It has been 6 months since CBC released statistics about police/street checks* in Halifax. Since that time, many members of the Black community in Halifax have been unequivocal in their demand for an immediate moratorium on street checks. Instead, the police released an interim report in mid June committing to empty actions, such as continued analysis of street check data, and refusing to admit that street checks are a problem.
In the meantime, African Nova Scotians continue to be three times more likely to be stopped by police for random police checks than other groups.
Solidarity Halifax considers it an outrage that the police force has chosen not to listen to the countless voices from the Black community who continue to call for a moratorium. As an organization, we urge all people to take responsibility and not allow this issue to fall solely on the shoulders of the Black community. White people benefit every day from structural inequality, and to fail to speak out against street checks is to continue to prop up a racist system.
There is a long history of racism in Nova Scotia, including but not limited to: segregation, environmental racism, discrimination in employment, overrepresentation in the prison system, and unequal educational opportunities stemming back to the 1700s. Street checks are but one current facet of the continued reality of systemic racism and white supremacy.
Solidarity Halifax calls on allies of the Black community to contact the Halifax Regional Police on Tuesday August 1st, their local councilor on Wednesday August 2nd, and their MLA on Thursday August 3rd, to advocate that this systemically racist practice be stopped. It is imperative that all people speak out against police checks in solidarity with the Black community. Help make this summer the end of street checks by starting the calls and emails while watching for further actions on this issue.
Tuesday, August 1st, contact Halifax Regional Police Media Relations 902-490-5154 or https://www.halifax.ca/fire-police/police/contact-us
Wednesday, August 2nd, contact your local councillor. You can find contact info here: https://apps.halifax.ca/districtlookup
Thursday, August 3rd, contact your MLA. You can find contact info here: http://nslegislature.ca/index.php/people/member-bios
*Street checks occur when police stop civilians, whether they are walking or driving, and ask them what they’re doing. In the past eleven years, 33% of Halifax’s Black population has been randomly street checked, compared to only 9% of the white population. Street checks are a form of racial profiling leading to criminalization, which in turn leads to higher rates of incarceration amongst the Black community.