Statement from Mayor Sendzik condemning racism and discrimination
equalityAs we watch the justified unrest and protests in the United States after the brutal death of George Floyd by members of the Minneapolis Police Department, it has reignited the need for communities across Canada to take demonstrable actions to combat racism. We are not immune to racism, to the rise of white supremacy organizations, to the prevalence of white-power based thinking on social media – and in our city.
The City of St. Catharines established an Anti-Racism Committee in 2018 comprised of those with lived experiences to help our city root out systemic racism and discrimination. The committee has been working on developing new policies, reviewing city procedures and examining ways for our city to push back at racism in its many forms. Action will follow from the work of this Committee.
In addition to this much needed Committee, we also have the Equity and Inclusion Committee and the LGBTQ2+ Committee guiding St. Catharines in becoming a strongly diverse and inclusive city that celebrates and supports those who have traditionally been marginalized. The committee members have lived experiences who are able to illustrate our failings as a city, and it is vitally important for us to learn and grow by acknowledging the existence of racism and inequality. Action will also follow from the work of these committees.
In listening to those who experience racism in St. Catharines, know that it is very real, it exists and it cannot ever be tolerated.
Now is the time for action – not simply for reflection. We have reflected enough as a society. As a white man of privilege, I am listening. I also have duty to act and I will call out injustices, hate and racism in our community. We need everyone to embrace this – to truly listen to those who have been oppressed, to commit to act against those who push hate and intolerance and to call out injustices as they happen.
St. Catharines is a dynamic, diverse and compassionate community. We can learn from what is happening around us and by acting now, we can ensure that the roots of intolerance, hatred and bigotry are completely removed from our city so that the next generation can inherit a community built on diversity and equality for everyone – which is within us all to pass on to them.
Quote from Saleh Waziruddin, the City’s Anti-Racism Advisory Committee Chair:
“The levels of hatred and white supremacy we see outside our home happen in our city too. With a local example like Harriet Tubman we know we in St. Catharines are not too small to take big steps in making right many of the wrongs around us. We should not be afraid to be among the first if that’s what’s needed.”