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Ontario’s Anti-Racism Directorate Officially aligns with the United Nations’ Decade for People of African Descent

23 Feb

Recently Ontario’s Anti-Racism Directorate issued a news release, ‘Ontario Recognizing the United Nations’ Decade for People of African Descent‘. I had not heard about this entity or United Nations (UN) initiative before seeing this press release I wanted to learn more. It is a positive step by the provincial government to address a significant issue affecting the black community.

The Anti-Racism Directorate started during Black History month in 2016, and it has the mandate to protect the people of Ontario from racism. It is interesting to note that this directorate starts 20 years after all of Canada first officially celebrated Black History Month. There has been much work done in support of the black community, yet there seems there appears to be a lot still to do. The recent Brexit vote in Europe and the immigration ban in the US provide an indication of the international climate which does not seem favorable for visible minorities. I am grateful to live in a country like Canada and work at a company like TD that appreciates diversity and continues to explore ways to improve how they address diversity-related issues.

About one year after coming into being the directorate is now aligning with the United Nations’ Decade for People of African Descent. The decade spans from 2015 to 2024. A lot is happening in the black community around the time of Black History Month. The International Decade for the People of African Descent has clearly defined objectives and programme of activities. These objectives encourage countries to safeguard people of colour, share their contributions to their societies and build up the legal structures based on previous work done globally against racism. Canada is supportive of this UN initiative as the Directorate collaborated with the United Nations’ Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent last year when this group made a 5-day visit to Canada between October 17 to 21, 2016. I am looking forward to seeing their report when it comes out in September 2017. I am interested in learning their thoughts on some of the things we are doing well and hopefully seeing some recommendations for gaining improvements.