janaya khan is co-founder of Black Lives Matter – Canada and an international ambassador for the Black Lives Matter Network, a chapter-based international organization working for the validity of Black life and to rebuild the Black liberation movement.
janaya and Yusra Ali co-founded Black Lives Matter – Toronto (BLM–TO) in October of 2014 following the killing of Jermaine Carby, who was shot in a car by police during a routine traffic stop in Brampton, Ontario. Since then they’ve worked to resist anti-Black racism in the Greater Toronto Area.
When Mike Brown was murdered in Ferguson they rose in solidarity. Then when Andrew Loku was murdered by Toronto police they crashed the police board meeting and shut down the streets. Andrew Loku was a father of five, a 45-year-old Black Sudanese man suffering from PTSD who lived in housing made specifically for people suffering from mental illness. He was holding a hammer when Toronto police shot him to death.
The global phenomenon of anti-Blackness spreads beyond the US and manifests around the world, including Toronto. In Toronto the practice of “carding” disproportionately affects Black people. Police frequently stop civilians to record and store their information in a police database. Black people in Toronto are three times more likely than white people to be carded.
The call for Black Lives to Matter is a rallying cry for ALL Black Lives striving for liberation. BLM-TO is taking the hashtag off of social media and into the streets of Toronto!
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