For immediate publication
Toronto - The Ontario Human Rights Commission’s ("OHRC") Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall commemorated March 21st, the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, alongside City of Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis, at a public ceremony held at the Mackenzie Hall cultural centre. Mayor Francis marked the occasion by signing a Declaration of Intent to join a Canadian Coalition of Municipalities against Racism and Discrimination. David Walden, the Secretary-General of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO ("CCU") was also present for the event.
The OHRC believes this initiative is very important because it calls on local governments and their communities to stand up, acknowledge that racism exists, accept shared responsibility, and commit to taking action against racism in a planned and inclusive way.
"It is particularly appropriate that Windsor has elected to become one of the first municipalities in Canada to join the Coalition given its long and vibrant history as a leader in protecting human rights," commented Chief Commissioner Hall.
The City of Windsor acknowledged OHRC’s leadership role, in partnership with CCU, in developing and promoting the call for a Coalition of Municipalities against Racism and Discrimination. The initiative is based on UNESCO’s (United Nations Economic, Social, and Cultural Organization) goal to establish a network of regional coalitions around the world, the first of which was launched in Europe in 2004.
Following the City of Windsor’s March 21st ceremony, Chief Commissioner Hall also participated at a community forum held at the University of Windsor where she spoke on the Commission’s work in the area of racial discrimination, promoting the Coalition initiative as a powerful tool in combating racism and discrimination in all its forms.
At the CCU’s annual general meeting held in Montreal this past weekend, Chief Commissioner Hall addressed CCU members and individuals from across Canada, including researchers, community organizations and city counsellors, who expressed strong support for moving forward on this initiative. Hall emphasized that, “If we are truly going to make progress on eliminating racism and discrimination, it is a struggle that will take real commitment and partnership from all levels of government and our civil society organizations, but it is one best fought at the local level.”
The OHRC and CCU are currently developing awareness material to help step up their efforts to promote the Coalition in Ontario and across Canada.
For more information on the Coalition initiative, or other work of the OHRC, please visit the OHRC’s website.
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Sr. Communications Officer
Communications and Issues Management
Senior Policy Analyst
Policy Education, Monitoring and Outreach Branch (PEMO)
Ontario Human Rights Commission