News Archives

BLMforumForum on Race, Policing & Black Lives Matter

by Julius Haag, Centre PhD candidate

On October 14, 2016, the Centre hosted a public forum entitled Race, Policing and Black Lives Matter. The event, organized by Prof. Honor Brabazon of the Centre, brought together a compelling group of presenters, including Marques Banks, from the Black Movement-Law Project, Anthony Morgan, a human rights and public interest lawyer, Prof. Idil Abdillahi, a professor of social work at Ryerson University, and Ravyn Wngz, a member of Black Lives Matter Toronto. The event was moderated by Prof. Akwasi Owusu-Bempah of UTM. The presentations explored the growth and genesis of Black Lives Matter Toronto, the role of law and lawyers in the ongoing struggle for black lives, the crisis of racism and sanism facing black people in Toronto with mental health issues, and the urgent need for continued action to protect black lives and to eradicate anti-blackness in our society.

The presenters illustrated how racialized policing is part of a larger crisis facing racialized people. They demonstrated that the issues currently confronted by black people are not new, but the most recent iteration of centuries of oppression rooted in colonialism and slavery. Rayvn Wngz spoke of the importance of solidarity and collaboration between Black Lives Matter Toronto and other groups facing systemic oppression and marginalization, including Indigenous People in Canada. Anthony Morgan noted that this event took place almost 50 years to the day from the founding of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense in Oakland, California. He noted that, much like the Black Panthers, Black Lives Matter Toronto is a movement founded by young people who are fighting to advance important social justice issues.

The presentations were followed by a lively and engaging question period. The organizers also created a hashtag for the event, #CrimBLMForum, and encouraged participants and attendees to tweet about their experiences and impressions of the event.


  • Professor Kelly Hannah-Moffat talks about the increase in the number of women in federal prisons. Read more about Women Inmates on the Rise.
  • Centre Director Kelly Hannah-Moffat gave the 8th Annual Lecture of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research on May 19th in Glasgow, Scotland. The Howard League Scotland posted a write-up of her lecture ‘Moving targets: Reputational risk, rights and accountability in punishment.’ Read it here.
  • Professors Kelly Hannah-Moffat and Paula Maurutto were cited by The Toronto Star in No charges, no trial, but presumed guilty about the impact of criminal records. They have been working with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association to examine how criminal records are being used, by whom and how much information is being disclosed. Read the CCLA’s report ‘False Promises, Hidden Costs’ for more information.
  • Centre Director Kelly Hannah-Moffat gave the 8th Annual Lecture of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research on May 19th in Glasgow, Scotland. The Howard League Scotland posted a write-up of her lecture ‘Moving targets: Reputational risk, rights and accountability in punishment.’ Read it here
  • Jim Phillips is the recipient of the 2013 David Walter Mundell Medal.Recognizing Exceptional Legal Writing, the Mundell Medal honours those who have made a distinguished contribution to law and letters. It celebrates great legal writing and recognizes that the artful use of language in the right style has the power to give life to ideas. Jim Phillips is a professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto with a cross-appointment in the Department of History. He has written extensively in the field of legal history and particularly the history of criminal law in British North America/Canada. He is currently the editor-in-chief of the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, which is devoted to the promotion of scholarship on the history of Canadian law. Professor Phillips obtained both his PhD in History and his LLB from Dalhousie University. He also clerked for former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Bertha Wilson. Read the News Release. 
  • Professor Matt Light has done field research both in southern Russia and in neighbouring Georgia.  In these interviews with journalist Steve Paikin of “The Agenda” on Ontario Public Television, Prof. Light assesses the reasons for, risks to, and consequences of the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi. View the recent panel discussion or listen to an interview from a few years ago for more information.