Fondé en 1983 --Unis pour la diversité et l'égalité raciale


Montreal, January 15, 2018 — CRARR will celebrate Martin Luther King Day by formally lending support to Balarama Holness, former candidate for Mayor of the Montreal North borough, to set in motion the process for public consultations on systemic racism.

The idea of city-wide public consultations on systemic racism was first launched last Fall by Holness. After his run under the banner of Projet Montréal (now in power at City Hall), Holness, a former Alouettes player, publicly raised the need for these consultations as a way to tackle deep-rooted problems of systemic discrimination in different areas of the city.

“Dr. King stood against two “ills of society”, racism and poverty, which are still present in Montreal today, and my recent campaign experience made me feel that collectively, we need to do something about the level of racial, social and economic disparity in our city”, said Holness.

“I have been talking to people in different parties and groups, and I believe that the time is ripe to launch not only public consultations, but eventually, concrete actions on systemic racism and other forms of discrimination at different levels, starting, of course, with City Hall,” he added.

According to the 2011 Census, “visible” or racialized minorities made up 30% of the City of Montreal. Recent studies shows that 25% of children in Montreal live in poverty, and that one in four people between 18 and 64 in the Greater Montreal area is considered to be among the working poor (recent immigrants, most of whom are racialized, are five times more likely than non-immigrants to be part of the working poor). Unemployment among youths of color is estimated to be twice the average.

Of the 65 members of the Montreal City Council (which includes the Mayor, 46 City Councillors and 18 Borough Mayors), only 5 are racialized and 1 is Indigenous, all of whom are in the Opposition.

The appointment by Mayor Valérie Plante of an Executive Committee (similar to a Cabinet) that for the first time in more than 20 years, has no English-speaking and racialized members, has raised widespread concerns about the lack of diversity in the new Montreal administration and how it can adversely affect municipal policies and services.

“We will renew Dr. King's vision and build an inclusive coalition to mobilize Montrealers of all racial, gender, ethnic, religious, linguistic and other backgrounds to take concrete actions against racial injustice, social exclusion and economic inequality,” said CRARR Executive Director Fo Niemi.

More information on the initiative will be announced during Black History Month.