Thousands of people attended the Black Lives Matter march that was held in Kitchener on June 3. A representative of The African Caribbean Black Network Waterloo Region, Lang Ncube, explained how the KW community came together in solidarity by donating essential items such as water, snacks, masks, and EMT services, during the peaceful event.
Despite the support, there have been various racist incidents that have happened at KW following the march.
“Ironically enough, we’ve seen a resurgence of white supremacy,” Ncube said.
On July 7, ACB Network of Waterloo Region posted a tweet regarding the arrest of an unarmed Black man in Kitchener, referring to it as an incident of police brutality. The tweet also contained a link to the video of the arrest that was taken by a bystander from across the street.
The video captures a fraction of the 18-minute interaction in which some of the bystanders can be heard informing the police officers that the man getting arrested was mentally ill, and one of them can be heard saying, “stop beating him.”
Popping sounds were heard during the arrest, which led the police to believe that the man was armed and proceeded, treating it as a ‘high-risk arrest.’
There have also been a series of racist posters put up around KW this summer, one of which was brought to light by Sonya Richmond in a blog post titled, “…all it takes is for Good People to do nothing…,” who also took the responsibility of taking these posters down.
When asked about how many posters were up along the trail, Richmond said, “I would estimate two to three dozen, though perhaps more.”
Richmond thinks that they were newly posted since “The paper was clean, unwarped by dew or rain, and the tape was unpeeled.”
In Downtown Kitchener, a series of anti-semitic posters- that promote neo-nazism- were put up. A community member posted on Facebook warning people that some of the posters had razor blades behind them, risking injury for those taking them down.
Vandalism on Mandy Liang’s “For Sale” sign happened in front of a house in Waterloo, spray painting over the real estate agent’s name, which was written in traditional Chinese characters, as well as the name of her company.
“Investigators and analysts with our General Detectives and Hate Crime units are continuing to investigate these incidents,” André Johnson, a representative from the Waterloo Regional Police Service, said.
Several Ontario universities have also been in the spotlight after numerous racist videos of their students using racial slurs surfaced on the internet. The University of Guelph and Wilfrid Laurier University have put out statements on Twitter acknowledging this.
“Disciplinary action will be taken following appropriate policies and processes,” the University of Guelph said in their statement.
However, many expressed their disappointment, calling out the university to expel the students in these racist videos.
“So I think as we talk about this, it’s important to note the history that exists between Kitchener and white supremacy,” Ncube said. “A lot of white supremacy groups have their roots in Kitchener-Waterloo.”
In an interview, Ncube claimed that the ACB Network still has not been contacted by some regional representatives for the demands that went forth during the solidarity march.
“I think this is now the opportunity where they need to turn to the communities that are doing the work, the communities that are planning the marches, and ask them how to best assist,” Ncube said. “I’m hoping that our politicians will be inspired by the energy that the city has.”
The Waterloo Regional Police Service encourages people with information regarding these incidents to call the police at 519-570-9777 or leave an anonymous tip by contacting Crime Stoppers (1-800-222-8477) or submitting it at www.waterloocrimestoppers.com.