Uluntu – Lungisa – UsawaA Greater Sudbury Police Service Partnership that Breaks BarriersBy Sergeant Laura Wawryszyn, Greater Sudbury Police ServiceULU stands for Uluntu (Humanity), Lungisa (Justice), and Usawa (Equity), and is a grassroots organization based in Greater Sudbury. ULU was founded in 2018 in response to experiences of poor race relations in the City of Greater Sudbury, including racism and unconscious bias.ULU’s core values include respect, humility, dignity, unity, and the love to strive to learn, educate, and empower. Humanity is about leaving nobody behind as there is strength in numbers. Justice is about standing up for what is right no matter what the consequences are; as Malcolm X said, “By any means necessary.” Equity means supporting the needs of one another by providing the necessary resources tailored to each individual to level the playing field and provide an equal chance and opportunity to be successful.Using an anti-oppressive, anti-racist framework informed by an Afrocentric community engagement model, ULU supports the mobilization and engagement of Black and racialized citizens, community partners, and allies to address anti-Black racism and racial discrimination across Greater Sudbury. Through holistic education and digital technologies, community members engage in skills-building, mentorship, and leadership development opportunities that explore Black Canadian histories, race, colonialism, social inequities, oppression, human rights, and allyship. Local experiences regarding racial discrimination and racial equity informed the development of ULU’s vision for future race relations in Greater Sudbury.USING AN ANTI-OPPRESSIVE, ANTI-RACIST FRAMEWORK INFORMED BY AN AFROCENTRIC COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT MODEL, ULU SUPPORTS THE MOBILIZATION AND ENGAGEMENT OF BLACK AND RACIALIZED CITIZENS, COMMUNITY PARTNERS, AND ALLIES TO ADDRESS ANTI-BLACK RACISM AND RACIAL DISCRIMINATION ACROSS GREATER SUDBURY.Partnership Between ULU and GSPSAfter the death of George Floyd in May 2020 and the subsequent protests across North America, ULU reached out to the Greater Sudbury Police Service (GSPS) to open dialogue and figure out how their organization could engage with the police service in a positive way. Given the world’s social climate, a collaboration between ULU and the GSPS would hopefully be a way to build a bridge within the community. The first meeting between ULU and GSPS leadership was held on June 9th, 2020. GSPS leadership candidly welcomed the ideas of ULU facilitating educational workshops for the entire membership, including anti-racism and allyship training. GSPS requested that ULU facilitate five consultation sessions with their Black, Indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC) members to foster a community engagement model.The most incredible part of this collaboration was the voluntary involvement of the BIPOC members of GSPS in developing ideas for training and their willingness to sharing their lived experiences within the anti-racism training sessions.- Detective Constable Mark Renford, GSPS- Former Constable Shannon Agowissa, GSPSWhat started as a three-hour anti-racism training session evolved into a full-day training program where members of ULU and the BIPOC members of GSPS would jointly facilitate learning amongst participants. Not only did this training program create true leadership and empowerment opportunities for members of the GSPS, but it also became an authentic representation of community engagement and capacity building.- Constable Josh Rickard, GSPS- Constable Arlington Mullens, GSPSCollaboration between GSPS BIPOC membership and ULU resulted in developing and implementing service-wide, anti-Black racism and allyship training. A total of 219 GSPS members have attended 10 training sessions. ULU and GSPS plan to continue their partnership and continue to employ this training program to all members of the GSPS. The collaboration between ULU and GSPS is the beginning of what hopes to be a long-standing, impactful, and productive relationship.- Robin Wemigwans, GSPS civilian memberLooking Beyond SudburyULU began in Sudbury, but the organization is looking to take their anti-racism training nationwide. After all, racial discrimination is not only a Greater Sudbury issue, but is, in fact, a nationwide reality. ULU has benefitted from the support of the Sudbury community, having allied with progressive-thinking people to drive this much-needed anti-racism training forward. ULU is now developing an e-learning platform called The Woke Age Project, which is intended to launch in July 2021. The Woke Age Project intends to adapt ULU’s work to the virtual sphere, reach people across the nation, and overcome the challenges presented by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. For anyone interested in learning more about The Woke Age Project, please contact ULU at admin@thewokeage.org.Lessons for All Service ProvidersULU hopes that all service providers across Canada, public and private, small and large, take note of the Greater Sudbury Police Service (GSPS) in their active partnership with ULU. Additionally, ULU wishes service providers will look to the leadership of Chief Paul Pedersen, who has supported the implementation of service-wide anti-racism training for all the members of GSPS.For more information, please visit ULU’s website uluntu.ca or send an email to admin@thewokeage.org.Laura Wawryszyn is a Sergeant with Greater Sudbury Police Service. She can be reached at Laura.Wawryszyn@gsps.ca
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