Victoria council looks to address systemic racism

Motion put forward calling on police to end street checks

Victoria council is introducing new motions to try and tackle systematic racism.

“Specifically, the motions will seek to ban street checks and carding and a plan to create a more inclusive city where all people are welcomed, accepted, respected and encouraged to participate,” said the City of Victoria in a press release.

A street check is when an officer stops someone and seeks information when the person is not suspected of a specific criminal offence.

Various councillors are requesting immediate action from the police to ban the practice of carding, as all residents “deserve to live free from fear of arbitrary police questioning and detention.”

Council said that grassroots groups such as Communities Against Criminalization and major organizations across British Columbia, including the BC Civil Liberties Association, the BC Union of Indian Chiefs, the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, and Amnesty International Canada have been calling to end street checks across the province.

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“Black, Indigenous, and people of colour are disproportionately impacted by street checks and carding,” said Coun. Sharmarke Dubow. “We need to ensure that these discriminatory practices are put to an end.”

Other motions being put forward aim to acknowledge the rights of people of African descent and address anti-Black racism. These proposals include building a grant program for organizations and businesses led by Black community members, creating an advisory committee, and tracking hiring metrics for employees of the City to ensure the municipal workforce “reflects the diversity of our community.”

The aim of these motions is to create a more inclusive environment in Victoria, so everyone feels welcome, accepted and respected. The motions will be discussed at the July 16 Committee of the Whole meeting.

“The people of Victoria have been clear that they want their elected officials to tackle systemic racism. This motion demonstrates the City’s leadership in responding with specific actions to address systemic racism within the City as an organization and seeks to create a more inclusive city as a whole” said Dubow.

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