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Scholar Strike Canada: OISE community members conduct teach-ins for Black lives

September 11, 2020

By Perry King  

In their Scholar Strike Canada teach-in, Janelle Brady and Sandy Hudson spoke about the realities of anti-Black police violence in Toronto and across Canada.

There was a time that Janelle Brady and Sandy Hudson shared an office at OISE. On Sept. 9 and 10, the colleagues held the same space to take action as Scholar Strike Canada took place across campuses nationwide.

Their teach-in session, “Scholars and Educators for Black Lives,” was one of many digital sessions conducted as part of labour action that calls for racial justice and an end to anti-Black police violence.

Scholar Strike Canada is inspired by a call to labour action for academics by Yale University Associate Professor Dr. Anthea Butler – who herself was inspired by striking WNBA and NBA players after the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Organized by the University of Toronto’s Beverly Bain and OCAD University’s Min Sook Lee, the Canadian movement calls for racial justice and an end to anti-Black police violence. Aligned with the American equivalent, the Canadian movement also focused in on anti-Indigenous, colonial violence.

Brady and Hudson’s session focused on the realities of anti-Black police violence in Toronto and across Canada. They sought to ignite actions by participants to take a stand and discussed a range of topics (from the role of educators in this time to what it means to abolish the police).

Brady is a PhD candidate in OISE’s department of Social Justice Education. Hudson is the founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto, a communications specialist and political strategist – and she is currently a law student at the University of California, Los Angeles.



Above is the teach-in video, in full. Before you watch, here is a small piece of the conversation that addresses a particular topic in these times. 

Janelle Brady: Folks might ask, why is [reform] the solution? And there are a lot of proponents of reform right now. A lot of organizations, institutions, they have their nice anti-Black racism statement, and they have a couple lines on reform. So why not reform? Why not have initiatives? What would your response be to someone like that? Why not have initiatives such as body cameras and reform in place?

Sandy Hudson: Well, I would challenge people who are interested in reform to tell me why all of the decades of attempts at reform haven’t worked. What would be different in this iteration of an attempt to reform? I just keep saying it – this institution is irredeemable.

It has shown itself to be so committed to its anti-Blackness, its anti-Indigeneity and its violence towards people who have mental health concerns. What is the point in trying to reform something that has gone on through decades and decades of attempt at reform? It never works. We still remain in a situation where in Toronto, Black people are 20 times more likely to be killed by police than white people. Twenty times more likely. I’m not interested in continuing to have conversations about reform because they’ve been happening over and over again. 

Body cameras? The police continue to kill people with these body cameras on. What is that going to do? You know, I was listening to this conversation this week on the radio about the Dijon Kizzee case here in Los Angeles, where the reporters immediately went to, “Oh, we’ll never know what happened” because the police weren’t wearing body cameras.

How could that be the place where you go? This man was shot 20 times for a bike code violation. Something about the way he was riding his bike resulted in 20 shots to his person. Who cares if it was recorded or not? I don’t want to watch more of us dying. That never should have happened in the first place.

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