On November 8, Council discussed how anti-racism work from the City would move forward. While I am unequivocally in support of anti-racism work, I think it's incredibly important that we do this work with care and nuance.
I expressed my concern over the decision to move forward with a sub-committee, composed of members from the Social Planning Committee. By doing this, there are major barriers for the people whose voices most need to be heard because the process of getting onto a committee is inherently inaccessible. You have to be able to volunteer your time (making it difficult for single parents, those who have unreliable work schedules, or who cannot afford to volunteer), know when to apply (information that can be difficult to hear about unless you follow City news closely or have folks in your life who do), and have strong writing skills (if English isn't your first language, this is difficult!).
Community round tables weren't recommended because of fears of lateral violence -- this is when one racialized community may cause harm to a different racialized community. The root of this, of course, is our system is racist, and even those experience racism can espouse it, as well.
But I think there are ways to mitigate lateral violence: by having smaller, more specific round tables and strong facilitation skills. I made the following motion to amend: "That the sub-committee of the Social Planning Committee include in its Terms of Reference the objective to organize specific and small community roundtables that mitigate the potential of lateral violence but that allows direct engagement with community members."
This was then referred to staff for consideration and possible inclusion in the Terms of Reference.