The Corner has reached out to Sureya Ibrahim, a leader in the Regent Park Community, to ask for her thoughts on the effect of anti-black racism on marginalized communities, the impact of the Black Lives Matter movement, and actionable steps to combat systemic oppression.
Sureya has created and been involved with many initiatives which have advocated for and aided those in her community. She currently works for the Toronto Centre for Community Learning and Development (TCCLD) and was a student in a TCCLD integration program for immigrant women. Through this program she got to know her community very well. She became acquainted with residents and found out about various issues impacting the community. After completing this program, she became inspired to give back to her community and make a change.
Sureya believes that anti-black racism is a systemic problem in Canada. She says, “it prevents people from gaining important and necessary resources because of the color of their skin”. She believes that anti-black racism makes black populations feel alienated. Sureya states that systemic racism in policing is prevalent in Canada and is not just an American issue. Sureya finds the Black Lives Matter movement to be very beneficial in spreading awareness. According to Sureya, real change must begin at the individual level, people have to reflect on the problems plaguing our country and movements like Black Lives Matter can serve as the catalyst for this reflection.
Sureya suggests that organizations look at the communities they serve and the policing within those communities. If that policing is failing them, concrete steps must be taken to improve the situation. While she believes that policing is necessary, she asserts that funding for police services is far too high: “we need to reduce the police budget and allocate these resources to community services that can support marginalized populations like the black community”. She urges the police and the public to reflect on the racist systems found within this institution and call for their dismantling.