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Raptors and Celtics stand together prior to Game 1: Black Lives Matter updates

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The Raptors and Celtics are supposed to play Game 1 tonight. Right now, it’s not clear whether it will happen. Let’s understand what the players are doing instead and what we can do to support Black Lives Matter.

Toronto Raptors v Brooklyn Nets - Game Four Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images

It’s impossible to think about basketball right now, considering the horrific police-related tragedies that continue to make the news despite earnest attempts by most NBA players to showcase the Black Lives Matter movement, and its importance, on the court.

Those who initially chose to enter the league’s Bubble were doing so under the impression that they could use their platform to create tangible societal change; unfortunately, the near-fatal shooting of Jacob Blake a few days ago served as a stark and emotional reminder that police brutality continues in the world. Now, players have been forced again to ponder whether the on-court social justice messages are simply performative, rather than actionable.

Over the past couple of days, players on both the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors have discussed sitting out the first game of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, or even leaving the Bubble entirely. The Milwaukee Bucks, Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers have all followed suit, opting to move towards a strike. What that means for the Raptors — and for the rest of the league — is up in the air right now. Uncertainty pervades the entire NBA, including whether we’ve already seen the last of Bubble basketball and the 2019-20 season.

Information regarding matchups, strategy, broadcast, injuries and more can usually be found below. However, none of that matters today — and it seems very likely there will be no Game 1 in Raptors vs. Celtics. Just as the players are opting to strike, I believe it’s my duty to do the same.

Arrest the officers that murdered Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, and paralyzed Jacob Blake.

Where to Watch:

N/A

Lineups:

Toronto – N/A

Boston – N/A

Injuries:

Toronto – N/A

Boston – N/A

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Donate to Julia Jackson’s Fundraiser

While it’s not the answer to everything, supporting the family of Jacob Blake can help. To that end, Jacob Blake’s mother, Julia Jackson, is raising money to pay for her son’s medical bills. Donate here.

Also worth mentioning: It is very much time to understand how cops, like the officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin, act with such impunity — and who protects them and their actions. Read more here from Kim Kelly on this ongoing labour struggle and the call for the AFL-CIO to oust police unions from their membership.

Defund the Police

We should all be calling for an end to the systemic racism that dominates North America. Read more about what it means to defund the police, and why it’s necessary for societal change.

For a local spin on this, keep in mind that the Mayor of Toronto, John Tory, who is also a member of the Police Services Board, recently voted against a ten percent reduction in police funding in Toronto. What’s more, he voted in support of giving the police more money to equip officers with body-cams — which have already proven to be ineffective to stop violence against Black and Indigenous people.

Taken together with the recent outcome of the SIU’s investigation into the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, in which the officers involved were cleared of any wrongdoing — an outcome that happens 97 percent of the time! — and it’s clear there is serious work still to be done in Toronto.

To let the Mayor know how you feel about all of this, contact his public office here.

City Hall, 2nd Floor

100 Queen St. W.

Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

Telephone: 416-397-CITY (2489)

Fax: 416-338-7125

Email: mayor_tory@toronto.ca

Black Lives Matter

As always, please take it upon yourself to learn about the multitude of ways you can help. Every voice heard, every petition signed, and every dollar donated helps.

Check out the information and mission statement of the Black Lives Matter movement here.