Content: police brutality, murder, racism, ableism
Autistics United Canada condemns the murders of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Eishia Husdon, Breonna Taylor, Jason Collins, D’Andre Campbell, Chantel Moore, and many more at the hands of the police. As communities in the USA, Canada, and around the world surge to protest police violence and brutality towards Black and Indigenous people, we add our voices as racialized and white autistic people.
Disability justice requires solidarity and collective liberation. Disabled, neurodivergent, Mad, Black, Indigenous, and otherwise racialized communities are disproportionately targeted by police violence in a system that is upheld by white supremacy and ableism. Canada has a long, brutal history of state violence against Black and Indigenous people: the RCMP were originally used to force Indigenous people off their ancestral lands, keep Indigenous children in residential schools, and enforce slavery of Black and Indigenous people. To uphold our fight against ableism, we must also combat the systemic racism and police state that harm countless people in our communities.
This is not just a case of a few bad apples. If one police officer wrongfully kills someone, and the rest of the police do not hold that officer accountable, then the whole justice system is broken. And it is.
It is important to note that 42% of people who were killed by Canadian police since 2000 were in mental distress. This is a problem when police are called on neurodivergent people, particularly neurodivergent BIPOC, in crisis. Disabled BIPOC deserve to live and receive support when we are in mental distress. Police are not mental health professionals. We need to end the practice of calling the police for people who need healthcare and support, simply because there are no non-police mobile crisis response teams. Defund the police and fund culturally competent, trauma-informed, BIPOC-led mental health support!
Defunding police is a start--but ultimately ending state violence requires abolition of police and carceral spaces. There are viable alternative solutions to police. As Black Lives Matter Toronto organizer Syrus Marcus Ware says, "We can build communities rooted in social justice that actually keep us safe. We can keep each other safe. We can create community crisis response teams, transformative justice circles, supportive housing for all who need it, a universal basic income, decriminalizing drugs..."
To do this, we must center the voices of people that are usually targeted by police, including BIPOC, LGBTQ+ people, disabled people, people experiencing homelessness and poverty, sex workers, and drug users. Black and Indigenous people are speaking up now--we stand by them in solidarity. To our Black and Indigenous community members: we care for you. Your lives matter.
We know that many people are looking for ways to actively support Black and Indigenous people in their struggle for liberation. We have included a list of resources below, including ways you can support from home. As disabled people, we recognize multiple ways of helping and caring for one another, whether it be checking in with Black and Indigenous friends and neighbours, providing child care, cooking meals, going to protests, providing jail support, fundraising, emailing, phone calling, challenging racist remarks from family and friends, teaching children about anti-racism, translating documents, or sharing resources and information online.
Regis Korchinski-Paquet. George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Eishia Husdon. Breonna Taylor. Jason Collins. D’Andre Campbell. Chantel Moore. And many more. We honour their names; we fight for a world where our Black and Indigenous community members can live freely without fear.
“In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist." - Angela Davis
#DisabledPeopleForBlackLives #DisabledPeopleForIndigenousLives #BlackLivesMatter #DefundThePolice #AbolitionNow
Learn, support, and take action! Check out our resource list here.