Recognizing that more needs to be done to combat anti-Black racism, promote equality and to support diversity and inclusion, Markham Council has unanimously endorsed a Strategy to Combat Anti-Black Racism.
“We stand against anti-Black Racism and are committed to real change,” Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti said. “The time for us to prioritize issues facing Black Canadians is now. As we confront anti-Black racism, we are taking immediate and proactive steps to fight and prevent systemic racism in our decision-making, programs and services.”
Some of these steps are as follows:
- The City of Markham is updating its Diversity Action Plan – Everyone Welcome; as one of the first steps, the City will meet and seek the advice of members of the Black community.
- City of Markham Council and staff will receive training on anti-Black racism.
- The City of Markham will undertake an equity audit, beginning with their Human Resources Department that is responsible for employee relations and recruitment.
- The City is establishing a Mayor’s Anti-Black Racism Youth Liaison Committee.
- The City is appointing a Special Advisor to provide advice and guidance on measures to address anti-Black racism.
The city has appointed Mary Anne Chambers in the role of Special Advisor. She has led a distinguished career in business and politics, and served as Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, and Minister of Children and Youth Services in the Government of Ontario. She is a leader who understands the power of community involvement and has important insights into the possibilities of Canadian multiculturalism.
Sydney Baxter, a grade 11 student and young community leader who led a protest to combat anti-Black racism will join the new Youth Liaison Committee.
“It is our responsibility to foster a greater sense of belonging,” Mayor Scarpitti added. “We need to remove barriers that limit youth’s ability to thrive. Now is the time to listen, learn, understand and act. Let’s come together to create a new reality for the Black community, and create an environment that is free of racism and full of respect for one another.”