Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah interviewed on CBC Radio One’s The Current

Akwasi Owusu-BempahProfessor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah was recently interviewed in an episode of CBC Radio One’s The Current. He discussed the upcoming decriminalization of cannabis in Canada, and its impact on those in marginalized communities who have been disproportionately criminalized for marijuana related offenses. Professor Owusu-Bempah pointed to the system that operates in Oakland, California and suggested that ‘equity permits’ for those previously criminalized could help to mitigate the past injustices. While this would ensure more equality in the accessing of marijuana sales for these communities, socioeconomic factors, stigma, and existing convictions will still present barriers for these groups.

Professor Owusu-Bempah is an assistant professor of sociology whose research focuses on policing, youth marginalization and exclusion, and race, ethnicity and crime; specifically how people of the African Diaspora perceive and experience law enforcement and punishment.

The episode and its transcript are available here. We have posted an excerpt below.

As Canada prepares to de-criminalize cannabis, there are growing calls for an amnesty on pot convictions to right past wrongs, and allow access to a burgeoning industry.

Currently, proposed regulations enable Health Canada to refuse clearance to individuals associated to organized crime; who have past convictions; or anyone with an association to drug trafficking, corruption or violent offences.

Advocates argue enforcement of drug laws have not been equal to all social groups, and it’s necessary to acknowledge a privilege that people in racialized communities don’t have.

“Many Canadians, they can use their privilege to shield themselves from criminalization,” said Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Toronto working on race, crime and criminal justice.

“And then you’ve got other groups of people, many that I work with, who have been the target of the war on drugs, who have been criminalized, in communities that have been criminalized, and they’re now going to be excluded.”

Listen to the episode here.

Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah makes the case for pardons and preferential licensing in Canadian Cannabis legislation

Sociology Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah has recently authored an article in The Hill Times, discussing the need for pardons and preferential licensing in Canada’s cannabis legalization policy. According to Professor Owusu-Bempah, cannabis prohibition has had disproportionate and negative impacts on marginalized groups in Canada. In order to remedy these harms, Professor Owusu-Bempah emphasizes the need for legal pardons on convictions and charges related to cannabis offences, as well as the need to include communities and people negatively affected by cannabis prohibition in the new opportunities created from legalization.

Professor Owusu-Bempah is a professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto with teaching responsibilities at the UTM campus. His research focuses on policing, youth marginalization and exclusion, and race ethnicity and crime. The Hill Times is an independently owned weekly news publication based in Ottawa that reports on Canadian politics and government processes.

We have posted an excerpt of the article below.

Cannabis legalization in Canada: the case for pardons and preferential licensing

This law, and many that followed, had a considerable negative impact on the very groups that their proponents so often purported to help. At a time when Canada once again stands at the forefront of international drug law, we should set an example to the world by providing redress for the harms we now know we have inflicted.

AKWASI OWUSU-BEMPAH | Monday, Jan. 22, 2018

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s proposed date for legalizing the recreational use of cannabis is fast approaching and the Senate is debating Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act. Given the social harms associated with drug prohibition, legalization cannot come soon enough. We also need to go further and right past wrongs by pardoning those convicted of minor cannabis offences and by giving preference to those most targeted by Canada’s war on drugs when we issue cultivation and distribution licences.

Although unrecognized by many, the policing of cannabis and other drugs has been a priority for Canadian law enforcement agencies. According to Statistics Canada, Canadian police agencies recorded approximately 109,000 offences under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) in 2013, the most recent year for which comprehensive data are readily available. Of these, about 73,000 were cannabis-related cases and 59,000 were for possession. While many of these cases were cleared through police discretion (i.e. not taken to court), the number of people tried for simple possession was significant. Between 2008 and 2009 and 2011 and 2012, cannabis possession accounted for approximately 59,000 adult and 14,000 youth cases completed in our courts. Of these, 25,000 adults and almost 6,000 youth were found guilty. So, in less than half the time our prime minister has held office, more than 30,000 Canadians were branded with the marker of a criminal record for a “crime” committed by a significant proportion of the Canadian public, including Justin Trudeau when he sat as MP.

Unfortunately, these 30,000 people joined a lengthy list of Canadians who, like them, face difficulties travelling overseas, volunteering at their local schools and finding meaningful employment due to minor cannabis offences. We are legalizing the drug in part for this very reason; we acknowledge the harms caused by its current illegality. As we move towards legalization we should not forget those who have already been affected. Former Toronto police chief and current Liberal drug czar, Bill Blair, has himself pointed out these people are more likely to be drawn from the young, impoverished, and otherwise marginalized—the very people that we should be trying to better incorporate into our society, not working to exclude from it.

So how can we rectify this? By pardoning the convicted and providing opportunities for those personally affected by the war on drugs, as well as members of their communities, to benefit from a burgeoning industry.

Read the full article here.

Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah and PhD Graduate Jenna Valleriani on Pardoning Cannabis Related Charges

Jenna VallerianiSociology Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah and recent PhD graduate  Jenna Valleriani were recently featured in a blog post on The Leaf, a division of the Winnipeg Free Press dedicated to news on the Cannabis legalization process in Canada. The post discusses the historically harmful implications of marijuana prohibition in Canada for racial minorities, including Black and Indigenous Canadians, and suggests that legal pardons for past criminal charges related to cannabis be implemented within the new legalization policy.

Professor Owusu-Bempah is a professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto with teaching responsibilities at the UTM campus. His research interests include policing; youth marginalization and exclusion; and race, ethnicity and crime. He is particularly interested in how members of the African Diaspora perceive and experience law enforcement.

Jenna Valleriani is a recent PhD graduate from the University of Toronto Sociology Department. Her dissertation was on ‘Staking a Claim’: Legal and Illegal Cannabis Markets in Canada. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use.

We have posted an excerpt of the blog post below.

Making amends

Cannabis prohibition has hit black and Indigenous people especially hard, researchers say.
Will the Canadian government do something about it?

By: Solomon Israel | Jan. 13, 2018

Cannabis prohibition has been especially harmful to black and Indigenous people in Canada, but legalization offers a chance for the government to repair some of those harms, says a researcher who hopes the federal government will consider racial justice as it enacts its proposed law.

Federal legalization of marijuana “is definitely a positive step, and one that should have happened about 100 years ago,” says Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, who studies race and policing as an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Toronto.

Seeking pardons for cannabis crimes

Owusu-Bempah believes the Canadian government should automatically pardon anyone who has a criminal record for the possession of cannabis, as well as pardoning “any subsequent failure to comply charges that stem from an initial cannabis offence.”

“Cannabis, people say it’s a gateway drug. They’re usually referring to a gateway to harder drugs. I argue that cannabis can be a gateway into the criminal justice system,” he says.

“Cannabis use is fairly widespread amongst young people, across racial groups,” Owusu-Bempah explains. “Certain groups are targeted.”

Even if they get probation, those young people of colour are more likely to face failure to comply charges, “which then leads to further criminalization, and a spiralling into the justice system,” he says.

Are pardons in the cards?

The federal government’s Cannabis Act is “pretty void of any kind of real social justice language,” notes Jenna Valleriani, who serves as a strategic advisor to Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy and recently completed a PhD studying legal and illegal markets for cannabis.

Valleriani says the federal government definitely knows how cannabis prohibition has disproportionately impacted marginalized people, citing an April 2017 town hall on cannabis legalization with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hosted by Vice News.

If the federal government does issue post-legalization pardons to Canadians with criminal convictions for cannabis, they might reap the political benefits. In a July 2017 telephone survey of 5,000 Canadians conducted by Oraclepoll Research, 72 per cent of respondents agreed that the federal government should pardon and eliminate criminal records for all previous and current simple cannabis possessions.

For Owusu-Bempah, pardoning those convicted of cannabis-related crimes would be the most straightforward way for the government to start making amends.

 

Read the full blog post here.

Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah on Cannabis Legalization in Canada

Sociology Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah recently authored a post on The Broadbent Blog discussing the need for an approach to the cannabis legalization process in Canada that focuses on equity and reparation. The Broadbent Blog is affiliated with the Broadbent Institute, an independent organization dedicated to research for the promotion of democracy, equality and sustainability. In his blog post, Professor Owusu-Bempah discusses the inequalities that have arisen from the “War on Drugs” and suggests policy solutions for the future. Professor Owusu-Bempah is a professor of sociology at the U of T St. George and Mississauga campuses. His research interests include policing, youth marginalization and exclusion, and race, ethnicity and crime.

We have posted an excerpt of the blog post below.

Cannabis Legalization and Equity in Canada

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah | December 18, 2017

Recreational cannabis is almost legal in Canada, former cops are cashing in, yet our government is still hesitant to advance any measures that would repair some of the social damage caused by almost a century of cannabis prohibition.

This is not the first time I have written about this issue and I highly doubt it will be the last – the need for equity and reparations in Canada’s emerging cannabis industry. Despite rumblings of a conservative attempt to stall implementation, the Trudeau government looks set to legalize recreational cannabis sales in Canada in the summer of 2018. This move has been celebrated as a means of promoting public health, reducing criminalization, and bringing a multi-billion dollar industry from the black market into the legal one. However, these celebrations are misplaced unless both the federal regulations and various provincial legislation provide avenues for inclusion and a means of repairing the harms caused by Canada’s war on drugs. We need to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to participate in this growing economy, while also working to improve the lives of people criminalized for activities that will no longer be illegal.

There is no doubt that cannabis prohibition has had a significant negative impact on certain segments of the Canadian population. Over the past 15 years, Canadian police agencies have reported more than 800,000 cannabis possession “incidents” to Statistics Canada. As former Toronto Police Chief and current Liberal Drug Czar, Bill Blair, has previously pointed out, the enforcement of cannabis laws disproportionately affects marginalized and racialized communities. He should know; Between 2003 and 2013 the Toronto Police Service arrested Black people for minor cannabis possession at three times the rates of Whites in the city (Blair served as chief from 2005 to 2015). These disparate rates of arrest for possession contrast with data showing relatively similar rates of cannabis use across racial groups in Ontario. As a result, some of our most vulnerable populations have been burdened with a criminal record that limits their ability to participate fully in our society. For example, people with a criminal record have a harder time securing employment, thereby restricting earning potential and the contributions one can make financially to their families and communities. Minor cannabis offences can also serve as a “gateway” into the criminal justice system for people who become “known to police,” which increasing their chances of further criminalization and social marginalization.

How does this relate to the emerging industry? At present, the laws and regulations stipulate that people with a criminal record are to be denied the security clearance needed in order to work for a licenced medical cannabis producer. The federal  government is currently conducting consultations on whether those with minor cannabis convictions (“such as simple possession or small scale cultivation of cannabis plants”) should be able to obtain a security clearance and participate in the legal recreational industry. Of course they should – we are legalizing personal cannabis possession and small scale cultivation precisely because we recognize that prohibiting the substance and these activities was counterproductive. To add insult to injury, many of the most prominent law enforcers in the country, the drug warriors whose war is seemingly ending, are now themselves cashing in on legal cannabis. In addition to Bill Blair, who has made a second career on cannabis, his predecessor at the Toronto Police Service, former Chief Julian Fantino (yes, the guy who as a conservative MP supported mandatory minimum jail sentences for people convicted of growing six cannabis plants) has partnered with the ex-deputy commissioner of the RCMP to form a cannabis business. A former deputy chief of the Toronto Police Service as well as the previous head of the RCMP drug squad are also active in the industry. To many observers, the involvement of former law enforcement officials in legal cannabis is both hypocritical and offensive. This is doubly true if we do not open up access to the industry while at the same time actively working to correct historical (and contemporary) wrongs.

Read the full article here.

U of T at the ASA

This year, 22 faculty members and 25 graduate students from Sociology at the University of Toronto are presenting papers at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociology Association in Montreal. In addition to the people presenting papers, a number of our community are also participating as session organizers, discussants or journal editorial panel members. The meetings happen between August 12th and August 15th. We have listed the papers we’re presenting below in the order of their occurrence, with student presenters shown in italics. Note that some of the papers have unlisted co-authors from other universities. Please refer to the ASA Program for complete information.

Saturday, August 12th

Bill Magee, Optimistic Positivity and Pessimistic Negativity Among American Adults: Effects of Birth-Cohort, Age, Gender, and Race

Jaime Nikolaou, Teen Pregnancy and Doula Care: A Space for Feminist Praxis?

Andrew Nevin, Technological Tethering, Cohort Effects, and the Work-Family Interface

Andreea Mogosanu, Historical Change in Gender Differences in Mastery: The Role of Education and Employment

Ioana Sendroiu and Laura Upenieks, Gender ‘In Practice’: Rethinking the Use of Male Practice Players in NCAA Women’s Basketball

Emine Fidan Elcioglu, The State Effect at the Border: Avoiding Totalizing Theories of Political Power in Migration Studies

Paul Pritchard, A Bifurcated Welcome? Examining the Willingness to Include Seasonal Agricultural Workers in the Host Community

Yukiko Tanaka, Managing Risk, Pursuing Opportunities: Immigration, Citizenship, and Security in Canada

Gordon Brett, Feminist Theory and Embodied Cognition: Bridging the Disciplinary Gap

Mitch McGivor, Inequality in Higher Education: Student Debt, Social Background, and Labour Market Outcomes

Sarah Cappeliez, Wine Nerds and Pleasure-seekers: Understanding Wine Taste Formation and Practice

Katelin Albert, Negotiating State Policy in the Improvised Classroom: An Ethnographic Inquiry into Sexual Health Classrooms

Marie-Lise Drappon-Bisson, Tactical Reproduction in the Pro-Choice Movement in Northern Ireland: Alliance for Choice’s Path Towards Successful Tactics

Milos Brocic, Cultivating Conviction or Negotiating Nuance? Assessing the Impact of Associations on Ideological Polarization

Omar Faruque, Neoliberal Development, Privatizing Nature, and Subaltern Resistance in Bangladesh

Sunday, August 13th

Dan Silver, The Political Order of the City: Neighborhoods and Voting in Toronto, 1997-2014

Andreea Mogosanu and Laura Upenieks, Social Change and the Evolution of Gender Differences in Depression: An Age-Cohort Consideration

Markus Schafer, Religious Attendance Heterogamy and Partnership Quality in Later Life

Atsushi Narisada, Buffering-Resource or Status-Disconfirmation? How Socioeconomic Status Shapes the Relationship between Perceived Under-Reward and Distress

Josee Johnston, On (not) Knowing Where Your Food Comes From: Children, Meat, and Ethical Eating

Ann Mullen, Labored Meanings: Contemporary Artists and the Process and Problems of Producing Artistic Meaning

Lawrence Williams, Dilemmas: Where No Schema Has Gone Before

Patricia Landolt, How Does Multicultural Canada’s Ethnicizing Imperative Shape Latin American Political Incorporation?

Merin Oleschuk, Consuming the Family Meal: News Media Constructions of Home Cooking and Health

Sarah Shah, The Context of Birth Country Gender Inequality on Mental Health Outcomes of Intimate Partner Violence

Louise Birsell-Bauer, Precarious Professionals: Gender Relations in the Academic Profession and the Feminization of Employment Norms

Geoff Wodtke, Regression-based Adjustment for Time-varying Confounders

Monday, August 14th

Markus Schafer, The Role of Health in Late Life Social Inclusion and Exclusion

Kim Pernell, Institutionalized Meaning and Policymaking: Revisiting the Causes of American Financial Deregulation

Cynthia Guzman, Revisiting the Feminist Theory of the State

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, Policing Race, Moral Panic and the Growth of Black Prisoners in Canada

David Pettinicchio, Beyond Employment Inequality: Wealth Disparities by Disability Status in Canada and the United States

Yangsook Kim, Good Care in the Elderly Care Sector of South Korea: Gendered Immigration and Ethnic Boundaries

Ioana Sendroiu and Ron Levi, Legality and Exclusion: Discrimination, Legal Cynicism and System Avoidance across the European Roma Experience

Lawrence Williams, Bounded Reflexivity: How Expectations Shape Careers

Irene Boeckmann, Contested Hegemony: Fatherhood Wage Effects across Two U.S. Birth Cohorts

Jennifer Chun and Cynthia Cranford, Becoming Homecare Workers: Chinese Immigrant Women in California’s Oakland Chinatown

Katelin Albert and Steve G. Hoffman, Undone Science and Canadian Health Research

Ronit Dinovitzer, The New Place of Corporate Law Firms in the Structuring of Elite Legal Careers

Melissa Milkie and Scott Schieman, Who Helps with the Homework? Inequity in Parenting Responsibilities and Relationship Quality among Employed Parents

Matthew Parbst, The Impact of Public Opinion on Policy in Cross-National Perspective

Tony Zhang, The Princelings in China: How Do They Benefit from their Red Parents?

Rania Salem, Structural Accommodations of Classic Patriarchy: Women and Workplace Gender Segregation in Qatar

Tuesday, August 15th

Patricia Louie and Blair Wheaton, Revisiting the Black-White Paradox in Mental Disorder in Three Cohorts of Black and White Americans

Jenna Valleriani, Breaking the law for the greater good? Core-stigmatized Organizations and Medical Cannabis Dispensaries in Canada

Martin Lukk, What Kind of Writing is Sociology? Literary Form and Theoretical Integration in the Human Sciences

Jerry Flores, Gender on the Run: Wanted Latinas in a southern California Barrio

Jean-Francois Nault, Determinants of Linguistic Retention: The Case of Ontario’s Francophone Official-Language Minorities

Luisa Farah Schwartzmann, Color Violence, Deadly Geographies and the Meanings of “Race” in Brazil

Jonathan Koltai and Scott Schieman, Financial Strain, Mastery, and Psychological Distress: A Comment on Spuriousness in the Stress Process

 

 

 

Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah’s Op-Ed on repairing the harms of Cannabis Prohibition

Akwasi Owusu-BempahProfessor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah recently authored an op-ed in the Toronto Star discussing the need to correct the damage done by Canada’s “war on drugs.” Professor Owusu-Bempah is an Assistant Professor of Sociology with undergraduate teaching responsibilities at the Mississauga campus. His research focuses on people of the African diaspora and policing in Canada.

The full op-ed is available on the Toronto Star website. We have provided an excerpt here:

Let’s repair the harms of Canada’s war on drugs

As we progress toward the legalization of pot, we must ensure that we work to repair the harms done to those most affected by almost a century of prohibition

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah
Mon., July 10, 2017

The legalization of cannabis is a move forward for our country and sends a positive message to the rest of the world about a changing tide in the global war on drugs.

However, as we progress toward legalization, we must ensure that we work to repair the harms done to those most affected by almost a century of prohibition.

Justin Trudeau rose to power based, in part, on a promise to legalize cannabis after having publicly admitted to smoking weed while sitting as a Member of Parliament. Trudeau is certainly not alone in his fondness the drug. Survey data reveal that 11 per cent of Canadians aged 15 and older have used it in the past year and over one-third admit to having done so at least once in their lifetime.

These high rates of use are, no doubt, part of the reason we are moving toward legalization. Another important factor is a recognition of the costs associated with criminalizing the drug – from law enforcement expenditures that could be better spent elsewhere to the harms inflicted on individuals who receive criminal records for minor possession.

Although perhaps not as well publicized as in the United States, Canada has been waging its own war on drugs for several decades. Over the past 15 years, for example, Canadian police agencies reported more than 800,000 cannabis possession “incidents” to Statistics Canada.

Importantly, as a series of stories in the Star has shown, despite similar rates of use across racial groups, racialized Canadians have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs. In Toronto it is Black and Brown people who have been disproportionately criminalized, contributing further to the social marginalization they already experience…

Read the full article.

 

Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah’s new research project looks into the connection between the representation of black criminality Toronto and growing Black incarceration

Akwasi Owusu-BempahProfessor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah has recently received a Connaught New Researcher Award to pursue research into the representation of black criminality in Toronto.

Professor Owusu-Bempah’s research addresses a context in which Canada’s Black federal prison population has increased dramatically – from 767 Black inmates in 2005 to 1,340 in 2015. This period coincided with growing public concern and media reporting of gang violence and a rapid expansion of anti-gang legislation and associated policing practices in Toronto, the jurisdiction with Canada’s largest number of Black people. Much of the anti-gang policing was, in fact, targeted to neighbourhoods with large numbers of Black people.

Professor Owusu-Bempah’s research project will look at the impact of anti-gang public discourse and legislation on Toronto’s Black population. His research will analyze the ways that the media frames Toronto’s “street gang” problem, its apparent causes and proposed solutions and how federal, provincial and municipal government debates depicted the causes and solutions to Toronto’s “street gang” problem.

This project will lay the foundation for a larger project connecting popular attitudes, public policy and police behaviour in an effort to understand the growing number of Black people in custody. As Canadian society continues to become more racially, ethnically and religiously diverse, studies like this — projects that examine the impact of social policy on specific sub-populations –will be particularly helpful in fostering a safe, equitable and healthy society.

Black and Blue: Akwasi Owusu-Bempah in U of T Magazine

owusu-bempah-5x7portProfessor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah is a faculty member at the University of Toronto, Mississauga with expertise in the area of race and policing. U of T Magazine featured an interview with him in the Winter 2017 edition. The entire interview is available here and includes a link to the TEDxUofT talk that Owusu-Bempah and Scot Wortley, Professor of Criminology, presented in 2015.

Black and Blue

Like many Canadians, Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, a sociology professor at U of T Mississauga who studies policing, has been following the spate of police shootings of unarmed citizens, mostly south of the border. U of T Magazine editor Scott Anderson recently spoke with Owusu-Bempah about these incidents and how relations between police and racialized communities in the U.S. and Canada could be improved.

What strikes you when you hear the reports of unarmed African-­Americans being shot by police and the social unrest that follows?

The unrest in places such as Ferguson and Baltimore is partly in response to police violence, but it also reflects the frustrations that many African-Americans feel over the failed promise of the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of equality is still just a dream for many black Americans. Police violence often acts as a spark for social unrest. But there are a lot of underlying issues that motivate people to get out into the streets and protest.

How does policing in Canada differ from the U.S. with respect to people of colour?

I prefer to look at the differences between racial groups within each country. What we see in Canada is that, compared to whites, black and Aboriginal people are more likely to be victims of police violence. Blacks in Canada may fare better than blacks in the United States but they don’t fare better than whites here.

You’ve said that Canadians have some “blind spots” when it comes to race and policing. What are you referring to?

For one, we don’t have readily available policing data disaggregated by race. While the police gather race-based data in their investigations, it’s not made public, as it is in the U.K. and the U.S. As a result, we either think we don’t have a problem or we look to other places, such as the U.S., to see how we’re doing. Let’s also not forget that Canada has done a good job of erasing its racist history. The apartheid government of South Africa borrowed from Canada’s reservation system. We had slavery. We had segregated schools until almost the end of the last century.

Read the rest of the interview.

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah in Spacing Toronto on Pride and Black Lives Matter

owusu-bempah-5x7portProfessor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah is a faculty member at the University of Toronto, Mississauga with expertise in the area of race and policing. This piece, written with Mariana Valverde of the Centre for Criminology, was published in Spacing Magazine on January 25, 2017. The complete piece is available online The following is an excerpt of the longer article:

The truth and post-truth about Pride and Black Lives Matter Toronto

Toronto’s police force has long been known for its sophisticated, expensive PR machine. It is thus not surprising that in the wake of the January 17th community meeting to set policy for Toronto’s Pride 2017, the police version of “Pride policy” was quickly taken up and reproduced in countless media stories, many complete with sad comments from gay or lesbian police officers who (no doubt sincerely) believed they had been exiled from Pride events. The truth was that the meeting voted to exclude police force floats and booths from Pride events.

The Pride organizers have not seemed particularly organized lately, so there is some uncertainty about how things will work out. However, what is indeed true is that Black Lives Matter’s demands, accepted by the majority at the community meeting, did not include banning police officers, queer or otherwise, from participation in Pride events.

First, on-duty police are needed to close streets and regulate traffic, and they will no doubt be treated with respect by Pride organizers, as has always been the case. Off-duty police will be as free to march in the parade as anyone else. Whether they are allowed to wear their uniforms is a matter for police management to decide. (There are very good reasons why officers and soldiers are not generally allowed to wear uniforms and carry guns while off duty).

What Black Lives Matter activists wanted — and what their allies of all races at the Pride meeting agreed to do — was to prevent police forces from using Pride events as PR opportunities.

Welcome New Faculty

This year the Department of Sociology welcomes ten new faculty members into our community of scholars. This is the largest cohort of new faculty members we have seen in decades. They cover research and teaching interests ranging from classical theory to criminology and immigration studies and will help shape the character of the department in the years to come. Though housed across the three campuses, all faculty join together in contributing to the tri-campus graduate department.

Professor Ellen Berrey joins the faculty at the University of Toronto, Mississauga teaching in the area of Law and Society. She graduated with a PhD in Sociology from Northwestern University in 2008 and has previously taught at the University at Buffalo, SUNY and at the University of Denver.

Professor Irene Boeckmann is a new faculty member in Family and Demography, teaching at the St. George campus. Professor Boeckmann completed her PhD at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 2014 and spent 2015 as a post-doctoral fellow at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center in Germany.

Professor Emine Fidan Elcioglu brings her expertise in political sociology and immigration to the University of Toronto at Scarborough. Professor Elcioglu received her doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley in 2016.

Professor Steve G. Hoffman received his PhD at Northwestern University in 2009 and taught for several years at the University at Buffalo, SUNY before coming to the University of Toronto at Mississauga. Professor Hoffman teaches in the area of social theory and the sociology of disaster.

Professor Rachel La Touche comes to the University of Toronto at St George this year where she is teaching in the areas of research methods and inequality. She received her PhD from Indiana University-Bloomington in 2016 and has previously taught at the University of Mannheim-Germany and at the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research(ICPSR) Summer Program at the University ofMichigan.

Professor Yoonkyung Lee joins the faculty at the University of Toronto, St. George. Professor Lee received her PhD at Duke University in 2006 and has previously taught at Binghamton University. Professor Lee is a political sociologist with a focus on Korean studies.

Professor Sida Liu is a new faculty member at the University of Toronto, Mississauga. Professor Liu is a specialist in the sociology of law. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 2009. Before coming to Toronto, Professor Liu taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is also currently a Faculty Fellow at the American Bar Foundation and a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah received his doctorate in 2014 from the Centre for Criminology and Socio-legal Studies here at the University of Toronto, Mississauga. Before coming back to Toronto, Professor Owusu-Bempah taught for a year at the Indiana University, Bloomington. Professor Owusu-Bempah is a specialist in policing and race.

Professor Kim Pernell comes to the University of Toronto, St. George with expertise in economic sociology, organizational sociology and social policy. Professor Pernell received a PhD in Sociology from Harvard in 2016.

Professor Ashley Rubin joins the faculty at the University of Toronto, Mississauga bringing expertise in the sociology of punishment and prisons. Professor Rubin received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in 2013 and previously taught at Florida State University.

Teaching Police that Black Lives Matter

OBempah.jpgProfessor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah is a faculty member at the University of Toronto, Mississauga with expertise in the area of race and policing. This piece, published in The Walrus, draws on his dissertation research. The complete piece is available online . The following is an excerpt of the longer article:

Teaching Police that Black Lives Matter

Black officers on how police and black communities can get along.

In 2011 and 2012, I interviewed fifty-one black male police officers from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), as part of a wide-ranging academic project aimed at surveying black attitudes toward the police. They spoke to me candidly but confidentially. I agreed not to publish their names or identifying details.

At one stage of my interviews, I asked these officers to put forth suggestions on how to improve relations between the police and the black community in the GTA. Given the robust public discussion that is now taking place in regard to the Black Lives Matter movement—and this month’s tragic killings of both innocent black men and police officers in the United States—it is worth exploring these suggestions in some detail. These suggestions are unique as they are informed by the officers’ experiences as black males and their immersion in police culture. Both perspectives are evident in the text below.

Read the full article