NOW Magazine - Best of Toronto - - Activism -

DUD­LEY LAWS, BLACK AC­TION DE­FENCE COM­MIT­TEE 944A St. Clair West, 416-656-2232 We’re a mul­ti­cul­tural city where most peo­ple get along. But we’ve also had a fiery his­tory when it comes to race re­la­tions. Many in­di­vid­u­als and groups have fought the good fight for racial har­mony and chal­lenged us to think about our own prej­u­dices as well as sys­temic bar­ri­ers faced by vis­i­ble-mi­nor­ity Cana­di­ans: Karen Mock, Avvy Go, Tam Goossen, Zanana Akande, Lin­coln Alexander. But Dud­ley Laws of the Black Ac­tion De­fence Com­mit­tee is a force who en­dures, not only in the area of po­lice-black com­mu­nity re­la­tions, but in chal­lenges fac­ing blacks in the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem. BADC is one of a coali­tion of 20-odd groups call­ing for black­fo­cused schools. Over more than a quar­ter-cen­tury in race re­la­tions, Laws has dared to to tell it like it is, even when the truth hurt and dried dona­tions to the point that BADC’s ram­shackle of­fices had to be tem­po­rar­ily closed. Laws’s rad­i­cal pitch hasn’t al­ways in­gra­ti­ated him with the public or, for that mat­ter, with more con­ser­va­tive mem­bers of his own com­mu­nity. Still, he’s been will­ing to suf­fer the slings, in­clud­ing at­tempts by po­lice to dis­credit and si­lence him. Oth­ers fight for the cause. Laws has the scars to prove it.

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