Robyn Maynard is a Black feminist who has spent years documenting racist and gender-based state violence. She has also spent the better part of the decade doing frontline harm-reduction in Montreal.
A brand-new mama, she is currently raising a baby and writing her first book Policing the Black Body: State Violence and Black Life in Canada, for Fernwood Publishing. In this book she addresses the historical and current realities of the systematic disenfranchisement of Black folks in Canada. Discussing slavery, one hundred years of racial profiling, police and immigration enforcement brutality, the abuse of sex and drug laws to target Black men, women and youth of all genders, through to the school-to-prison pipeline, Maynard addresses state violence against Black persons in Canada from an intersectional lens which centers the stories of women, drug users, and sex workers.
She works full-time doing street-based outreach and workplace visits with sex workers at Stella; doing harm-reduction, rights-based education and accompaniments surrounding health, anti-violence, and empowerment. She is very active on many levels in the realm of public education, including international, national and local media, panels, and trainings for health and social service providers on the harms created by systemic racism, criminal laws and stigma as they affect sex workers’ lives. She has debated this topic on national television as well as presenting for Stella at the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights at Parliament Hill. She is particularly interested in in how sex-trafficking discourse intersects with issue of migrants rights, indigenous rights, and sex workers rights.
A harsh critic of systemic racism in all of its forms, she has been involved with several migrant justice initiatives over the years, as well as being involved grassroots organizing against police killings, helping co-found Montreal’s Justice for Victims of Police Killings, who work alongside several families of victims of police killings to demand an end to police violence and impunity. She helped found Project X, a youth-empowerment project to educate black youth about their rights vis-a-vis the police, in a ‘know your rights’ format, including co-authoring the rights guide entitled “Refuse to Be Abused…Using the Law to Fight Back”.
She also authored the popular harm reduction, safer drug-use guide Trippin! for Head & Hands, a Montreal youth-empowerment community organization, and co-ordinated, edited and contributed to the human rights edition of Stella’s bi-annual Constellation magazine.
Her writing has appeared in The Montreal Gazette, the Feminist Wire, Le Devoir, Briarpatch, Upping the Anti, Shameless!, The Dominion, Canadian Dimension, 2bmag, Canadian Women’s Studies Journal, and her work appears in several anthologies including Feminism for Real edited by Jessica Daniforth, and Border Imperialism edited by Harsha Walia.
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