, 2016 a prayer to Allah that read: “Plz. Allah Give Me Strength not to cuss/kill these men and White Folks out here today. Plz plz plz.”
In an op-ed on the Toronto Star “Don’t mistake responses to violence for violence itself” (April 7, 2016), Cole justified Khogali’s tweet explaining is was an expression of “wisdom in the face of violence, racism, and misogyny.” The following is an excerpt from Cole’s article:
“This ability to respond to state-sanctioned aggression with peaceful resistance is beautiful and rare.
“Yet a BLMTO [Black Lives Matter Toronto Ontario] organizer is being labelled a racist, violent person because she publicly prayed for the strength not to harm those who harm her.
“Yusra Khogali’s tweet asking, “Allah, give me the strength not to cuss/kill these men and white folks out here,” is the opposite of a call to violence — it is an honest appeal to restraint and wisdom in the face of violence, racism, and misogyny.”
Yusra Khogali’s statements on race relations
In recent years Khogali expressed her views on white people, and the “KKK” nature of the Canadian federal government. She accused the establishment and the Police of committing a deliberate “genocide” of blacks. The following are some excerpts from Khogali’s posting on Facebook:
October 17, 2015 – whiteness is not humxness. infact, white skin is sub-humxn. all phenotypes exist within the black family and white ppl are a genetic defect of blackness white ppl have a higher concentration of enzyme inhibitors that surpress melanin production. they are genetically deficient because;
melanin is present at the inception of life melanin is directly linked to fertility and the humxn reproductive system melanin is directly linked to strong bones melanin is directly linked to the strength of the nervous system melanin is directly linked to the strength of senses such as vision and hearing melanin is directly linked to the strength of neuro systems affecting capacities like intelligence, memory and creativity melanin enables black skin to capture light and hold it in its memory mode which reveals that blackness converts light into knowledge. melanin directly communicates with cosmic energy.
this is why the indegeniety of all humxnity comes from blackness. we are the first and strongest of all humxns and our genetics are the foundation of all humxnity. melanine is essential for the efficient performance of all the body natural functions.
THEREFORE white ppl are recessive genetic defects. this is factual. white ppl need white supremacy as a mechanism to protect their survival as a people because all they can do is produce themselves. black ppl simply through their dominant genes can literally wipe out the white race if we had the power to.
it is why white supremacy as an imperial system thrives. it tries to control, surpresses and destroy our existence in blackness because we are a threat to the genetic anhilation of white ppl.
do you ever wonder how black ppl after centuries of colonial violence, genocide and destruction – no matter wnai systems creates to make us extinct ..now we Keep
coming back? it is because we are superhumxns.
(Note: Yusra Khogali did not respond to CIJnews question whether she still stand by her post).
November 11, 2015 – “The kkkanadian government deliberately works to criminalize black ppl for the white supremacist conditions they have created to deplete our health in totality and corrode the quality of our lives with so many barriers against our survival to an impossible standard of living. It’s almost like dying while trying to breathe. And then… find a way to tell a narrative of victim blaming us while essentially killing us as OUR problem.”
April 30, 2015 – “CANADA HAS ONE OF THE LARGEST PRISON POPULATIONS IN THE WORLD! THE WAR ON DRUGS AND INVESTMENTS IN PRIVATE PRISON CORPORATIONS CREATES A DEMAND THAT TARGETS BLACK AND INDIGENOUS BODIES TO FILL THOSE PRISONS. It’s fucking simple. STOP CARDING. STOP TAVIS. STOP RACIST STATE SANCTIONED VIOLENCE… KKKANADA to AMERIKKKA the system is the same and viciously persists.”
December 8, 2014 – “Toronto let’s speak on our stories of anti black violence. Our struggles should never be silenced so KKKanada can maintain it’s innocence. The very premise of this state is inherent racism – and the state sanctioned violence that systematically targets black people for existing in their black skins is real. We are not here for one event revolutions the system persists so we should constantly and persistently resist.”
August 6, 2015 – “The police BROKE this womxn’s arm… on top of that without any notice and months after being brutalized by these pigs she finds out that she has two criminal charges laid against her.”
July 24, 2015 – “BLACK PEOPLE ARE LIVING IN A STATE OF EMERGENCY. I REPEAT: BLACK PEOPLE ARE LIVING. IN. A.STATE.OF.EMERGENCY. WE ARE LIVING A CONSTANT FEAR AND THREAT OF BEING PHYSICALLY EXTERMINATED FOR EXISTING IN BLACK SKIN. THIS IS GENOCIDE… THE TORONTO POLICE SERVICES IS ANTI-BLACK…. THE TORONTO POLICE ARE TERRORIZING BLACK FOLKS ON A DAILY… THE TORONTO POLICE SERVICES ARE A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION. THATS REAL… WE PAY THESE MUTHERFUCKERS.”
May 21, 2015 – “The state is waging a genocide on black womxn and girls. If they are not murdering us on the street, raping us, pushing us further into poverty and then criminalizing us, they are fetishizing us. Appropriating us, stealing from us, exploiting our labour our culture, our music, our bodies our lingo our swag our knowledge and intellect, our essence our BEING, viciously abusing us in totality in every means possible. Black womxn are NOT an add on in resisting racist violence by the state understanding their positionally is CENTRAL in dismantling it.”
December 22, 2015 – “Black womxn and girls not exceptional victims of anti-black state sanctioned violence and injustice in their murders …they are perpetual victims. the compounded violence that is everyday lived experience of violence that goes lethal too often by police. the vicious trauma and psychic violence experienced for existing in their bodies in the presence of police because of how often we die by their guns …. this is what it means to be living under seige – under white supremacist terrorism.”
June 17, 2014 – “Black patriarchy is validated as authentic in the paradigm and gaze of white supremacist patriarchy through the dehumanization and disrespect of black womyn and the sexual domination of white womyn.”
December 30, 2015 – “black babies will never be afforded the innocence of childhood… black youth are forced to grow up under white supremacist terrorism… they will be demonized, criminalized, lethally brutalized with the intensity of harsh anti-black violence like they are adults… how many black children have their murderers walk free. walk back into their homes… as killers… no one will weep. no one will see that black babies blood oil the cogwheels of this system.”
June 7, 2014 – “Derailing black feminine rage as irrational/primitive is an anti-black racist patriarchal construct… Constructive rage is a powerful tool in creating movements of resistance and social change that interrupts and resists reductionist ideas of intersectional racial inferiority.”
January 28, 2016 – “Black Lives Matter-Toronto Coalition is looking for a black graphic designer to design our Black Lives Matter Toronto website.”
March 31, 2016 – “If ur a black photographer and are available tonight from 7-10pm we need you at #blmtotentcity for something dope. Plz pm me for details n share this if u know someone!”
On August 24, 2016, Yusra Khogali and Alexandria Williams, co-founders of Black Lives Matter – Toronto, lead a protest in front of the offices of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) in Mississauga, Ontario, against systematic oppression of black people by the authorities.
Khogali and Williams emphasized the black people’s duty to fight back against the attack on their bodies in order to achieve the coveted “Black freedom” in Canada:
We have nothing to lose but our chain. It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our our duty to win. We must love and protect one another. We have nothing to lose but our chains
It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our our duty to win. We must love and protect one another. We have nothing to lose but our chains
Cause what? Cause what? Black lives matter her. Trans lives matter her. Muslim lives matter here. Somali lives matter here. Black Muslim lives matter here.
Black bodies under attack. What do we do? We fight back! Black bodies under attack. What do we do? We fight back! Black bodies under attack. What do we do?
We fight back! We fight back! We fight back! We fight back! We fight back! We fight back! We fight back! We fight back! We fight back! We fight back! We fight back! We fight back! We fight back! We fight back!
Background information on Black Lives Matter – Toronto:
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