“I can’t breathe” were George Floyd’s last words.
Blacks have been suffocating under the chock hold of systemic racism for generations without respite.
We are in unprecedented times with the COVID-19 pandemic and heightened racial tensions in the United States.
As an umbrella organization for African national community organizations and people of African origin in the London-Middlesex area, the African Canadian Federation of London and Area (ACFOLA) affirms the following:
- Racism, in all its forms, is wrong and does not have a place in this modern society.
- Racism includes both concealed and open acts of discrimination against anybody as a result of the person’s race or ethnicity. Racism also includes the privilege enjoyed by a group of people as a result of their common race, to the disadvantage of others.
- The biggest problem is the cancerous set of notions and stereotypes that many ordinary citizens hold in their minds regarding people of other races or ethnic backgrounds. These notions inevitably manifest themselves through conscious and subconscious actions that have far reaching impacts on blacks and other ethnic minorities.
- Members of the ACFOLA community have experienced various forms of racism, in our educational institutions, in places of employment and the criminal justice system leading to a further deepening of inequalities that exist here in Canada.
- We stand in solidarity with all peaceful protestors in the United States and across the world in condemning the killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Argery and the countless number of individuals killed by law enforcement, which would not have happened if they were not black.
- We condemn the racist act perpetrated by Amy Cooper against Christian Cooper, and all forms of racial privilege. The existence of such racial privilege undermines the fundamental principles of equality and justice, guaranteed by the constitutions of the United States and Canada.
- We condemn all forms of violence from both protestors and law enforcement, and remind everyone that violence is not the best solution to a peaceful coexistence.
- The time is right for all public institutions including law enforcement and the criminal justice system to look themselves in the mirror, own up to any injustices they may have committed and make amends.
- The time is right for each and everyone of us to look within ourselves and erase any demeaning notions we have of people of other races or ethnicities, as a first step towards a peaceful, fair and just coexistence.
We cannot breathe.