Dudley Laws was called the ‘Voice of the Voiceless‘ and his impact in Canadian history can never be forgotten.
The Jamaican immigrant moved to Canada in 1965. After seeing how Afro-Canadians were treated by Toronto Police during the 1960s and 1970s, he started participating in protests with the goal of helping to improve police relations.
“If the people don’t have confidence in the police, it doesn’t matter if put another 1,000 police officers out there, they will not get involved,” said Laws.
He was fearless in his pursuit of tackling racism.
“We have protested long and hard against this racist, brutal, murderous police force,” said Dudley Laws during a briefing with Reporters.
He would be most known for helping to launch the Black Action Defence Committee in 1988 after the fatal shooting of Lester Donaldson by Toronto Police. With the help of Charles Roach, Sherona Hall and Lennox Farrell, Laws pushed for equal treatment under the law. The organization still exists today and fights for social justice.
Laws rallies also brought attention to how many Black Canadians were mistreated within the immigration and prison system. It made Laws a frequent target of police harassment. But Laws’s push for equality never withered.
“One cannot be totally satisfied until you see changes on the streets. Changes within the courts. Changes in the institutions,” he told reporters during one of his press briefings.
In 2011, Laws died at the age of 76. His impact will be felt for many generations to come.