Vaughan launches action plan to challenge anti-Black racism

by Lincoln Depradine
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Mayor Steven Del Duca

The City of Vaughan, as part of an eight-year “action plan”, has committed itself to “promoting economic prosperity and job creation, and supporting diverse Black entrepreneurs and Black-owned businesses” in the municipality that includes Concord, Kleinburg, Maple, Thornhill and Woodbridge.
The city’s “action plan” is endorsed by a Special Advisory Committee comprising of seven members from the Black and Caribbean community who noted the contributions made to Vaughan by its “diverse African, Caribbean and Black communities”.
“Our unique contributions have helped to build a vibrant and prosperous city, where people from different backgrounds, identities and living experiences live, work and play together,” the advisory committee said in a statement. “We celebrate our contributions and achievements, while recognizing that anti-Black racism exists and must be addressed and dismantled.”
The statement was released in the aftermath of Vaughan Council’s approval of the “Reimagining Black Futures in Vaughan: Addressing Anti-Black Racism Action Plan 2024-2031”.
The plan, according to Mayor Steven Del Duca and other City of Vaughan officials, is a “strategy to challenge anti-Black racism in all its forms”.
“We recognize that anti-Black racism is a deeply ingrained systemic issue in Canada, and our city is not immune to it,” Del Duca said.
Acknowledging that anti-Black racism in the country is “perpetual” and “pervasive”, the city’s plan involves steps it would take to “improve municipal programs, policies and procedures to address anti-Black racism and ensure full and meaningful participation of the Black community in services, events and general city life”.
The action plan was developed after outreach and consultation with Vaughan residents including business owners, seniors, youth, newcomers, members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community and community leaders such as representatives of the Black advisory committee.
Committee members said they “provided guidance and assistance on the various components and phases of the action plan development and content”.
The plan contains approximately 25 objectives and 58 “key action items”.
Among the critical actions are the establishment of a standing “Advisory Committee on Addressing Anti-Black Racism”; a pledge to “embed the perspectives of diverse Black communities in city initiatives and promote the engagement of diverse Black communities in city initiatives and feedback mechanisms” and also to “identify and adapt city policies and procedures to reduce systemic and institutional barriers for diverse Black communities”.
In addition, the city “recognizes the importance of developing events that celebrate Black history, culture and community, and empower the Black community to participate”.
The action plan “outlines our pledge to maintain a continuous and meaningful dialogue with diverse Black communities about decision-making processes and institutional barriers, and ensure municipal programs, services and initiatives are inclusive”, said Mayor Del Duca.
“There is more work to do, and we are committed to doing it. The Addressing Anti-Black Racism Action Plan is a part of that commitment. I am grateful to the diverse group of individuals who contributed their perspectives and insights during the plan.”
Black advisory committee members said that part of their advocacy has been for the “implementation of an accountability framework that embeds transparency throughout all stages of the action plan, while monitoring progress and holding stakeholders responsible”.
According to committee members, “we cannot hope to effectively address anti-Black racism without listening to, learning about and believing lived experiences of African, Caribbean and Black communities – even when those experiences don’t match our own. This requires empathy. It’s a collective step we can all take towards reimagining Black futures in the City of Vaughan”.

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