Black Montrealers create list of anti-racism resources in the city
MONTREAL -- To encourage engagement in the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement beyond performative activism, Montrealers have created a list of anti-racism resources in the city for people to consult, learn from, and donate to.
Waves of support for the BLM movement have rippled through North America and beyond following the murder of George Floyd – a Black man whose neck was pinned under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer for nearly 10 minutes until he died.
But support by white people, however well-intended, often falls short on delivering actual results. On Tuesday, Instagram was littered with black squares for #Blackouttuesday – an attempt to put a pause on everything to draw attention to systemic racism and police brutality around the world. Many criticized the movement, saying it did nothing to help the cause at best, and massively drowned out vital content at worst.
“The list came out of not wanting to do ‘performative activism’ and just post a cute statement,” said Montrealer Camille Georges, who created it alongside Perrye-Delphine Seraphin and others, based a more general list by Daniele-Jocelyne Outu and her colleagues.
Lists that have popped up in cities around the world are an opportunity for white people to inform themselves on ways they can do their part without putting the burden on their Black friends and colleagues to tell them how to.
“A lot of us were doing too much emotional labour to our peers to explain how they can help,” Georges said.
The document lists organizations people can donate to as well as literature, podcasts, and shows/films to consume.
“We wanted to create something focusing on Montreal and Quebec, therefore we adapted this list to reflect that,” Georges said.
While Premier François Legault claims systemic racism isn’t a problem in Quebec, there is proof it does in Montreal – where police have been found, through a report, to be just over four times more likely to stop an Indigenous or Black person for a “street check” than a white person. The force was also the target of a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of non-white Montrealers who said they were unjustly stopped by Montreal police. On Friday, the SPVM announced that it will be putting out an anti-discrimination policy in July.
“People are usually inactive when they aren't related to the cause,” Seraphin said. “They don't know how to act in their own city and by attempting at making this list Montreal-centric, people might understand more where to turn their attention and why Black Lives Matter is a movement that matters also in Montreal.”
“I really hope people will make this list part of their lifestyle and not just in reaction to the recent murder,” Georges said. “This should be in school curriculums.”