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Gym co-owner sent explicit videos to cop posing as teen

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Gym co-owner sent explicit videos to cop posing as teen

The co-owner of a Florida climbing gym sent X-rated messages and videos to an undercover detective posing as a 14-year-old girl, police said.

Christopher Brown, one of the owners of Vertical Ventures, a rock-climbing gym in St. Petersburg, was arrested Wednesday on 10 counts of transmission of harmful material to a minor and unlawful use of a two-way device, according to jail records cited by the Tampa Bay Times.

Brown, who had co-owned the gym since 2006, began sending messages to the undercover detective in August and had sexually explicit conversations with someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl, police said.

Brown, 41, is also accused of sending crude videos depicting the sex acts he wanted the teen to perform with him, police said.

“We had an undercover officer in a chat situation with Christopher Brown, in which he thought the undercover officer was a 14-year-old girl,” St. Petersburg police spokeswoman Yolanda Fernandez told WFLA.

The social media platform in which Brown allegedly contacted the undercover detective was not specified by police, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Another co-owner of the gym told the newspaper that Brown was no longer affiliated with Vertical Ventures as of Wednesday.

“Since we don’t accept or tolerate this inappropriate behavior we are parting ways with Chris Brown,” Hal Thureson said. “We want to assure our customers and employees that we are open for business and that we do not tolerate this behavior.”

None of Brown’s alleged actions took place at the gym or involved any employees or customers, according to a statement provided by a rep for its two other co-owners.

“We were shocked to learn unexpected news today,” the statement to WFLA read. “One of our Vertical Ventures partners has been involved in personal matters that have led [to his arrest] … We want to assure all customers and employees that we are open for business as usual and do not tolerate unacceptable behavior.”

An investigation into Brown is ongoing, police said.

“It’s possible that with all of this coming out and his arrest that other people may come forward and say that they too were victims,” Fernandez told WFLA.

Brown, who was ordered held on $102,000 bail, was released from the Pinellas County Jail late Wednesday after posting bond, jail records show. Attempts to reach him early Thursday at his St. Petersburg home were unsuccessful.


Source: nypost.com

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Former Georgia police chief says he was fired because he’s white

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Former Georgia police chief says he was fired because he’s white

A white former Georgia police chief who was fired amid accusations of racial profiling was axed because of his race, he claims in a new lawsuit.

Dwayne Hobbs, the former top cop in Forest Park, filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the city in US District Court in Atlanta claiming he was fired in 2018 because he’s white and the Forest Park City Council wanted a black person to head the department.

“The City Council members that terminated Mr. Hobbs did so only after declaring that they wanted to install an African American Chief of Police and ‘move in a different direction,’” the lawsuit claims.

Hobbs, who joined the department as a police officer in 1973, was terminated by a 3-2 vote by council members in October 2018, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The firing came on the same night as city lawmakers were set to approve Hobbs’ retirement package, which included 24 months of severance pay and the renaming of a firearms training facility after him, the lawsuit states.

The package had been already approved by the city’s attorney and manager when the Forest Park City Council “unlawfully terminated” Hobbs, according to the filing, which seeks damages to be determined by a jury.

Hobbs’ replacement, Nathaniel Clark, who took over the department last year after a nationwide search, is black, the Journal-Constitution reported.

Hobbs’ attorney, meanwhile, declined to say Wednesday which council members he suspects said that they wanted to replace Hobbs with a black chief, the newspaper reported.

Council members Dabouze Antoine, Latresa Akins-Well and Kimberly Jones, who are black, voted to fire Hobbs, according to the newspaper.

Hobbs was fired amid accusations of racial profiling in his department, which he denied, WSB-TV reported. An audit a year later found that he told officers to spy on Akins-Well and Antoine because cops suspected them of voter fraud and illegal drug activities, the station reported.

Clark – Hobbs’ replacement — ultimately found no evidence to substantiate the allegations against Akins-Well and Antoine and city officials asked for an investigation into the former chief by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which turned over its findings to the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office in May.

The status of that case was unclear Wednesday, the Journal-Constitution reported.

Forest Park’s mayor, meanwhile, flatly dismissed Hobbs’ claims when reached by the newspaper for comment while refusing to discuss details of the lawsuit.

“But let me be very clear, the allegation is an absolute, complete and utter farce,” Mayor Angelyne Butler said.


Source: nypost.com

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Homicide, hate crime investigation needed into death of Joyce Echaquan, say lawyers

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Lawyer says video shows Echaquan ‘met with contempt’ while dying

The Quebec medical staff captured in an online video spewing racist insults while treating Atikamekw woman Joyce Echaquan shortly before her death should be investigated by police for hate-motivated homicide, according to legal experts.

Echaquan, 37, a mother of seven, died Monday in a hospital in Joliette, Que., about 74 kilometres north of Montreal, after filming some of the last moments of her life on a Facebook video. The video captured Echaquan screaming in distress, along with the voices of staff members insulting her.

“They acted callously, they acted in a way they knew was unsafe, they acted with hatred, they acted with negligence and they killed a woman after uttering racist comments,” said Amir Attaran, a professor in the Faculty of Law and School of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Ottawa.

Attaran said that based on Echaquan’s anguished complaints that she was being overmedicated, along with statements by family members that she was allergic to morphine and had heart problems, the medical staff should be investigated for criminal negligence causing death for negligently administering her drugs. 

In addition, he said their insults — calling her “stupid,” saying that she was “only good for sex” and lamenting that their tax dollars were “paying for” her health care — show racism played a role in how medical staff treated Echaquan, which opens up the possibility this was also a hate crime. 

“This was motivated by prejudice against Indigenous people and that is clear from their comments,” said Attaran, who is also a practising lawyer.

“You have those two aggravating factors: an abuse of the position of trust and the motivation driven by prejudice or racism.” 

One nurse has been fired

On Tuesday, Quebec Premier François Legault said one of the nurses who treated Echaquan has been fired. The province said her death is being investigated by the coroner and the health unit.

Quebec’s provincial police, the Sûreté du Québec, said it hasn’t yet opened a criminal investigation on the death but that it is collaborating with the coroner’s office. The Quebec police said that a criminal investigation may hinge on the results of the autopsy. 

The province’s nursing body, L’Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec, said in a statement it was also looking into the case and denounced “the racism suffered” by Echaquan. The organization said it couldn’t provide details of its actions for confidentiality reasons.

Alisa Lombard, a partner with the law firm Semaganis Worme Lombard, which is representing two Indigenous women in an ongoing lawsuit against Ottawa and Saskatchewan over coerced sterilization, said police should have immediately opened a criminal investigation.  

“There needs to be a thorough police investigation and that investigation has to be full and professional and must include a full investigation of any criminal misconduct, whether partly or fully motivated by a hate crime,” said Lombard. 

“Not undertaking this kind of investigation would be further demonstrative of the contempt held by the health-care providers for Indigenous people. Joyce, when she was dying, was met with contempt. Their remarks show… hate and really clear racism.”

Not bad apples but a ‘putrid orchard’

Lombard said studies, reports and inquests — like the one into the 2008 death of Brian Sinclair, the double-amputee who died in a Winnipeg hospital from sepsis after spending 34 hours in an emergency waiting room — have repeatedly shown that Indigenous people suffer from racism within the health-care system. 

“It’s discrimination, it’s hate and it’s causing death,” said Lombard. “Something has to be done and it has to be done now.”

Premier Legault denied Tuesday that Echaquan’s death was a result of systemic racism. He has steadfastly denied that the problem exists in Quebec.  

However, a Quebec commission led by Justice Jacques Viens concluded in a September 2019 report that Indigenous people in Quebec were the victims of systemic discrimination when it comes to receiving public services.

Lombard said Echaquan’s death is not a case of simply some bad apples in the system, as Legault suggested. 

“What we are looking at is a putrid orchard and that orchard needs some serious attention,” said Lombard. She also asked, “How many times has [Legault] attended a hospital with an Indigenous person in his life?”

Hospital could face civil liability

David Schulze, a Montreal-based lawyer who is representing 22 former day school students from Echaquan’s home community of Manawan, Que. — who are suing Ottawa over sexual abuse — said the Joliette hospital is also facing significant civil liability from Echaquan’s family. 

“If they caused her death, they are liable for damages that are pretty significant. There is a separate issue that her estate inherits [Echaquan’s] right to sue for the abuse that she suffered before her death,” said Schulze. 

“I think that the hospital is on the hook. It’s hard to imagine how they wouldn’t be.”

Joliette is about 184 km south of Manawan and is the largest nearby centre, where most of the population does its shopping and accesses public services, like the hospital.

Schulze said Manawan is a community that has suffered trauma throughout its history, including losing its land base to forestry and hydro development. Manawan also doesn’t have cell service and has unreliable electricity and internet access. 

“Their way of life was on the territory and that territory is decimated, and now they were shoved into this under-serviced, under-funded reserve, pushed into this institutional abuse, day schools, residential schools and hospitals,” said Schulze. 

“This is something non-Indigenous people do not understand very well.”


Source: cbc.ca

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Facebook tightens political ad bans as U.S. election nears

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Company also bans ads that ‘praise, support or represent militarized social movements and QAnon’

Facebook Inc. on Wednesday banned ads on its flagship website and Instagram photo and video sharing service that claim widespread voting fraud, suggest U.S. election results would be invalid, or which attack any method of voting.

The company announced the new rules in a blog post, adding to earlier restrictions on premature claims of election victory. 

The move came a day after U.S. President Donald Trump used the first televised debate with Democratic challenger Joe Biden to amplify his baseless claims that the Nov. 3 presidential election will be “rigged.”

Trump has been especially critical of mail-in ballots, and has cited a number of small, unrelated incidents to argue that fraud was already happening at scale.

Facebook has been under fire for refusing to fact-check political ads more broadly and for rampant organic misinformation.

Citing hate speech rules, it also moved Wednesday to remove Trump campaign ads suggesting that immigrants could be a significant source of coronavirus infections.

Facebook has outlined the steps it’s taking to protect the integrity of the U.S. election. It will remove ads promoting voter fraud, and will not allow new political ads in the week leading up to the election, but there are concerns the plans don’t go far enough. 1:53

Facebook said the new election ad prohibition would include those that “portray voting or census participation as useless/meaningless” or that “delegitimize any lawful method or process of voting or voting tabulation … as illegal, inherently fraudulent or corrupt.”

Facebook also cited ads that call an election fraudulent or corrupt because the result was unclear on election night or because ballots received afterward were still being counted.

QAnon banned from platform

The company added that as of Sept. 29, it has banned ads that “praise, support or represent militarized social movements and QAnon” from its platform.

QAnon followers espouse an intertwined series of beliefs, based on anonymous web postings from “Q,” who claims to have insider knowledge of the Trump administration.

Starting Wednesday, Facebook will direct people to credible child safety resources when they search for certain child safety hashtags, as QAnon supporters are increasingly using the issue and hashtags such as #savethechildren to recruit, the social media company said in a blog post


Source: cbc.ca

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Liberal government to spend $10B on infrastructure to fuel pandemic economic recovery

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Initiatives such as broadband, clean energy and agriculture aim are part of economic recovery plan

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna make announcement in Ottawa. 0:00

The Liberal government is spending $10 billion in infrastructure initiatives such as broadband, clean energy and agricultural projects as part of its plan to boost growth and create one million jobs after the pandemic pummelled the economy.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna will announce details of the plan for the Canada Infrastructure Bank plan during a news conference at 11 a.m. ET, and CBCNews.ca is carrying it live.

The plan has five major initiatives: 

The Liberal government’s throne speech promised to create more than one million jobs to rebuild from the pandemic.

The $10 billion announced today is part of the CIB’s $35 billion pot of federal investments.

In a statement, CIB chair Michael Sabia said the federal money aims to leverage additional money from private and institutional investors.

“In that way, the CIB can have bigger impacts that benefit Canadians and Canada’s economy,” he said.


Source: cbc.ca

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RCMP watchdog raises serious concerns about strip searches

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Iqaluit detachment specifically called out for removing bras

The watchdog for the RCMP says the force has problems with the way it justifies strip searches and needs to better train members about the controversial practice.

In a report made public today, the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) found the rationale and documentation for strip searches “is often lacking.”

It specifically calls out the detachment in Iqaluit, where members removed bras.

“The commission found that the RCMP’s national personal search policy (including cell block searches) is unclear and inadequate, and that divisional policies pertaining to strip searches are either inadequate or inappropriate, often due to their reliance on national policy,” notes the report, which is dated Sept. 30 and was released Thursday morning.

“The RCMP’s inability to evaluate and report on policy compliance has a chilling effect on public accountability, self-evaluation and independent review.”

Many Mounties unaware of personal search policies

The report from the independent oversight body also reveals that many Mounties are not aware of personal search policies and that no mandatory training exists beyond basic instruction to cadets at the RCMP depot.

It also recommended more specialized supervisory training on personal searches from senior personnel.

“The commission is particularly concerned with the inadequate supervision of members, lack of articulation on files, and overall lack of knowledge of what constitutes a strip search at the Iqaluit detachment. Interviews revealed that bras are routinely removed and searches are video-recorded,” notes the report.

In one 2015 case, officers forcibly removed a woman’s bra and left her topless in cells, said the CRCC. The woman broke her arm as she tried to resist the officers removing her undergarment and medical care was not provided within a reasonable period, according to the report.

Top court found strip searches ‘degrading’

Today’s findings follow up on a 2017 report that found “significant shortcomings” in the RCMP’s personal search policies, which included strip searches.

CRCC chairperson Michelaine Lahaie said the RCMP has made a number of positive changes over the past three years and now better distinguishes between personal searches and strip searches.

“In spite of the strides made by the RCMP, the CRCC found that further clarification on national policy is required,” she wrote.

In a letter to Lahaie, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki agreed with most of the 2020 report’s findings.

Both CRCC reviews follow a 2001 Supreme Court case that ruled that strip searches are “inherently humiliating and degrading.”


Source: cbc.ca

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Blacks, Latinos in California cited for minor offenses at higher rates than whites: study

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Blacks, Latinos in California cited for minor offenses at higher rates than whites: study

Blacks and Latinos in California are cited for minor non-traffic infractions at far higher rates than their white counterparts, a new study found.

The findings, released Wednesday by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, found that black adults were up to 9.7 times more likely to be cited for minor offenses like loitering or jaywalking.

Latinos, meanwhile, were up to 5.8 times more likely to receive citations than white adults in the same jurisdiction.

The study analyzed data for non-traffic citations issued by California’s 15 largest law enforcement agencies between July 2018 and December 2019.

“We spend millions of dollars discriminatorily enforcing these non-traffic infraction laws against black and Latinx people,” Elisa Della-Piana, the group’s legal director, said in a statement.

“The fines and fees are largely uncollectable, but the debt burden, warrants and arrests cause significant harm.”

In Los Angeles, black residents were 3.8 times more likely to be cited for non-traffic infractions than whites between 2017 and 2019, receiving 30 percent of all such citations by the LAPD during that time span despite comprising 7 percent of the population, the study found.

The LAPD also issued 63 percent of all “loitering-standing” citations to black residents, the study found.

Data from police in Long Beach, meanwhile, showed that black adults were 3 times more likely to be issued infractions from 2017 through 2019 — comprising 36 percent of all of citations issued despite making up just 11 percent of the city’s population.

A similar pattern was also found in San Diego, where black adults were 4 times more likely to be written up for minor infractions than white residents, data showed.

“The results are harmful,” according to the study’s authors. “As other studies have documented, even brief encounters with the police can be traumatic, and officers are often more disrespectful to Black and Latinx people.”

No one who received a citation was fined less than $100, with most getting penalized between $250 and $500, the study found.

The LAPD did not respond to a request for comment on the study by the Los Angeles Times, the newspaper reported Wednesday.

A spokesman for police unions in San Jose, San Francisco and Los Angeles, meanwhile, insisted cops are not biased while on the job.

“When it comes to enforcing the laws, we focus on behavior — not color, not race, not creed, not religion and not sexual orientation,” spokesman Tom Saggau told The Mercury News.

“Police don’t create the laws, and if these attorneys don’t want quality-of-life crimes enforced, they should talk to legislators.”


Source: nypost.com

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Air Canada orders first batch of 25,000 rapid COVID-19 testing kits

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New tests can detect coronavirus within as little as 5 minutes

Air Canada has ordered its first batch of rapid tests to detect the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. 0:00

Air Canada has ordered 25,000 testing kits that can detect COVID-19 in someone in as little as five minutes, a key hurdle for an industry that’s desperately trying to make it safe and possible for travellers to fly again.

The first batch of tests will be for employee volunteers, now that the devices by Abbott Laboratories have been approved for use in Canada by federal health and safety authorities, the airline said Thursday.

Current tests have to be administered at testing centres, which have been plagued by long lineups, and results can take days.

The new test is faster and requires a nasal or throat specimen to be collected from a patient on a swab and inserted into an analyzer to detect the presence of the virus. Positive results come back in as little as five minutes. Negative results can take about 13 minutes to verify.

The airline is moving ahead with the plan after a testing phase when it partnered with McMaster University and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority to test arriving international travellers at Toronto’s Pearson airport.

“Preliminary results from the study indicate testing can help protect customers and facilitate the safe relaxation of government travel restrictions,” Air Canada said.

More than 13,000 tests

Since the test began on Sept. 3, more than 13,000 travellers have been tested.

More than 99 per cent of the tests came back negative. Of the less than one per cent that came back positive, more than 80 per cent were identified on the initial test, while the rest were detected with a followup test seven days later.

“We believe testing will be key to protecting employees and customers until such time as a COVID-19 vaccine is available,” said Air Canada’s chief medical officer, Dr. Jim Chung. 

“Rapid testing is also a means to enable governments to relax current blanket travel restrictions and quarantines in a measured way while still safeguarding the health and safety of the public.”

Airlines have been hit harder than many other industries, as fears of the virus have walloped demand for travel, and border restrictions have limited the number of flights that airlines are even allowed to offer.


Source: cbc.ca

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Students suspended over recording of Calgary school principal using N-word

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Calgary Catholic School District says word used ‘strictly for educational purposes’

Multiple students from St. Michael School in Calgary have been suspended after a portion of a conversation between a group of Black students and their principal was shared online. 

The audio recording in question catches the principal uttering a racial slur.

“So how come it’s OK for you to say [the N-word]?” principal Lianne Anderson asked a group of Black students, questioning their use of the word.

Principal Lianne Anderson was recorded using the N-word with a group of Black students. CBC News has bleeped the audio. 0:06

One of the students shared the recording with a family member, who posted it online, calling the principal’s choice to use the N-word “unacceptable.”

The Calgary Catholic School District is defending Anderson’s actions and said the principal chose to use the word “strictly for educational purposes.”

“The word was more so used in a situation to explain, like, ‘If it’s not OK for me to use the word, why is it OK for you to use the word?'” said district spokeswoman Sandra Borowski. “I think the whole point was to kind of clarify that, bottom line, the use of the word is just generally unacceptable for anyone.”

Adora Nwofor, an anti-Black racism activist and coach in Calgary, said this type of response illustrates the need for more anti-racism training in schools. 

“To use the N-word without saying ‘N-word,’ if you are not part of the oppressed population, is oppression,” Nwofor said. “To police Black people on the use of a term that we are taking back for ourselves is not really the correct response.”

Multiple students have since been suspended for violating the school’s code of conduct. 

“I definitely understand that there is, you know, the possibility that it’s coming across that the students are being disciplined for the use of that word,” said Borowski. “But at the end of the day, they’re only being disciplined for having recorded a conversation, taking clips out of context and posting that conversation online. So it’s unfortunate that the topic of a negative racist term is the focus of the conversation.”

The student code of conduct states that “making, possessing, selling, accessing or sharing any audio, visual or audiovisual recording of any individual without the individual’s consent unless the recording is of a public space or an event open to the public” is considered to be “unauthorized” by the school district. 

Nwofor, who also is a leader for the local Black Lives Matter chapter, said the conversation never should have happened, because Black people are allowed to use the word if they choose. 

“It is a word that we are reclaiming that was used to oppress people, and if you are not Black and you are using that word, you are using it as an oppressor and it means you have privilege,” she said. “If you have privilege and you use that word, you are being an oppressor and you’re being racist, quite frankly.” 

A case of ‘taking that power back’

Alberta activist and education consultant Sagal Yusuf said hearing this story makes her emotional, because she remembers situations just like it happening to her during her school days. 

“It’s supposed to be, you’ve taken the power that [the word] has to be violent and to be used against you and you use it in a completely different context, and you’re using it as a way of expressing affection for somebody else,” she said.

“When someone else uses it who is not Black, who is white, especially someone in a position of power like this, you are basically saying, ‘I’m taking that power back from you … and I’m going to use it in the same manner that it was used in the past, to put you in a traumatic and violent state.'”

The Calgary Catholic School District said all its staff are required to provide welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments that respect diversity. 

“Each of our staff members are part of our faith development, in other words a Catholic community of caring, where we teach values based on faith, caring, respect, responsibility, trust and family. Staff also attend a mandatory annual boundaries presentation, which outlines appropriate staff behaviour,” the district said in an email to CBC News. 

The district said it has also recently formed a committee that examines and addresses racism and discrimination.

“[We are] currently looking into providing additional support that will create a better understanding and ability to recognize derogatory and or racist language.”

Board has ‘zero tolerance for any instances of racism’

Borowski said the school board takes these situations seriously. “We do say that we have zero tolerance for any instances of racism and discrimination at our schools.”

Nwofor said she understands why there might be rules about using the word at a school, and said if there is zero tolerance, then the principal should never have said the word. 

“I would tell the authority figure the correct way to handle it is to say, ‘We have a zero N-word policy here, and we are going to discuss with your guardians about how to move forward.'”

The Calgary Catholic School District said the principal is not facing any disciplinary actions. Nwofor said that’s not fair.

“That principal should be reprimanded, there should be a very high cost to using that word,” she said. “What the white children who are privileged are seeing is that it’s OK to say it. They’re seeing that they’re not going to get in trouble — it’s the Black kids who are going to get in trouble.”

Yusuf said there are plenty of ways the principal could have had a discussion with the students about the word without actually using it. 

“Given the context that we’re living through, you have to be completely, deliberately trying to ignore everything in order for you to be able to use the word. If it was a sincere discussion, if she wanted more information about the use of the word, it’s very simple to use … ‘the N-word,'” she said.

“If it was supposed to be an educational thing, if it was supposed to be something where they can have a discussion, you don’t actually have to use the word.”

 

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.


Source: cbc.ca

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