In honour of calls from Indigenous peoples to refocus attention away from Canada Day and towards colonialism and how we can overcome it, together, Not One More Death and RiVAL: The ReImagining Value Action Lab are pleased to invite people in Thunder Bay to a creative workshop about how to reimagine community safety beyond policing.
The workshop will take place on Zoom, though there is limited space for vaccinated individuals who would like to attend in person. If you would like to join, please complete this short form.
In the workshop we will learn about abolitionist perspectives, about the history of policing, and about ways that communities are demanding something different. We will then break into groups to brainstorm how we can build new institutions and ways of solving community problems and creating safety without police.Almost everyone is welcome (see below).
Police are a colonial institution that has its roots in slave-catching gangs, anti-union mercenaries and mounted troops sent to steal Indigenous land and protect violent settlers. The job of the police is not to defend human rights, dignity or community but to protect private property: a colonial ideology.
Today, police forces consume a massive amount of public resources that could better be spent on “upstream” services that address the root causes of criminalized activity: poverty, trauma, addiction, abuse and lack of services. And we have witnessed the regular police abuses against and harassment of Indigenous, Black and racialized people and the lack of justice in these cases.We agree with anti-racist organizers across Turtle Island and around the world: we must abolish policing.
But abolition means we have to build the alternatives to the police that we want to see and dedicate ourselves to that slow work. We need to come together for conversations that go beyond condemning the police and, instead, get us to imagine what a world beyond police and policing would look like. That is a decolonized world, where all people can be safe and have what they need to thrive and contribute to the community.
All people are welcome to join this workshop, however in order to make sure everyone is safe and can speak from their hearts we cannot allow active police officers (or members of organizations associated with the police such as the police board or police union) to join us, nor can we host members of city council or senior bureaucrats whose duties include close collaboration with the police. If this applies to you, we invite you to reach out to us one-on-one and we are happy to have an honest and generative private conversation.
Journalists who wish to attend should get in touch ahead of time.
In closing, we are unfortunately forced to make clear that our criticism of police and policing is not directed at individual police officers, some of whom sincerely mean well. Our criticism is of the police as a way in which society solves many of its problems. We think policing solves very few of the problems that it is asked to solve and we need different organizations and institutions that will deal with the upstream social problems that lead to crime. Abolition of policing is not something that can happen overnight: it is a process by which a society chooses to adopt alternatives.