The contributions of Dudley Laws to Ontario society are significant and profound. No other single individual has had a more direct and positive impact on ensuring police accountability in the area of police use of force on the citizens of Ontario than Dudley Laws. The current system of civilian review of police conduct in Ontario only came to fruition as a direct result of his unwavering conviction that no one - including the police - are above the law.
Accordingly, I was saddened but not overly surprised when I attended the wake hosted by the Jamaican Canadian Association last night to honour this outstanding citizen to find that less than a handful of persons of European descent were in attendance - at least while I was there. Allan Tonks, Judy Scro, Peter Rosenthal, Bob Kellerman and maybe three others were in attendance while I was there.
I was similarly saddened in seeing only one member of the judiciary of African-Canadian ancestry - namely, Mr. Justice Tulloch at the wake last night.
History shows that great men of African descent are never embraced by the popular media, never, never by the dominant class in the community in which they live and never, never, never embraced by the adminstration of justice. It was not long ago that a respected Toronto Sun columnist openly referred to Mr. Nelson Mandella as a terrorist. I could go on and on and on.
What is a "black activist" anyway ? Those who saw Mr. Laws as merely a "black activist" will be shown by history to be part of the problem which he fought so hard to change. Public Enemy said it best in their song entitled "Don't believe the Hype". I quote in memory of Mr. Laws:
"They claim that I'm a criminal
By now I wonder how
Some people never know
The enemy could be their friend, guardian
I'm not a hooligan
I rock the party and
Clear all the madness, I'm not a racist
Preach to teach all
'Cause some they never had this
Number one, not born to run
About the gun...
I wasn't licensed to have one
The minute they see me, fear me
I'm the epitome - a public enemy
Used - abused without clues
I refused to blow a fuse
They even had it on the news
Don't believe the hype..."
...."Never played the fool, just made the rules
Remember there is a need to be alarmed
Again I said I was a timebomb
In the daytime the radio scared of me
'Cause I'm mad, plus I'm the enemy
They can't c'mon and play me in primetime
'Cause I know the time, plus I'm gettin mine
I get on the mix late in the night
They know I'm livin right.."
Note: This piece is written for the sole purpose of drawing attention to an issue of public importance - namely - the valuable contributions made Mr. Laws to both the law and quality of life in Ontario and his marginalization for so doing.