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Ending Racism is All our Responsibility

I Cant Breath

UPDATE (June 5, 2020): Yesterday’s Solidarity March was part of a global movement to support members of our black community and add our voices to protest death based simply of the colour of someone’s skin. It’s an important message to send, even during a pandemic. I stand with the Halton Regional Police and my fellow mayors across our region and country in supporting this movement.

This weekend we saw the growth of a movement to end systemic racism and police brutality in the United States and across the world. The death of George Floyd on May 25th while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota ignited a fire to put a stop to injustices that are faced by the Black community every day.

As many of you know, I was born in the United States. I have family living in that very area. I lived and studied for a year in Minneapolis and still have friends there who have shared their stories of experience with systemic racism. We have spoken over the past week and my heart is breaking for the families who have lost loved ones, and for the many good people who are tired of living in fear and oppression.

Racism is not limited to Minneapolis or to the United States. We find it here in our own backyard. In my time as Mayor I have unfortunately received countless messages of hate directed at many different groups in our city, especially on social media. We have seen hate crimes occur, with messages of intolerance posted by vandals right on the doors of city hall. I even received an email from a visitor to our city who felt racially profiled as they visited a local business.

We must all confront the racism that exists in our community and help end it for good. Not just the overt racism like messages of hate, but the subtle and systemic racism that affects the little things we say and do, the privilege we benefit from, what we teach our children, and the assumptions we make about others.

This is a time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves if we are doing enough to ensure that every person is being treated with the same humanity, respect, and compassion as we all deserve. It’s a time to learn, a time to listen and a time to act.

I will be exploring some recommended books and digital resources as I seek to confront my own privilege and support the work being done to end these injustices and create a truly equitable world. Here’s just a few suggestions I have been given as a start, with some great additions for kids and youth:

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Conscious Kid on instagram

The Black Lives Matter Foundation website

A Kids Book about Racism by Jelani Memory

This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell (especially great for young people)

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