We have to take tangible actions and we have to be able to measure those actions we’re taking…so these things don’t end in motions and the cycle of anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism continues.
On Tuesday, June 9th, the Strategic Priority and Policy Committee unanimously passed several motions to address and confront systemic racism in London. Put forth by Mo Salih, my colleagues and I voted on a series of motions that will see the City of London commit to making real and lasting changes regarding Black and Indigenous communities here in London.
One of the motions that we voted on was to first acknowledge the existence of systemic anti-Black, anti-Indigenous and anti-POC racism and to condemn this racism. In doing so, we also voted to commit to engaging in actionable items that will dismantle systemic racism in London. One of these was to note that the City of London’s workforce does not represent the population it serves and that we must engage in hiring practices that change this. I suggested hiring a Black liaison officer, similar to the previously approved Indigenous liaison officer. We will then reconvene to provide a progress report on our Community Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and on hiring a Black liaison officer.
Outside of steps that the City of London itself committed to taking, we also voted in favor of motions to have the local school boards, the London Police Service and the Middlesex-London Health Unit address the list of demands presented by Black Lives Matter – London. These motions will help tackle the issue of the negative effects of police officers in school as well as the over reliance of police for mental health calls.
The City of London’s recognition and condemnation of systemic racism against Black people, Indigenous people and other people of color, comes at the time when the City of Toronto’s board of health voted to recognize anti-Black racism as a public health crisis.