Black, Indigenous and other racialized communities in Calgary do not trust the city’s staff, administration and council to achieve their anti-racism goals, according to a city administration report.
The report, which was first presented to the council on Tuesday, says many of the 2,500 Calgarians interviewed through a community engagement process said racism and discrimination are widespread in the city.
Indigenous, Black and Other People of Color (BIPOC) have expressed distrust of the City of Calgary because there have been no meaningful changes to address systemic racism in the past, the report said.
Members say Calgary Anti-Racism Action Committee update is just a first step
Ontario couple’s luggage containing tracker donated to charity by Air Canada
Dr. Linda Kongnetiman, manager of the city’s anti-racism program, said more work needs to be done to tackle racism in the city.
“No more talks, we have to act,” Kognetiman said.
“The community has always told us that it has been said before. What makes it so different this time around?
“The more we isolate the community and the staff, the more we will have people who will continue to express this mistrust.”
Mayor Jyoti Gondek praised the city administration’s “honest report” and said it is everyone’s responsibility to end systemic racism in the city, adding that the burden should not be placed on BIPOC communities.
“I think sometimes it’s expected that a person of color will be the one to come forward and say this is happening, but it shouldn’t be. It’s everyone’s responsibility,” said Gondek to reporters on Tuesday.
“Most importantly, recognizing that everyone has unconscious biases is the biggest step.”
Ward 8 County. Courtney Walcott said anti-racism work requires patience and is a long process that cannot be rushed overnight.
However, Walcott noted that the report is a good first step and an important milestone for the city.
“We got to the point where we elevated our language. We know how to describe it in a way that we never could in the past,” Walcott said at Tuesday’s combined board meeting.
“The amount of work that needs to be done to undo the assumptions is not short. It’s not something we can do in a year or two. It will be far from us here.
The Hidden Hate: Exposing the Roots of Anti-Asian Racism in Canada
‘Golden Boy’ mummy digitally unwrapped after 2,300 years, secrets revealed
Kongnetiman said he saw many community members talking about the city’s anti-racism work.
“In just 19 to 20 months, people who were in that position of distrust are making changes because they see the city making changes and they see the program isn’t going away,” she said.
“They want to help develop that.”
Racism exists in the workplace, say city workers
Tuesday’s report also detailed findings on racism in the city of Calgary itself, based on the findings of a preliminary racial equity assessment.
Some city employees said they experienced, witnessed or were told about a racist incident at work, the city administration said.
Many are also reluctant to raise racial issues with human resources and leadership due to lack of trust.
Yes, there is systemic racism in Canada — our history is full of it
Children died after drinking unpasteurized raw milk at Saddle Lake boarding school: advocacy group
Others felt that there were not as many opportunities for BIPOC employees as there were for white employees, according to the report.
“The conversation we had today was very revealing. We are placing an unfair expectation on members of the administration who signal to people that they are going to challenge,” Gondek told reporters on Tuesday.
“We need some sort of advisory group or coach that the board and senior management can draw on when we have questions or when we are called out for racist behavior.”
Gondek added that she was not surprised by the results.
“I’m not surprised that people feel uncomfortable going to someone they’re reporting a problem to. Sometimes they don’t know if they’re going to be believed,” she said.
“There are lots of reasons why someone might not go to the person they report to. We have to settle this culturally.
© 2023 PKBNEWS, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.