We are unapologetically: feminist; anti-racist; pro-Black; pro-Indigenous resurgence, sovereignty, and governance; abolitionist; anti-capitalist; pro-immigration and refugees, and pro-sex work.
Even as people who are not white, who’s migration here is also the product of colonialism and imperialism, we benefit from structures of settler colonialism that have been established upon the oppression, disenfranchisement, exploitation, and genocide of Indigenous peoples. While as we may have to contend with racism, sexism, ableism, classism, queerphobia, fatphobia, and xenophobia as “non-normative” bodies within KKKanadian white supremacist capitalist cisheteronomative patriarchy, we believe that this does not exclude us from participating in the dismantling of settler colonialism and supporting of Indigenous resurgence, repatriation, sovereignty, and futurity.
Land & Technological Acknowledgement
As we work to disrupt and dismantle these systems, we want to acknowledge that we record Do the Kids Know? On the island known as Tio’tia:ke to the Kanienʼkehá:ka or Mooniyang as it is known by the Anishinaabe or by its settler-imposed name, Montréal. As this land is the traditional and unceded territory of the Kanien’kehà:ka (Mohawk) Nation, we respect the Mohawk as the custodians of this land that has historically been a place of gathering for many First Nations. We also understand that while we are grateful to be able to live, study, work, and find and build community here, that we are unwelcomed “guests” on this land.
Recording Do The Kids Know? Uses a myriad of technologies that while seemingly ubiquitous, have direct impacts on the environment and people forced into positions of precarity. While remaining socially distant, we use Zoom to facilitate our recordings. Adapting this technological acknowledgement from the Feminist Media Studio at Concordia University, the platform on which we gather is a product of Silicon Valley, a “unicorn” company valued at $48.8 billion (as of mid-May), five years after launching. Zoom’s headquarters are located on Muwekma Ohlone Territory. The Ohlone have historically understood about sustainability, about communal societies, about giving gifts to those who passed by, and about sharing space. We thus see Zoom as a platform which connects us AND which alienates us from the aims of restitution, justice and reparation. The fact of the matter is that we are often complicit within the systems we wish to dismantle. We hold this at heart while we try to figure out how to take action from here. We hope that you join us on this mission.
Statement of social location
We believe it is crucial as two individuals in the work of crafting spaces for un/learning to be transparent and accountable regarding our personal politics that we undeniably bring to this work and bring to our media and political analysis. In this spirit of full transparency, we are just two people at the intersection of varying marginalizing and oppressed, as well as privileged identities. While we endure varying degrees of societal and structural violence as a result of our race, queerness, chronic pain and illnesses, and gender, we also profit from certain systems of capitalism and colonialism such as upward class mobility (both of us having been primarily raised in the middle-class of suburban Toronto), graduate school education.
As young people raised in the suburbs by immigrant parents and educated in Ontario public schools, we were fully indoctrinated in the unwritten rules of assimilation into “Canadian” culture. The “culture” of this supposed cultural mosaic? One of white supremacy, patriarchy, anti-Indigeneity, anti-Blackess, fatphobia, ableism, classism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and of course homo/bi/trans/queer/intersex-phobia to name a few of these veiled structures that govern mainstream Canadian thought.
And we would say that we were extremely successful in the project of assimilation. We became so Canadian that we looked down upon those we perceived to be lower class, more recently immigrated, those without the same mastery of English… And when we ran out of people to judge, we turned our disdain inwards and begun to judge ourselves when we weren’t “good” (see: “white”) enough, when our bodies started failing us, when we weren’t working twice as hard, when we weren’t seen as the exception to the rule, when we didn’t seem to think the same way as our peers… All this self hatred and projection, all because we had become too Canadian.
In our respective journeys the internalization of these various phobias and societal structures have taken their tolls. Luckily, though, our drives to break the cycle of trauma that is perpetuated through these systems has brought us to a place wherein we are able to take deliberate action towards unravelling these biases and moving towards personal and community liberation through political action on both micro and macro scales.
This podcast is part of that movement. Strongly informed by the politics and practices emerging from Black and women of colour feminist thought (Audre Lorde, bell hooks, Gloria Anzaldua) our media and political analyses are deconstructed through the lenses of anti-colonialism, critical race theory and anti-racism justice, gender and intersectionality (term coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw), queer theory, and disability justice. We also strive towards playing close attention to the way that class, caste, immigration status, age, and other such factors influence the ways in which Canadian culture and politics play out. It is often the case that we do not directly address each of these points in our conversations. The fact that there are so many perspectives to consider in collectively envisioning and building liberatory futures is indicative of a crucial need for collaboration and diversity within our circles and within positions of power, education, and deliverance of justice. We cannot do this work alone and we ourselves are never finished the work of un/learning. We kindly invite you to discuss how we may do better by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by messaging us on social media (@dothekidsknow).
Statement of solidarity – Choosing Real Safety: A Historic Declaration to Divest From Policing and Prisons and Build Safer Communities For All
We can choose to build safe communities!
We, the undersigned, are invested in building safe communities for all. We believe that as a society we are capable of preventing harm and violence differently than the failed punitive approaches governments fund today. And we believe that it’s possible to come together to STOP the expansion of policing and imprisonment, as well as move away from a reliance on policing, jails, prisons and immigration detention. We believe that we can invest, instead, in real safety for our communities by addressing the root causes of harm and violence in our society.
We are living through a historic moment of protest against the rampant colonial, racial, gender, sexual and economic injustice in our society. This is guided by a renewed understanding that we can choose another way forward. For some time now, Black, Indigenous, racialized, and gender-oppressed people, migrants, those living with mental health issues and disabilities, people who use criminalized drugs, and people without housing have experienced the harms of policing and incarceration instead of support. We recognize the violent infrastructure of prisons and policing also negatively impacts the land, water, air, and other-than-human beings through environmental degradation, disrupted relations, and capitalist extraction. Our public funding of policing, jails, prisons and immigration detention vastly exceeds the funds allocated to public housing, income assistance, childcare and mental health support. We can choose differently.
We wish to stand on the right side of history. We believe we can build a society that values human and other-than-human life and the land, and we commit to shifting away from using badges, guns and cages to manage inequality. Since early winter, rising COVID-19 rates have again made people held in congregate settings like homeless shelters, psychiatric centres and prisons more acutely vulnerable to outbreaks. We must release as many people that are confined in these settings as possible and start building communities capable of meeting everyone’s needs now. This is crucial from an anticolonial perspective, a Black liberation perspective, a racial justice perspective, and a public health perspective: it is vital towards meaningfully addressing anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism, especially. Today, we are prepared to commit to building a society that chooses to meet people’s needs instead of locking them away, with a three-prong strategy: Defund/Dismantle/Build.
STOP investing more public or private money into policing and prison infrastructure
STOP increasing budgets to hire more police and prison officers
STOP building new police stations, detachments and headquarters, courthouses, jails, prisons, penitentiaries and immigration detention centres
COMMIT to dramatically cutting municipal, provincial and federal funding for carceral infrastructures
REDUCE the use of policing and prisons over time with the goal of ending punitive injustice within a generation
REMOVE police from all positions within essential social services including but not limited to: schools, mental health services and responses, family and youth support programming, and community support initiatives
REMOVE arms and other military equipment from police, RCMP, military, border control, and prison officers to diminish their ability to injure, maim and kill human beings
END the removal of Black and Indigenous children from their families into the state foster care system
END labour union affiliations with all police, prison guards, and border guards, recognizing that these positions go against the larger stated goals of protecting worker interests
END the detention and deportation of migrants and the criminalization of migration
INVEST funds diverted from police and prisons toward building safety for those most impacted by surveillance and policing: Black, Indigenous, unhoused, migrant, people who use [criminalized] drugs, and people living with disabilities. This includes investments in long-term free and affordable housing for all, access to free and healthy food, clean water, and community gardens for all, free public transit, harm-reduction supports for drug users, child care, free post-secondary education, and regularization of migrants/status for all
INVEST in attending to the root causes of harm in our society: gross racial, gender, sexual and economic inequality
INVEST in community-based anti-violence initiatives’ transformative justice capacity, and supports like non-carceral mental health care, community-based resources, and public safety approaches
INVEST in Care, Wellness and Healing, including non-coercive mental healthcare, wellness resources, non-coercive drug and alcohol treatment, peer support networks, community support counsellors and mediators, universal childcare, supports for family and kinship care, family support and youth programs that promote learning, safety, and community care,
INVEST in community centres, public libraries, recreational and cultural centres, schools, libraries, and other free public spaces.
ENACT the return of the land to Indigenous peoples (Land Back)
HONOUR existing treaties and Indigenous interpretations of treaties
HONOUR Indigenous sovereignty, including Indigenous governance and non-carceral Indigenous legal orders such as those outlined in the Unearthing Justices Resource Collection of 500+ Indigenous grassroots initiatives for the MMIWG2S+ , neighborhood-based trauma and healing centres
INVEST in land redevelopment for decommissioned police and prisons under the guidance of the Indigenous nations on whose land the buildings sit
CREATE a reparations model for survivors and families of people harmed by police, based on this Chicago model: repair, restoration, acknowledgment, cessation and non-repetition (https://chicagotorture.org)
Black Lives Matter- Toronto
Criminalization and Punishment Education Project
East Coast Prison Justice Society
Free Lands Free Peoples
Indigenous Joint/Joy Action Committee
Prisoner Correspondence Project
Saskatchewan-Manitoba-Alberta Abolition Coalition
Toronto Prisoners’ Rights Project