Black council says they were not adequately consulted on city's new $200K anti-racism initiative

·2 min read
Windsor City Hall is shown in a file photo. City Council will vote Monday on whether to move forward with a new anti-racism initiative with the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC - image credit)
Windsor City Hall is shown in a file photo. City Council will vote Monday on whether to move forward with a new anti-racism initiative with the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC - image credit)

Windsor City Council has voted to approve a $200,000 program to combat racism but a representative of the Black council of Windsor-Essex said the initiative is not enough.

Lesley McCurdy, acting chair of the Black council of Windsor-Essex spoke in a council meeting on Monday afternoon and said it is 'disingenuous at best' to be listed as a group consulted for the initiative.

"We have yet to experience any meaningful engagement initiated by this municipal body or the mayor or anyone in the administration that would foster a working relationship enabling or inviting the Black community to have consequential issues addressed,"said McCurdy.

McCurdy said the Black council of Windsor-Essex applauds the initiative but members of the community did not feel they had been adequately consulted.

"I have consulted. I have sat down with Ms. McCurdy and the Black council on a number of occasions," said Mayor Dilkens.

Dilkens said consultations took place over a prolonged period of time.

The anti-racism initiative is a partnership between the city and the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County (MCWEC).

During Monday's city council meeting Allison Johnson, President of MCWEC and Kathy Thomas and Executive Director of MCWEC presented six key areas of focus the funding would be used for.

Thomas said the funding will be used for six proponents of the program including educational videos, raising public awareness, a speaker series, training initiatives, internships, mentorship, scholarships and development grants.

Speaking with CBC Radio's Windsor Morning on Monday ahead of the council meeting, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said the program aims to foster understanding and acceptance.

"This is a complex issue and we're not trying to just put up billboards to say, you know, 'stop racism.' This is a more detailed, focused campaign and initiative," he said.

Dilkens obtained approval for the funds to be allocated within the 2021 budget in wake of the global reckoning on anti-Black racism that was sparked by the killing of George Floyd.

With approval of the funding, MCWEC and the city will be able to move forward with the design and delivery of the program this year.

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