Earlier this week I posted about how many in our community have reached out in recent days, as they feel the need for an outlet to express their very strong emotions about what is happening in the world right now. I recognize the importance of bringing attention to the racial injustices that many in our city face. I also know that one day of action isn’t enough, but persistent action and commitment can only help push for the progress that is needed.
Today, I wanted to provide an update on the important actions that the city has taken and will be working on in the future. In November 2019, I supported a motion that was moved by Councillor King that established an Anti-Racism Secretariat at the city. His leadership lead to the inclusion in this years city budget of funding for a full-time anti-racism specialist position and operating budget support for the development of a strategy and action plan.
The individual who will take on the anti-racism specialist position will be responsible for evaluating city policy, how it develops it, how decisions are made, and evaluating programs and monitor outcomes, to ensure they are done in a way that is anti-racist and anti-discrimination. The hiring of this position was started in February of this year but was temporarily delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic however, I expect it to be completed in the coming weeks.
This position once filled would undertake immediate priorities which include carrying out research and communication in collaboration with key stakeholders on the impact of COVID-19 on racialized persons and communities in Ottawa. Additionally, the city has also submitted an application for further funding to the Federal Government and a funding decision is expected in July 2020. The proposal that was submitted requested funding to hire a fulltime project coordinator and sixteen young adult interns from racialized and Indigenous populations. They would work together on advancing anti-racism and anti-oppression practices throughout city departments.
I recognize that this is just the start of what will be an ongoing conversation and important work that we must all take part in and much is left to do. However, I will continue to support this important work and look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure we continue to make our city a more inclusive and welcoming community for all.