The rabble podcast network offers an alternative take on politics, entertainment, society, stories, community and life in general. All opinions belong to the podcaster; however, podcasters are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new podcasters -- contact us for details.

Saskatchewan: Racist policing, community mobilization

Chip in to keep stories like these coming.

On this week's episode of Talking Radical Radio, I speak with Robyn Pitawanakwat and Andrew Loewen. They are members of Voices for Justice and Police Accountability, a group that formed this past January after a number of high-profile incidents involving police mistreatment of Indigenous people in Regina, Saskatchewan.

In the last year, the ubiquity and persistence of systemic racism and racist violence organized into people's lives across North America via policing, courts, and prisons has become more visible in the mainstream. Of course, to those communities that bear the brunt of it, it isn't news, just the latest moment in a centuries-long reality on this continent. And a sharp division in understandings of police and policing persist, with a strong correlation between whiteness and a refusal to acknowledge this brutal history and present-day reality. But it is precisely because of organizing among those directly affected that this refusal is now showing cracks.

It is the organizing in African American communities in major urban centres in the United States that has been most visible, but those are not the only contexts in which it is happening. There is a long history of grassroots efforts in Regina, Saksatchewan, particularly among Indigenous people who live there, to end police violence and impunity. The latest group to take up this work in Regina is called Voices for Justice and Police Accountability. It came together in January of this year, after a series of high-profile incidents. It is a broad-based group that is working hard on a number of fronts: holding public meetings and events, supporting in various ways individuals who have experienced police violence and misconduct, pursuing legal reforms that would strengthen oversight and accountability mechanisms, and working towards a long-term vision of building strong communities where police are less present and less relevant.

Robyn Pitawanakwat is a business-owner and Andrew Loewen is the editor of Briarpatch magazine, and both are centrally involved in the community organizing that has resulted in Voices for Justice and Police Accountability. They talk with me about policing in Regina, about the group, and about its multiple approaches to working for change.

To learn more about Voices for Justice and Police Accountability, click here.

Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada. We give you the chance to hear many different people that are facing many different struggles talk about what they do, why they do it, and how they do it, in the belief that such listening is a crucial step in strengthening all of our efforts to change the world. To learn more about the show in general, visit its website here. You can learn about suggesting topics for future shows here.

Talking Radical Radio is brought to you by Scott Neigh, a writer, media producer, and activist based in Sudbury, Ontario, and the author of two books examining Canadian history through the stories of activists.

Thank you for reading this story...

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all. But media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our only supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help.

If everyone who visits rabble and likes it chipped in a couple of dollars per month, our future would be much more secure and we could do much more: like the things our readers tell us they want to see more of: more staff reporters and more work to complete the upgrade of our website.

We’re asking if you could make a donation, right now, to set rabble on solid footing in 2017.

Make a donation.Become a monthly supporter.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.