Local Activist says City Anti-Racism Plan 'Missed the Mark'

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A local activist says the City of Windsor's $200,000 anti-racism plan has "missed the mark."

Black Council of Windsor Essex Acting Chair Leslie McCurdy says the city failed to consult with the very people the plan is intended to help.

"I guess on one hand we're glad that council seems determined to in some way deal with anti-Black racism and anti-racism, but in order to do that,  the consultations have to start with real deep engaged consultations with the Black community," she says.

According to McCurdy, there were some initial talks with the city last year that broke off after a disagreement over the structure of a task force. She says the city should have sought proposals from more than one group after the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County was directed to engage community stakeholders and consult with the city's Diversity Committee

"It's really disappointing because there were no consultations and multiculturalism is not anti-racism," she says. "There's a diversity of people and cultures that practice anti-Black racism and it's specific in how it targets people of colour."

Council approved the plan to push back against racism at Monday's meeting. It includes training initiatives, internships, mentorships, bursaries, scholarships, development Grants and Heritage Interpretation and Storytelling.

McCurdy says giving someone a scholarship doesn't fix the institutional racism faced on campus and when they enter the workforce. "It's built into our sociology, our education, our financial systems, our economics, everything," she added.

Mayor Drew Dilkens said the idea started after the tragic death of George Floyd last year — a Black man who was killed by a White police officer in Minneapolis.

Ward 3 Councillor Rino Bortolin and Ward 4 Councillor Chris Holt voted against the plan. They both agreed with McCurdy's stance that it didn't provide enough solutions to obstacles faced by the Black community.