Black Lives Matter: Resources on Social & Legal Issues

For those working in public libraries, you may be getting more questions about social and legal issues related to Black Lives Matter and human rights. This post highlights legal resources and books about this topic and is intended to be a pathfinder for you as you direct patrons or build your library collections.  

Black Lives Matter is about dismantling anti-black racism and calling for police accountability. Because the issues of systemic racism Black communities face are also experienced by Indigenous peoples in Canada, the resources focus on broad social history and experience. There are also practical resources to share with those participating in demonstrations who may be seeking legal information.

To amplify the voices of those whose leadership is critical to be heard, the resources are largely from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) led organizations and/or authors. This reading list is not comprehensive and we may be adding to it over time. The intent is to provide context, perspective, and understanding of issues that are at the core of the constitutional and legal rights of all Canadian citizens.

Online Resources

As a principal resource for online legal information and advocacy agencies in BC, please Clicklaw's latest blog post Legal Info and Help: Black Lives Matter for background information from local organizations as well as a round-up of resources from Clicklaw contributor organizations.

Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) led organizations in BC and Canada:

  • Black Lives Matter – Vancouver chapter
    • See their Community Resources for advocacy, legal aid, community support, and mental health resources.
    • Black Lives Matter also has a chapter in Toronto.
  • Hogan’s Alley Society: a non-profit that works to preserving and promoting knowledge of Black history in Vancouver and BC.
  • Federation of Black Canadians: a national non-profit that aims to support Black communities and interests, including community building, education, and legal initiatives, throughout the country.
  • Black Youth Helpline: a national helpline available to Black youth to support their health, mental wellbeing, education, and communities. They are available toll-free at 1-833-294-8650.
  • Black Health Alliance: an organization that aims to reduce the health disparities for Black communities in Canada by addressing the determinants of health, including racism.
  • Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs:  UBCIC works toward the implementation, exercise, and recognition of Indigenous rights, title, and treaty rights. They have an Online Resources centre that gives access to their digital collections, publications, and education materials.

The following resources are freely available online.

Race & Racism in Canada:

Policing and the Justice System:

Books & Print Resources

Some of the following are available through Courthouse Libraries, and some may already be in your collections! Email us at if you have questions about your LawMatters collection grant.

Race & Racism in Canada:

Until We Are Free: Reflections on Black Lives Matter Canada (2020) by Rodney Diverlus, Sandy Hudson, et al. Edited by founding members of Black Lives Matter Toronto, this anthology of essays focuses on pressing  issues faced by Black communities and provides context on the Black Lives Matter movement in Canada.

The Skin We're In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power,  (2020) by Desmond Cole. Contextualized by events that took place over the course of 2017, Cole provides historical and current perspective on anti-Black racism in Canada:

Black Life: Post Black Lives Matter and the Struggle for Freedom (2019) by  Rinaldo Walcott & Idil Abdillahi. Pulling from multiple aspects of culture including history, literature and public policy, the authors "challenge pervasive thought on dominant culture's conception of Black personhood.”


Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present (2017) by Robyn Maynard. Maynard traces the history of state oppression of Black people as well as Black resistance in Canada.

Racial profiling and human rights in Canada : the new legal landscape (2018) by Lorne Foster, Lesley Jacobs, Bobby Siu, & Shaheen Azmi, eds. Edited by Canada’s leading scholars on racial profiling, this text: “examines a combination of psychological, sociological, organizational, political, and community perspectives, resulting in a holistic, multi-faceted approach to understanding the phenomenon of racial profiling and to pre-empting or eradicating it.”

Policing Indigenous Movements: Dissent and the Security State (2018) by Andrew Crosby and Jeffrey Monaghan. Recent prominent Indigenous land rights movements are highlighted in exploring  “the role played by Canada’s national security agencies in watching, harassing, and criminalizing indigenous people involved in land rights struggles.” 

Protest Law:

Legal Information for People Attending Wet'suwet'en Solidarity Actions, Pivot Legal Society 2020. This guide is for people attending Wet’suwet’en Solidarity Actions to be better informed when interfacing with law enforcement.

Guide to The Law of Protests in BC 2018. This paper tells you about your rights when dealing with police at public demonstrations.

Know your protest rights, BCCLA 2017From the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, this pamphlet covers your right to protest and information on what to do and what not to do when exercising this right.

For Children & Youth

The Law is (Not) for Kids: A Legal Rights Guide for Canadian Children and Teens (2019) by Ned Lecic and Marvin Zuker. A plain-language guide for youth about the laws that affect them and practical ways they can advocate for themselves, including how to organize demonstrations, write to members of parliament and start petitions.

Parentbooks’ Social Responsibility, Anti-Oppression and Equity Resources Collection is a great place to find resources for kids that cover these topics. Below are just a few that stood out:

  • A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara, (toddler board book version available)
  • A Black Woman Did That! 42 Boundary-Breaking, Bar-Raising, World-Changing Women by Malaika Adero, illustrated by Chanté Timothy (ages 10+)
  • #BlackLivesMatter Freedom School Workbook 2017 by Leroi Newbold & Janine Carrington (ages 6+)
  • This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons On How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work by Tiffany Jewell, illustrated by Aurélia Durand (ages 11-15)
  • Black Women Who Dared by Naomi Moyer (ages 9-13)
  • Breaking the Ocean: a Memoir of Race, Rebellion, and Reconciliation. Annahid Dashtgard

Don’t forget to check out the Legal Info and Help: Black Lives Matter Clicklaw blog post where you’ll find background information from local organizations, as well as a round-up of resources on the topics of Human Rights & Racial Discrimination, Violence Against Black Women, and Police Accountability & Your Rights.