LAST has not been meeting since the start of the Covid 19 pandemic as members practice social distancing in addition to navigating challenges in our personal and family lives. However, in light of current events in the weeks following the murder of George Floyd, and increased public attention to incidents of police violence, it is important that we as an organization state unequivocally that we support our Black, Indigenous and other racialized community members in calling for justice, and an end to violence against BIPOC (Black Indigenous and People of Colour) and disabled people. The intertwined forces of systemic racism, anti-black racism, colonialism, and ableism, are not tolerable. They were not acceptable before this most recent media coverage, and they cannot continue. There is an urgent need for alternatives to police. Disabled people, and Disabled BIPOC people in particular, are disproportionately impacted by police violence. Too often police are sent to conduct wellness checks or other duties that would be more safely and effectively addressed by social interventions than by an officer with a gun and a badge. We join our BIPOC community members in calling for a reckoning with how we think about safety as a society, and in calling for investment in social services that support people and create a safer world for all people, and not just for some.
We would also like to acknowledge how stressful, and often re-traumatizing, times like this can be for our community, particularly for those who have had negative encounters with police and/or have reason to fear that their disability puts them at higher risk of encountering violence. Please do what you need to do to take care of yourselves. As a reminder, links can be found on our resources page, including links to crisis support, legal support and resources for low income people and survivors of violence.
If you are in a place where you can engage, and are wanting more information on anti-racism movements, alternatives to calling the police, and how to be an ally, here are some useful resources:
The TRIP! Project has compiled a list of resources on alternatives to calling the police. The trip project is a harm reduction project aimed at providing drug and sex education. They are based in Toronto Ontario.
This article from the Huffington Post outlines some key de-escalation techniques for assisting someone who is experiencing a mental health crisis.
For those in London, our Legal Support can be found here.
We also recommend checking out the sections titled: Links for Allies, On Tone Policing, Addressing Racism, and Addressing Anti-Indigenous Racism from our list of recommended websites and blogs.
As always you can find a broad range of readings on Disability Justice on our Books and Films List page, and in our Library Book list for the “What About Us” Lending Library. Unfortunately the “What About Us” Library in not open to the public during the pandemic, as it is housed in a school, but it will be available again once the schools reopen.
Stay safe out there. In love and solidarity,
Manidoo Makwa Kwe,
Social Media Co-coordinator for London Autistics Standing Together.