Re: Javan

You may have noticed the name Javan Nsangira in the news lately. Javan  was arrested July 15 by Charlottetown police and is one of only two people in Canada to be jailed for breaking quarantine protocol.

While others have only received fines, Javan, a Black International student has been jailed for almost 2 months. This unfortunate situation has been amplified by having been the second person to have his name released by local media. The other person was also a Black immigrant, a doctor in New Brunswick. This has lead to violent threats towards Javan.

The circumstances involved in this case are unfolding. A major element is the backdrop of COVID-19. In recent months, the divisive fear that has taken hold of our society is intense. As we confront this unknown virus, we have to remember our humanity. Discussions with our neighbours and community at large have led to heightened emotions particularly in online conversations, which only worsens the situation.

An unfortunate result of this recent pandemic though has been one of race scapegoating.  Too many people upon hearing the latest COVID numbers, automatically go to comments like: “It’s those dirty so-and-sos” or, “they should go back to where they came from”. Without any hyperbole, these comments and actions are out-right disturbing, and 100% uncalled for.

Now, imagine you were a 22 year old in a foreign country, needing help, when none of your family or friends are within reach. With the current race and pandemic situations unfolding, you would hope to come to some semblance of understanding of Javan’s mental state. However when a call for mental health assistance was made, he was instead met by the police.

As was stated earlier, this is an unfolding legal case. The singling out of this Black man, and his incarceration time of almost 2 months shows a problematic system; one of placing enforcement over mental health when what Javan required was help. The decline of public services and support systems, in exchange for increased enforcement budgets, has compounded this and other similar situations.

Javan deserves a fair and just defence. It’s a right we are all supposed to have. What he didn’t deserve is almost 2 months of jail when similar charges are addressed within a much shorter time. His imprisonment was unjust.

The government has been silent on this story. The NDP PEI is calling on Minister Bloyce Thompson to provide a statement.

For further insight into this story, we urge you to listen to Desmond Cole’s audio piece at https://bit.ly/2FacYKd

Additionally you can visit BIPOC USHR at www.bipoc.ca for further insight.

This article is based on currently known elements regarding this case.

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