Published Wednesday, June 3, 2020 9:38PM EDT
KITCHENER — One of the organizations involved in Wednesday’s KW Solidarity March for Black Lives Matter has released three specific demands to address race issues in the community.
The African Caribbean Black Network of Waterloo Region is asking to defund three programs within the Waterloo Regional Police Service.
Their demand, in part, reads: “with the resources reallocated to upstream prevention and community initiatives, including income supports, healthcare, and education. We call on elected officials to prioritize the expansion of community-led health and safety initiatives over future financial investment into the WRPS.”
Their first request involves community outreach programs, specifically naming the Chandler-Mowat and Kingsdale neighbourhoods. The final two demands involve campus cops and school resource officers.
The statement goes on to say: “We demand the immediate removal of the community outreach program in our racialized and poor neighbourhoods, as well as the removal of the school resource officer program from our region’s schools, as these are the first steps in the school-to-prison pipeline.”
Teneile Warren, from the ACB Network, says these issues affect students in bigger communities like Toronto and here in Waterloo Region.
“[They’re] having behavioural episodes and the police are being called and they’re being carted away in handcuffs,” she says. “That is not how you address people’s needs.”
Warren suggests re-allocating funds to increase the number of social workers in schools, instead of uniformed officers.
Karen Redman, the Chair for Waterloo Region and the Police Services Board, says there’s room for improvement.
“I think we can always do better. I think that this chief and his senior staff… work really hard every day to be the best service they can, and are always looking at innovation and new ways to meet the needs of the public.”
CTV News reached out to Waterloo Regional Police for an interview but they declined, stating that they didn’t want to take focus away from the solidarity march.
Both police and representatives with the ACB Network say they are willing to meet to discuss their next steps.