Activists rally against police surveillance in Toronto

Street signs at intersection of Dundas and Sherbourne streets. Image: Video still

On May 11, 2021, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) activists and allies gathered to resist the installation of police surveillance cameras at Dundas and Sherbourne Streets, downtown Toronto's poorest neighbourhood.

The event was organized in response to an announcement in April that Toronto Police Services plan to install surveillance cameras in the Dundas/Sherbourne area.

In a statement, the group explained their position on police surveillance:

"Police cameras are not about safety. They will result in further surveillance and increased harassment and violence against poor and homeless people and result in more arrests and criminalization of poor and marginalized people in their own communities."

[...]

"The installation of police cameras at Dundas/Sherbourne is a dangerous concession to wealthy property owners. It is one more tactic used in a continued war on the poor and a war on BIPOC communities."

Educator and activist Anna Jessup was MC at the event.

Speakers included:

Sulyka Abukar and Butterfly Gopaul -- Jane Finch Action Against Poverty (JFAAP) 

JFAAP is the longest-standing political grassroots action group in Toronto's Jane Finch community. JFAAP consists of community residents and members from different organizations in the area and across the city. On October 17, 2008, a rally commemorating the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty took place at the intersection of Jane and Finch. Jane Finch Action Against Poverty was formed following this rally, and this year will mark their 13th anniversary. 

Rajean Hoilette -- Toronto Prisoners Rights Project

Rajean Hoilette is a prison abolitionist and community organizer. Rajean is a member of the Toronto Prisoners Rights Project, a prisoner justice organization that uses public education, mutual aid and direct action to further abolition. He is an active contributor to the Abolition Coalition, a national network of abolitionist organizations that recently launched the Choosing Real Safety campaign.

Dr. Safia Gahayr -- Educator and Activist

Dr. Safia Gahayr currently works at University of Toronto. Safia studied at University of Toronto Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in the department of Social Justice Education. She is a storyteller and a poet whose background is rooted in strong oral traditions. She is also committed to worker-to-worker solidarity struggles across borders. Her areas of interest are de-colonizing pedagogies, critical race theory, anti-colonial movements/thought, Indigenous knowledge and critical Black feminist theories.

OCAP anti-police surveillance action

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