Efforts to get rid of racism in the city are being met with some skepticism, because the very groups that see it on a daily basis say they’re not involved enough. They want to be included in the city’s effort to create an anti-racism framework.
“We are looking for a bottom up approach, not top down,” said Ahmed Abdullkardir, from the Ogaden Somali Community of Alberta. “When somebody gets fired because of their race or some one at work calls them the N-word or somebody experiences hate incidents when they’re catching the bus, we’re the first to hear it, we’re the first to listen.”
Yet he said, they’re being shut out of the process at this point. “The youth, they express their frustrations with in the school system, and we’re the front line for this. We should be part of any solution that is looking for a comprehensive solution for all Edmontonians.”
“All of us are really saying let’s develop the frame work collectively, and then agree on it and then move the process that way.”
City councillors last year asked for work to be done on reducing examples of racism in Edmonton. The process is still in the early stages said Rob Smyth, deputy city manager for community services. He told reporters it’s a complex issue, even with in individual groups. “There’s different communities and even with in some communities there’s elements of that same community that have different points of view.”
Mayor Don Iveson said even with in the city’s administration more needs to be done. “That should be our default, to have more active engagement and to test whether what the city is working on is resonating for communities that are experiencing racism.”
Still to done in the coming year are surveys and public meetings and by early 2018 a proposed framework on ending racism will be before city council.