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Historic “Black Lives Matter” Rally

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African Canadian Social Development Council’s Historic “Black Lives Matter” Rally
By: Solomon Kabina Aremu
HISTORIC BLACK LIVES MATTER
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Never in the history of the Canada has so many groups and associations representing the African continent and Black people came together under a single umbrella for a cause as happened at the "Blacks Lives Matter" rally held at the forecourt of the City Hall in downtown Toronto in August this year.


The event, organized by the African Canadian Social Development Council (ACSDC) brought together over 82 associations and groups representing nations, ethnic groups, businesses, cultural organizations, youth groups and various other associations linked to the African motherland and the Caribbean nations to protest systemic racism in Canada, the USA and rest of the world.


Welcoming participants to the event, the president of ACSDC, Nene Kabu Asante said they decided to organize the rally to erase wrong impressions that Black people from the African continent don't care about systemic racism. "We care deeply about whatever impacts us. Both negatively and positively, and we act."


The President puts the blame on the three levels of government, the federal, provincial and local authorities for not doing enough to address the issue. "Why would the authorities spend billions of dollars on policing but very little on issues that directly impacts us. It is about misplaced priorities and we are demanding an end to it. Black lives matter".


Quoting Peter Tosh, "Don't care where you come from, as long as you are Black you are an African", Mr. Asante used the opportunity to reach out to all Blacks and people of African descent from all corners of the world especially the Caribbean that the ACSDC was an all-inclusive group and welcomed all to work together.

MPP York South-Weston, Faisal Hassan
Among dignitaries at the event was Member of Provincial Parliament for York South-Weston, Faisal Hassan. The Parliamentarian lauded ACSDC for organizing the rally amongst other great initiatives on issues at the core of Black reality here in Toronto and Canada as a whole. "Systemic racism is rooted in the structures of our governments", he charged. "It needs all levels of governments to work together. Among other things, we also need to reform the curriculum of schools to include experiences of Blacks from Africa and the Caribbean".

Eyitayo Dada, President of Canadian Association of Nigerian Lawyers, speaking at the event asked all Blacks to come out and support the cause. Revealing some sobering, statistics she said, "all we are asking for is to be treated equally. While Black people make up 8.8 percent of Toronto's population seven out of 10 cases of fatal police shootings involve Blacks. Black kids are eight percent of Toronto youth population but account for 40 percent of kids in care with the Children's Aid Society”.
Lane Tunji-Ajayi, CEO of Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario said in her emotionally laden speech that Blacks are disproportionately affected by sickle cell disease, mental health issues and other chronic health problems. We are ignored and do not get the right treatment at the right time and we are often stigmatized" Other notable speakers at the event were Shamso Elmi, Founder, Mending The Crack in The Sky; Fanta Ongoiba, Executive Director of Africans in Partnership Against AIDS; Rocco Acheampong, lawyer and civil rights activist; Dr Francois Yabit Executive Director of Northwood Neighbourhood Services; Ken Jeffers, Activist and former Toronto Police Services Board member; John Chukwu, Media personality and Vice President of the Nigerian Canadian Association and PhD student Osholene Oshobugie who represented Professor Sefa Dei of the York University.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Solomon Kobina Aremu
Solomon Kobina AremuSolomon Kobina Aremu was born and raised in Ghana, West Africa. After completing secondary school, he moved to Nigeria where he studied at the University of Ibadan, completing his BA-Philosophy in 1990.

Following his degree, Solomon worked for Sketch Press Ltd, a group of newspapers at the forefront in the fight to restore democracy in Nigeria after a military dictatorship annulled the June 12th 1993 presidential election. With Sketch Press offices shut and guarded by heavily armed soldiers, its newspapers went underground, publishing from secret locations until it was no longer sustainable.

Solomon returned to Ghana and continued working as a print journalist and in public relations, managing the P.R. account of Guinness Ghana Breweries Ltd., before relocating to Toronto, Ontario, where he now resides.

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