The Only Way Forward: Shifting Punitive Perspectives Webinar Series

Event Details

Webinar Series examining impacts of the criminal justice system with a focus on alternatives and next steps
About this Event
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black American man, was killed by the police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during an arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit bill. This tragic event has ignited a movement brought on by centuries of inequality and injustice in the United States and in Canada. Canada is not exempt from incidents of excessive police force resulting in the serious injury or death of Indigenous and racialized persons:

Allan Adam in Fort McMurray (March 2020), D’Andre Campbell in Peel Region (April 2020), Regis Korchinski-Paquet in Toronto (May 2020), Chantel Moore in Edmundston (June 2020), Rodney Levi in Miramichi (June 2020), Ejaz Chaudhry in Mississauga (June 2020), and Evan Penner in Saskatoon (July 2020).

Thirty people in Canada have died as a result of excessive force used by police since January, 2020. The CBC’s Deadly Force database confirms that Black and Indigenous people continue to be over-represented among police fatalities. The data also determines that mental health and substance abuse issues were present in the majority of cases.

Desmond Cole, activist and author of The Skin We’re In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power says, “the difficult conversation for me – is racism isn’t about some bad feelings inside somebody’s heart, it’s about power.”

Systemic racism encompasses far more than policing, and is found in child welfare, housing, schools, criminal justice, education, and many other places.

What are the alternatives? What steps can we, as individuals and a community, take to address the punitive and systemically racist justice system in Canada? How much change is society ready for? We at Canadian Friends Service Committee (CFSC), the peace and social justice agency of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Canada, have been thinking about this a great deal in recent months.

CFSC is offering a webinar series on the topic of Shifting Punitive Perspectives. With the help of panelists, CFSC will examine the impacts of the existing criminal justice system, possible alternatives and next steps.

We invite you to examine your own perspectives, preconceptions, and role in systemic racism. Like reconciliation, the path to accessing our own biases is truly a journey and requires work. We believe it is the only way forward.

Check out the plan for the upcoming panels and learn more about the panelists below:

Panel One: The Impacts of a Punitive Justice System

November 5, 7-9 pm EDT

A Panel discussion on the impacts of a punitive mindset on society. How policing and prison affect radicalized communities disproportionately, but also society as a whole. Panelists include:

Yasmin Ibrahim, Child and Youth Care Practitioner

Theodore (Teddy) Syrette, 2-Spirit Advocate, Storyteller & Facilitator

Orville Wallace, Founder/ Chair of the Network, Youth Justice Network of Toronto

Panel Two: Alternatives to a Punitive Justice System

November 12, 7-9 pm EDT

A panel discussion on alternative forms of policing and prisons that have been successful. What are they and why do they work? Panelists include:

Tim Black, White Bird Clinic

Judy Cameron, Mental Health Counsellor

Rick Kelly, Just Us : A Centre for Restorative Practices

Panel Three: Ways Forward

November 19, 7-9 pm EDT

A panel discussion on actionable steps to achieving possible alternatives.

Jennifer Grant, Professor , Consultant , Facilitator, Manager and Advocate

Christina Parker, Assistant Professor of Social Development Studies, Renison University College, University of Waterloo

Sara A. Tessier, Coverdale Courtwork Society

Monica Walters-Field, Associate Member of Canadian Friends Service Committee Associate Member

The webinar series is FREE and open to all.

All panels and discussions will be hosted on Zoom.

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