WHAT IS THE FORUM?

“Our job as police officers is repression. We don’t need a social worker as chief, we need a general. After all, the police is a paramilitary organization, don’t forget that.” — Yves Francoeur, President of the Montreal Police Brotherhood.

Our neighbourhoods are marked by a heavy police presence, supposedly in the name of ‘public safety’, but who is really being protected by the police?

Over the years we have seen the police protect themselves, evading consequences even amidst widespread calls for justice in cases of police violence towards both individuals and communities. The unchecked but widely reported targeting and harassment of racialized and migrant communities, poor people, sex workers, and people with mental health issues, show us how those most affected by police violence and impunity are segments of society that also deal with other forms of institutionalized violence.  Meanwhile, on stolen Indigenous territory, police forces play an integral role in maintaining and perpetuating the centuries-long history of on-going oppression and repression of Indigenous peoples. In looking at the role of the police in society, it becomes clear that they exist to “protect and serve” government institutions, corporate and elite interests, but do not ensure the safety and well-being of our communities and especially our youth. The police and government attempt to mask their behavior behind « community policing » with the active collaboration of many NGO’s and gatekeeper community groups.  However, it is clear that these so-called efforts only support the perpetual systemic violence perpetrated by the government and police force against many in our communities.

The Forum Against Police Violence and Impunity is a collaborative effort by grassroots social justice activists and community organizers to create a space that will allow for discussion, sharing experiences, and developing strategies in the on-going struggle to live free of police violence.

By focusing primarily on the reality in Montreal, while dealing with various themes — including migration, social and racial profiling, gender-based violence, political repression and colonization — the Forum seeks to break the isolation of various communities affected by police violence and expose its systemic nature. The Forum will aim to reach out to various groups of people through different formats, including film screenings, musical & spoken-word performances, hands-on skill-sharing sessions, workshops, panel discussions and testimonials.

The idea of the Forum Against Police Violence and Impunity was originally proposed by the Justice for Anas Coalition to bring together those dealing with and organizing against police violence on the island of Montreal. One of the main goals of this initiative is to create and deepen links and networks between people dealing with and organizing against police violence in different neighborhoods throughout the city. The most effective way to combat police harassment, profiling and violence is by building meaningful relationships of solidarity and mutual aid in our various campaigns and struggles. Together, we hope to strengthen our movements against police violence and impunity in the here and now, while simultaneously working towards building a future society without police violence.

[No police, and no corporate media: The Forum is intended to be a safe space
for community members to express themselves and discuss their experiences freely. In the spirit of the Forum, individuals victimized by police violence should feel safe speaking out without fear of reprisal by police or of being placed under a media spotlight.]

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