The Toronto Neighbourhood Centres (TNC) stand with our Black, Indigenous and People of Colour colleagues and community members, and their loved ones. The events of these past weeks have been traumatic and sadly familiar to Black members of the communities we serve. We want to acknowledge the long-term and historical trauma that has been a part of the reality for Black people who have been denied their basic human rights for generations. This is a pivotal moment; a series of events that have sparked an unusual level of empathy, and we are especially mindful of the toll it has taken on our Black colleagues and friends.
These tragedies emerge from long-standing dynamics of anti-Black racism and white privilege. We join with the Alliance for Healthier Communities' Black Health Committee, the Black Health Alliance, and Network for Advancement of Black Communities (NABC) in calling for faster action to meaningfully confront white supremacy and address anti-Black racism through:
- Declaration of anti-Black racism as a public health crisis.
- Enhanced accountability infrastructure to address police brutality, police violence and harms to Black communities.
- A strengthened Anti-Racism Directorate with a clearly articulated, targeted and systemic anti-Black racism strategy.
- A provincial commitment to the allocation of protected funds to provide culturally appropriate health and wellbeing support within Black communities. A critical component of undoing anti-Black racism is working towards making Black life livable. Culturally appropriate organizations must be given the support they need to continue providing these services.
- And, as urged by these colleagues, we stand in solidarity with Black people, committing to disrupting cycles of violence and refusing to make this an issue only Black people care about and act on. This affects everyone and it is everyone's business.
We further call for a provincial commitment to immediately require the collection of race-based public health data across our province.
And we call upon the City of Toronto to take steps to divert resources currently dedicated to policing towards community-led programming and violence prevention strategies and supports that focus on building relationships and strengthening access to resources that are urgently needed in our communities.
We remain committed to building inclusive organizations. We acknowledge that we must be steadfast in tackling structural discrimination and advancing ongoing anti-oppression work within our organizations. We are mindful of the responsibilities that come with leadership and commit to accountability as we seek to dismantle systems of oppression.
From the TNC Board of Directors and Staff - on behalf of our membership network of twenty six multi-service community organizations. June 4, 2020