Public consultation on racism in Montreal: groups have until July 29 to get 15,000 signatures

Anti-racism and community groups have gotten the green light to start collecting as of today 15,000 names for a petition to force the city of Montreal to hold public consultations on systemic racism and discrimination.

The official notice from the city went public today.

The groups say they want the hearings to kickstart a city strategy to eliminate systemic racism and discrimination in various areas of the city administration as well as the private sector.

Balarama Holness ran unsuccessfully for Projet Montréal in last election. He's spearheading petition to compel the city to hold public consultations on systemic racism & discrimination. They start gathering 15,000 names today. Deadline: July 29. #CJAD #polmtl pic.twitter.com/eRikCIoakM

— Shuyee Lee (@sleeCJAD) May 1, 2018

Balarama Holness, a failed candidate for Projet Montréal in last fall's municipal election, is spearheading the petition. Groups supporting the petition include the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR), Côte-des-Neiges Black Community Association, Jamaican Association of Montreal, Council of South Asian Communities and the Concordia Student Union.

They have until July 29 to collect 15,000 signatures of Montreal residents aged 15 and over.

.@MarvinRotrand is supporting the bid for petition to compel the city of #Montreal to hold public consultations on systemic racism & discrimination. They start gathering 15,000 names today. Deadline: July 29. #CJAD #polmtl pic.twitter.com/AZn43TZvOo

— Shuyee Lee (@sleeCJAD) May 1, 2018

The groups announced at a news conference this morning that they'll be fanning out across the city to churches and other places of worship, sports clubs, social clubs, community and cultural events, CEGEPs and universities.

The groups presented January 2017 statistics showing visible minorities make up just over 12% of  the city's workforce of 25,700 employees.

Michael Smith, president of the Jamaican Association of #Montreal says it's important they get the ball rolling on public consultations to see how visible minorities are affected in everyday life at the city level and to improve the system. #CJAD #polmtl pic.twitter.com/3WW2JVKSw0

— Shuyee Lee (@sleeCJAD) May 1, 2018

The groups said while gathering signatures is the ultimate goal, they also want to spread awareness about employment equity, under-representation of visible minorities in the civil service as well as the wider issue of racism and discrimination in every day life.

Tiffany Callender, exec dir of Côte-des-Neiges Black Community Association says the city of #Montreal has to get on board with public consultations on systemic racism & discrimination. They start gathering 15,000 names today. Deadline: July 29. #CJAD #polmtl pic.twitter.com/pFZ2B3CGZ1

— Shuyee Lee (@sleeCJAD) May 1, 2018