From Black Action Defense to Black Lives Matter TO: decades apart but demands are the same

Black activists from 30 years ago and the present say not much has changed in Toronto

By Asha Tomlinson, CBC News Posted: Feb 06, 2016 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Feb 06, 2016 1:34 PM ET

Lawyer and activist Dudley Laws became the most visible face of the Black Action Defense Committee.

“Injustice Must End.”

Those were the words written on a sign held by a Torontonian during a protest back in the 1980s. It was a response to a growing list of young black men shot dead by police at that time.

Many activists in Toronto’s black community would say it’s not much different today.

There are still protests on Toronto streets, and demands for justice for young men like Andrew Loku and Kwasi Skene-Peters, who were killed in confrontations with Toronto police in the summer of 2015, and Jermaine Carby, who was shot dead by police in Peel region in autumn of 2014.

Those deaths prompted Sandy Hudson to open a Toronto chapter of Black Lives Matter.

“People were saying, ‘It’s so bad in the United States; thank God we don’t have that here,'” she said about many Torontonians’ reaction to a string of police shootings south of the border. But she believes the situation here is reason for alarm, as well.

“People just don’t know; it’s just not in their minds … This is telling me that something is missing in Toronto with respect to this conversation.”

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