Superintendent Heinz Kuck and Inspectors Chris Boddy and Riyaz Hussein joined members of the community in the Junction on March 21 to celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
On that day 58 years ago, a large crowd of black South Africans assembled in front of the Sharpeville police station to protest the pass laws imposed by the apartheid government. The pass laws were statues requiring black people to carry a reference (pass) book with them when they traveled outside of their homes.
The protest escalated into violence, resulting in the police killing 69 protestors - many of whom were shot in the back - and wounding 180 in what has come to be known as the Sharpeville Massacre.
“The events in Sharpeville caused the world to reflect on how to end racial discrimination,” said Kuck. “In 1966, the United Nations General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination and proclaimed March 21 to be recognized and celebrated as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.”
To commemorate the United Nations resolution, members of the Davenport, High Park, and Junction communities along with police officers, Toronto Police Service Rovers and Auxiliaries from 11 and 22 Divisions commemorated the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
“Assisted by members of 11 CPLC as well as Pastor Junn Lagud and the congregation and choir of the Hallelujah Fellowship Baptist Church, this community sang, danced, prayed and spoke on the efforts made locally and globally in ending racism,” said Kuck.
In addition to the three senior police officers, other guest speakers were Steve Chu, Johnny Dalisay, Chris Richardson and Philippine Deputy Consul General Bernadette Fernandez.
“These guests spoke on the strength and beauty of different languages, creeds and cultures, the history of apartheid, the events at Sharpeville and what local Toronto faith communities and police can do together to combat racism,” added Kuck.