My trip to Canada—Crystal Schloss-Allen
I just wanted to say thank you so much for the traveling prayers. We made it there and back safely.
The difference began at the border. The crossing was uneventful and boring- the Canadian guard was pleasant, didn’t do a thorough check of our vehicle or ask any strange questions. Even driving throughout Canada that first day, it didn’t seem strange or scary, though we were nervous for a while about being pulled over. We actually didn’t see any cops other than at the scene of an accident. Eventually what calmed our fears was seeing family and our experience with the teens there.
Our first stop was Newmarket, ON- small town outside of Toronto. Using NYC as a reference, it is similar to the towns of Nassau County. My husband’s family lives in a middle class neighborhood, three young and hilarious teenage boys lived there and they were something different from NYC teens of the same age- they were still kids. Unlike Black American teens of that age, they were honestly just kids- the way kids are supposed to be. They had no fear. They were aware of race and racism but they were not beaten down or beaten back by it.
Our second stop was in Mississauga- it is also considered a suburb but again using NYC as a reference, it is more like Queens or even the downtown Brooklyn area than anything else. It is quite urban but not quite the metropolis of Toronto. I got to hang out with my handsome little cousins age 14 at the towering height of 6′ 6″ and age 12 and average height. This big towering teen, like the other teen boys, though tall was just a super-sized child. Still a teen in attitude and not beaten down by life. Teens of that stature in NYC I would be so afraid for but in Canada he is allowed something that Black American teens are not, to be a child and enjoy it. After I went to church with my cousins we went to a birthday party/BBQ and two of the most amazing things happened.
First, all of these teens (about 8 of them) after eating went for a walk by themselves to the park- all of the parents agreed and none were worried. It amazed me when the mom of the birthday boy excused herself to go see what the boys were up to and all of the other moms said- “oh leave them, you don’t want to be the weird mom.” Can you imagine that happening in the states? The image of 8 very tall teenage black boys walking to the park and not one black mother worried.
The second and equally amazing thing that happened was I met an off duty officer/ basketball coach. Now I didn’t know he was a cop at all, he didn’t have any of the tell-tale American signs. Now not saying all cops do this but they show the signs typically one way or the other regardless of race- carrying a weapon or badge, looking around or on edge. I have friends who are cops and they can’t turn it off. Now here is what had me floored, he asked the lady of the house if he had to move his car into her driveway because he didn’t want to get a ticket. Now in most of the residential neighborhoods we went to in Canada, after a certain time of night your car should be in or in front of your driveway. Not sure why but that’s what I was told. But the fact that a police officer was worried about a ticket in the neighborhood he works in had me amazed. Not saying all officers do not follow and uphold the laws they protect but some of the ones I know and have known, don’t always do. They know that the sticker on their dash will protect them so they bend and break some of those rules and they have never worried about a ticket.
There is a stark difference between the police and the minority community in Canada, than there is here in the US. I asked about police brutality, everyone I talked to said, it could never happen here. They did tell me about racial profiling that may happen to people who are black and drive nice cars but it typically happened in Toronto so now they are starting a body camera pilot program. I had to look up more on the cases in that area and there were so few in comparison to the US. So few in Toronto compared to NYC that it makes me want to move there. It seems as if Canada is still a sanctuary to this day. There is something to be said when a place fills you with hope instead of fear in just a few days. I plan on going back later in the summer for vacation because I enjoyed my time there so much.
Well, who knew? I think that once you pray; God takes the prayer, and the prayer no longer belongs to you (Now, that’s a good reason to let all fear go!) We can never predict the message, or the messenger!