Tens of thousands call on Calgary council to hold public consultation on racism
CALGARY -- There is growing support for an online campaign calling on the City of Calgary to address systemic racism.
As of Monday morning, nearly 60,000 people have signed the We ask the City of Calgary to hold a public consultation on systemic racism petitition since it was launched by the Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation Wednesday.
The group, which is headquartered in Calgary, aims to improve race relations and says systemic racism is a major concern in the city .
It cites 2016 Statistics Canada data showing more than 30 per cent of Calgary’s population identify as visible minorities and about three per cent as Aboriginal, yet acts of racism and hate crimes continue across the city.
"The municipal government, The City of Calgary has yet to tackle the discrimination that these population face," reads the petition. "We understand the City has created a few policies and strategies to promote diversity and inclusion, but there is no concrete action taken."
The group’s wants a public consultation where Calgarians of all backgrounds will have an opportunity to voice their concerns.
In addition to signing the petition, members of the public are encouraged to write a letter or tweet at their area councillor or the mayor.
Reaction from councillors
Whether a public consultation on systemic racism will occur has yet to be determined but some councillors have expressed their support of the idea.
Ward 5 Coun. George Chahal, who also chairs the Public Safety Task Force, says the petition is an inspiring initiative and is calling for meaningful discussion.
"People are demanding answer and justice," Chahal tweeted. "It’s time to listen. It’s time to change."
Chahal adds that he has personally experience racism and harassment because of the colour of his skin, but noted verbal abuse goes deeper than just racial slurs.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi says he’s "very proud" that Calgarians have come together to peacefully protest and speak out for the rights of others.
Nenshi adds that he is committed to building a more inclusive society.