The calls for change being made across Wood Buffalo may soon result in some much-needed action.
Hundreds across the region are speaking out against the injustices black-Canadians, Indigenous people, and others face in the region.
This included a ‘Black Lives Matter’ march and rally over the weekend which saw over 1,000 people take part in.
Mayor Don Scott says the municipality is committed to supporting initiatives aimed at ensuring everyone gets treated equally.
“I need to do better, our council needs to do better, every level of government needs to do better.”
Scott, who took part in the rally, spoke with several black youths after the event who shared their experiences when dealing with anti-black racism.
In his mind, the first step towards change is listening.
“If 20 young people are at a rally and telling me they are dissatisfied with the status quo and there needs to be change, that’s a signal that everybody should understand and it’s not only here, we’re obviously seeing that all across Canada.”
He also noted he didn’t need to hear these stories to understand that racism and discrimination continues to be a local problem.
“I see racism every week, members of my family have witnessed it firsthand,” said Scott, whose wife is of Asian descent. “I say this, not to take away from my own privilege but personal experience is just one way I know that things must change for the better.”
Meanwhile, Councillor Krista Balsom brought forward a motion at the last council meeting which will be debated in two weeks’ time.
It focuses on bringing forward recommendations and advice to council to help end discrimination and create a more inclusive community.
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Councill will discuss this when they meet virtually on June 23. Scott is encouraging anyone who has an opinion on possible changes to sign up to speak at the meeting.