Today marks the seventh day of protests that were sparked by the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer when he kneeled on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes. Protests and riots have broken out across the United States, currently occurring in 140 cities and prompting the National Guard to be deployed in at least 21 States. But the U.S. isn't alone in their anger. Rallies and protests are also occurring across the world in places like England, Germany, New Zealand, and right here in Canada - just yesterday a Black Lives Matter rally happened in Calgary.
In Toronto, the protesters chants include "I Can't Breathe" in honour of Floyd (and Eric Garner from 2014) but they're also chanting "Justice for Regis." Regis Korchinski-Paquet is a Black woman who fell 24 floors to her death after police were called to her Toronto home. Her family says she was pushed by the police and have said that her last words were, “Mom, help.” The investigation into this case continues at the time of this writing.
As a public library, we are open and welcoming to everyone no matter their race, income, gender, social status, etc. As an organization, we condemn exclusion and segregation. We bring people together - all people. As human beings, we are saddened by the senseless deaths and the systemic racism that has led to them.
Arm yourself with the knowledge you need to understand the race relations in the United States and elsewhere. Read books that will fill you with anti-racist sentiment. And if you're white, pick up some writings that will help you to empathize with those who don't enjoy the same privileged skin colour that you do.
If you need some reading recommendations, check out our two anti-racist reading lists: