We Canadians…

Feb 2, 2022

Black History Month:

Here are a number of Black History Month sites with educational material:



Canadian Museum for Human Rights:  One woman’s resistance – Viola Desmond’s Story  https://humanrights.ca/story/one-womans-resistance

Canada History:  Black History Educational Package   https://www.canadashistory.ca/education/kayak-in-the-classroom/black-history/black-history-educational-package

Harriet Tubman Institute – York University:  Black Health and Wellness  https://www.yorku.ca/tubmandev/event/black-history-month-2022/

The Conversation (Queen’s) – Thomas Klassen, York University
Canada’s ‘freedom convoy’ exposes political missteps — and Donald Trump’s ominous legacy

The messaging around the Trucker’s Convoy to Ottawa seems confusing at best.  Klassen looks at the event, those who publicly reacted (and those who did not), what the influences were and what Canadians may expect to discover in the political machinations of the near future, especially the leadership of the Conservative Party and the Liberal missteps.  Says Klassen:  “The legacy of the freedom rally will not be clear for some time. However, Canadians can be relieved that, unlike many protests south of the border — including the raid on the Capitol a year ago — widespread violence did not erupt at the rally, although police are investigating threatening behaviour toward officers, city workers and other individuals.”  https://theconversation.com/canadas-freedom-convoy-exposes-political-missteps-and-donald-trumps-ominous-legacy-175898?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20Feb%201%202022&utm_content=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20Feb%201%202022+CID_d6219df152151f73abbfed8345c24cf7&utm_source=campaign_monitor_ca&utm_term=Canadas%20freedom%20convoy%20exposes%20political%20missteps%20%20and%20Donald%20Trumps%20ominous%20legacy Related article: Toronto Star – Robert Hiltz   In Ottawa, we’ve seen the ‘Freedom Convoy’ up close. After the abuse, disruption and silly demands, we want them gone – Authorities have been indulgent toward the truckers, but even locals who’ve tried to be sympathetic are recoiling from the encounter   https://www.thestar.com/opinion/2022/01/31/in-ottawa-weve-seen-the-freedom-convoy-up-close-after-the-abuse-disruption-and-silly-demands-we-want-them-gone.html?source=newsletter&utm_content=a03&utm_source=ts_nl&utm_medium=email&utm_email=404CAADEF7EB839FC77B1B04F0C251E1&utm_campaign=top_103260

Associated Press (US) – Russ Bynum
Judge rejects plea deal for man who killed Ahmaud Arbery

Ahmaud Arbery is the Black man chased down and shot-gunned to death by three White men in a pick-up truck in New Brunswick, Ga.  All three were convicted at the state level of murder and then, because Georgia had no hate laws at the time (three years ago), the Federal government brought hate crime charges.  The controversy here is the role of the victims in the sentence determination once a plea agreement has been reached between the prosecutor and the defence lawyers.  Since the vast majority of most criminal charges are resolved by plea agreements – usually a means to avoid an expensive trial and a means for an offender to avoid a more severe sentence, especially for federal charges, the judge’s rejection of the plea agreement on the basis of victim rejection invites a new consideration of the limits of the plea agreement.  Ahmaud’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, appears to consider the federal prison as softer and less punishing than the Georgia state prison:    “Please listen to me,” Cooper-Jones told the judge. “Granting these men their preferred choice of confinement would defeat me. It gives them one last chance to spit in my face.”  The length of the sentences may also be an issue as is the possibility for parole.  https://apnews.com/article/ahmaud-arbery-crime-race-and-ethnicity-hate-crimes-savannah-4843bf04cf74034b2f396a844599f899?utm_campaign=SocialFlow&utm_medium=AP&utm_source=Twitter&cn=ZmxleGlibGVfcmVjcw%3D%3D&refsrc=email

Clause 40 Foundation (NY) – Carolyn Iodice
Rikers Island and the Chronic Crisis of Jail Conditions – What the recent history of Rikers tells us about the choice to run inhumane jails.

An artistic representation of a cell for solitary confined in the youth section of Rikers, the famous NY prison whose closure and replacement has been on again, off-again, is the basis for conversation about solitary and violence as the first resort of correctional officers.  The story involves one Kalief Browder, arrested for allegedly stealing a back pack, held in Rikers for three years (2010-13), two of which were in Solitary.   “After Kalief had been in jail for three years awaiting a resolution to his case, including two years in solitary confinement, the government finally withdrew the charges against him. He was released, but he later attested to having suffered lasting harm from his time at Rikers, especially his time in solitary. Two years later, he hanged himself.” The point of the article:  “the poor conditions are affirmatively desirable, or they’re undesirable but other goals are more deserving of the government’s resources and attention.”  Iodice says the choice is commonplace.   https://clause40.org/blog/f/rikers-island-and-the-chronic-crisis-of-jail-conditions  (Readers may enjoy exploring the web site and the blogs of this group, mostly lawyers who pursue due process.)  (Another new site that may be helpful to advocates: The Compassionate Prison Project:  https://compassionprisonproject.org/ ) Related article: Washington Post (US) – Matt Zapotosky   Federal prisons placed on lockdown after two Texas inmates killed in gang fight   https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/02/01/prison-lockdown-beaumont-ms13/    Related article: The Marshall Project –Keri Blakinger and Maurice Chammah   They Went to Prison as Kids. Now They’re on Death Row. Fight clubs, solitary confinement and neglect make juveniles angrier and more violent.   https://www.themarshallproject.org/2022/02/01/they-went-to-prison-as-kids-now-they-re-on-death-row