Anti-Black Racism Action Plan recommends permanent office

Anti-Black Racism Action Plan recommends permanent office

· The Pulse

The final version of the Anti-Black Racism Action Plan commissioned by the City of Edmonton last year recommends the creation of a permanent office devoted to meeting the needs of Black people in Edmonton.

That's one of 130 recommendations in the plan, organized into 12 categories such as municipal leadership, hiring and employment, and data collection. Other recommendations include the following:

  • Design a program to promote upward mobility for Black employees in the City of Edmonton;
  • Mandate the collection of disaggregated data by race within all municipal departments;
  • Develop accessible avenues for reporting hate crimes on transit, including third-party reporting for those not comfortable in engaging with the police.

Mayor Amarjeet Sohi first announced the creation of an Anti-Black Racism Action Plan in August 2022 as part of an event re-committing the city's support for the UN's International Decade for People of African Descent. The city appointed two Halifax-based consultants — DeRico Symonds and El Jones — to create the plan, which they based on consultations with various members of Edmonton's Black community.

The city made a draft version of the plan available on its website in May and posted the final version on July 17. In it, city manager Andre Corbould says the city will review the action plan over the coming months and recommend next steps to city council in the fall.

"As we develop a plan to address these recommendations, we will turn our focus on taking action, and we will continue to listen and learn," Corbould wrote.

The city's Anti-Racism Strategy, which city council approved in February 2022, also recommends the creation of an independent anti-racism body, guided by a temporary advisory panel that has been meeting since February 2023, shortly before the dissolution of the Anti-Racism Advisory Committee. The city's website says it is expecting a report from the panel by spring 2024.

Photo: City manager Andre Corbould, seen here at a news conference in June 2022, said administration will bring recommendations based on the Anti-Black Racism Action Plan to city council in the fall. (City of Edmonton/YouTube)