Statement from Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada/Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance
December 3, 2014
Toronto, ON–Progressive Filipino Canadian youth condemn the Ferguson grand jury’s decision of Michael Brown’s case against Darren Wilson. Three months after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, the grand jury announced that police officer Darren Wilson will not face any criminal liability. We firmly condemn this injustice and stand in solidarity with the family, friends, and supporters of Michael Brown. The shooting and death of Michael Brown is not an isolated case and is another example of the increasing militarization of state police, criminalization of racialized people, and the upholding of white supremacy in North America.
While some may argue that we have come a long way from the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and Jim Crow Segregation policies, the case of Michael Brown and the US penal system shows us that systemic racism has evolved to specifically disenfranchise and murder black youth. Under the Obama administration, young Black men, Latinos and Indigenous peoples continue to die at the hands of police officers in disproportionately greater numbers compared to White youth. Incarceration rates are also higher with regards to Blacks and Latinos. Since the Reagan era, the U.S. has accumulated the largest prison population in the world. Despite these facts, supporters of Wilson, Zimmerman, et cetera, and those who deny that racism exists argue that if racialized people do not “behave as model minorities” they can justifiably be killed, jailed or sent back to their country of origin.
Here in North America, police force units are now fully equipped with riot gear including tear gas, shields, batons, tasers, as well as their guns. In Toronto, Sammy Yatim was shot eight times by two police officers, then tasered while he was unconscious. Similarly, Jeffrey Reodica, a Filipino Canadian youth, was shot in the back three times by a plain-clothes Toronto police officer. During many peaceful protests these past few years, police have beaten, arrested and detained civilians and have also used strategies such as “kettling” in order to provoke protesters into confrontation. These cases are only the tip of the iceberg of the lived experiences of youth and people of colour under racist and unjust criminal justice systems.
As fellow students, youth, and people of colour, we denounce this system of oppression that criminalizes Black, racialized and indigenous youth. We oppose the neoliberal agenda that favours the building of prisons and the militarization of the police force instead of making education more accessible to racialized working class youth and creating full-time and liveable wage jobs. We refuse to be disposable pawns under this economic system.
In solidarity with the supporters of Michael Brown and protesters against police brutality and racial discrimination against Black lives, members of Magkaisa Centre attended a peaceful protest last November 25. The members of Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada/Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance-ON, and our sister organizations SIKLAB-ON and the Philippine Women Centre of Ontario will continue to educate, mobilize, and organize youth and people of colour to strengthen the culture of resistance against all forms of discrimination. We call for the end of systemic racism, police brutality and continue to expose and oppose the neoliberal agenda.
Black Lives Matter!
Justice for Michael Brown!
Justice for Black Youth and Youth of Colour!