Local advocacy group calls on Barrie police to add hate crimes charges in assault of Shak’s World founder

UPLB calls for more support to address racism in Barrie and Simcoe County

The UPLift Black (UPLB) advocacy council wants Barrie police to add hate crimes to the list of charges against a suspect following an attack on a prominent community advocate

The Downtown BIA said in a Twitter post that it came to their attention on Friday morning, an individual stopped her car in front of Shak’s World downtown and verbally and physically assaulted Shanicka Edwards.

Edwards founded Shak’s World.

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Police said a 30-year-old woman was arrested by OPP in Orillia late Friday on an unrelated matter. They said she has been charged with assault, assault with a weapon, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, and failing to comply with probation in relation to the earlier reported incident on Maple Avenue. She is being held for a bail hearing that is to take place on Saturday.

Shanicka Edwards, better known as Shak, operates Shak’s World Community Centre.

“The centre works with youth to nurture physical and mental wellness through after-school programs and provides mentorship for Black youth in our city,” said the BIA, in a statement posted to Twitter.

UPLB released a statement on Saturday condemning the attack and calling for more support to address racism in Barrie and Simcoe County.

“First, our thoughts are with Shak and everyone close to her during this time. We are also thinking of the Black community and other marginalized groups, as, once again, we have been shown the tip of the racism iceberg that we are working so hard to dismantle. We deserve to feel safe in our communities, schools, workplaces and homes,” said the statement.

“We condemn all forms of hate and urge individuals, organizations and leaders across Barrie and Simcoe County to join us in publicly speaking out against hate. We call on Barrie Police to add hate crime charges to the perpetrator’s charges, and in all cases when racism is involved.”

A video of the incident shows a woman getting out of her car, and confronting Edwards, while screaming profanities and racial slurs.

BIA Secretary-Treasurer Sarah Jansen condemned the attack.

“Downtown Barrie is a welcoming place that gets its strength from the resiliency of its people,” said Jansen, in a statement. “We support those who build our community up, and condemn those that tear it down.”

The BIA has pledged a $500 sponsorship donation to Shak’s World.