The Town of New Glasgow has officially launched a plan to fight against racism and make this area a better place for all to live.
The launch for the Action Plan to Address Racism and Discrimination was held at noon Friday and coincided with the official start of Culture Days.
“We are today launching an Action Plan that provides a road map to identify areas where work is being done and where gaps still exist,” Mayor Barrie MacMillan said
The Action Plan is organized around four strategic areas – a welcoming community, an educated community, an engaged community and a community committed to address racism and discrimination and to not tolerate such an environment or behaviours.
“As a community the Town of New Glasgow as well as New Glaswegians have a strong history of taking a leadership stance in race relations and human rights, from the pioneering efforts of the late Dr. Carrie Best, an internationally respected human rights activist, to initiatives recognized provincially and nationally such as the Run Against Racism created by our Deputy Mayor Henderson Paris, which has now developed into the Marathon of Respect and Equality, to our town’s work with the Province of Nova Scotia to acknowledge through education the terrible wrong that occurred to the courageous Viola Desmond and the firm commitment towards the retelling and acknowledgement of this dark part of our history,” MacMillan said.
“We have been on an important journey and to paraphrase the words of the great Dr. Best – it has been at times for many in our community a hard and lonesome road. We have taken an important stand at a strategic level in 2009 by joining the Welcoming & Inclusive Steering Committee of Pictou County to help develop a strategy that would identify the ingredients that will make the difference between newcomers living here and making it their home.”
In January and February of 2013, the Town of New Glasgow’s Community Economic Development Department held community public sessions seeking input on all aspects of community economic development and gathered feedback and input on what it could do to make the community inclusive, respectful and progressive.
“This action plan is certain to show leadership for our town,” Paris said. “It’s something that’s been near and dear to my heart for a very, very long time.”
He said he sees this as something that could help the area.
“We want a better more cohesive more united town for our residents. This will hopefully enable that to happen as we move forward.”
In adopting the UNESCO Declaration, the Town of New Glasgow agreed to address the following Canadian Coalition commitments:
1. Increase vigilance against systemic and individual racism and discrimination; i.e. Local schools – anti-bullying
2. Monitor racism and discrimination in the community more broadly as well as municipal actions taken to address racism and discrimination; i.e. Proclamations signed – MORE, Pride Week, Nelson Mandela Day, African Heritage Month
3. Inform and support individuals who experience racism and discrimination; Council and Staff – help link individuals to resources
4. Involve citizens by giving them a voice in anti-racism initiatives and decision-making; Council welcomes new initiatives
5. Support measures to promote equity in the labour market; This priority will be addressed by the Advisory Committee
6. Provide equal opportunities as a municipal employer, service provider and contractor; The Town of New Glasgow is an Equal Opportunity Employer
7. Support measures to challenge racism and discrimination and promote diversity and equal opportunity housing; This priority will be addressed by the Advisory Committee
8. Support measures to challenge racism and discrimination and promote diversity and equal opportunity in the education sector and other forms of learning; Partner with School Board & NSCC
9. Promote respect, understanding, and appreciation of cultural diversity and inclusion of Aboriginal and racialized communities into the cultural fabric of the municipality; Advisory Committee will invite an Aboriginal member to serve on the committee
10. Support policing services in their efforts to be exemplary institutions in combating racism and discrimination. The Advisory Committee will work with the New Glasgow Regional Police Service on initiatives