The Milkweed Artist Collective will soon have its own website, but until then, here is our first collective art piece, with a public statement against police brutality and the violence of policing.
All humans deserve respect, dignity, freedom and safety. All people have human rights, but police forces across Canada, and around the world, routinely violate their Human Rights, and attack, hurt and even kill the people they are supposed to protect and serve. Article 3 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights states that, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person.”
The violence that police forces do to poor and working class people, to disabled people, drug users, sex workers, queer people, migrants, black people, indigenous people and people of colour is not accidental. Regardless of the intentions and motivations of individual officers the extent of the violence and the number of deaths inflicted on oppressed people and communities clearly shows that this violence is systemic and systematic. It isn’t a case of a few bad apples: in every city, and many towns, villages and reserves, police officers violently injure and kill oppressed people.
The police do not make us safer, they make us less safe. What is needed for our collective safety and well-being is not more funding for police forces, and more money for prisons, but more alternatives to police and prisons: Welfare and Disability rates must be increased, social housing programs expanded, a $15 minimum wage legislated, more literacy programs, better schools, lower university tuition fees, drug use and sex work must be decriminalized, treatment for addiction made more accessible, more job training must be provided, the health care system must be better funded, including access to effective and culturally appropriate mental health care, reparations must be made for anti-immigrant, racist and anti-black government policies, and governments must respect treaties and agreements with Indigenous nations. And there is so much more that can and must be done.
Don’t cut school budgets, cut police budgets. Don’t cut health care budgets, cut police budgets.