'We need to step up': Council takes first steps to address systemic racism in London
LONDON, ONT -- Just days after 10,000 people took part in a Black Lives Matter rally city council has officially admitted that systemic racism exists in London.
The declaration put forward by councilor Mo Salih includes taking the first steps towards addressing issues raised by organizers of the event.
Days after the historic Black Lives Matter rally in Victoria Park the crowds have dispersed and work begins to ensure the momentum to end racism doesn't fade like a message written in chalk.
That work has begun at city hall with a series of motions by councilor Mo Salih, the mayor, and deputy mayor.
City council unanimously approved the motion admitting that anti-black and anti-indigenous racism is systemic in London.
“We should also start thinking about what we as politicians and leaders of this city are willing to do to make sure that we are not just saying this,” said councilor Arielle Kayabaga.
Council called for a progress report on the community diversity and inclusivity strategy and for staff to update them on the hiring of an indigenous liaison officer and black liaison officer at city hall.
Council also requested that the Police Services Board, the Middlesex London Health Unit and all local school boards respond to the issues raised by the rally's organizers.
“We need to step up, we need to say that's not acceptable in our London. When there is clear bias we have to say that it is wrong,” said Mayor Ed Holder.
Implicit in the motions approved Tuesday and committed to by members of council, was that the issues raised here in front of 10,000 people will receive action.
Council’s request for a formal response to the issues raised at the rally will be sent to the police board, health unit, and school boards.