Andrea Horwath, Leader of Ontario’s Official Opposition New Democrats, released the following statement calling on the Ford government to listen to Black health leaders and declare anti-Black racism a public health crisis:
“Black communities in Ontario, Canada and across the globe are raising their voices to highlight systemic brutality and injustice, and demand the change they deserve.
For far too long, governments have paid lip service to the pain of Black communities, while refusing to take the decisive action necessary to address and tear down anti-Black racism in our institutions. Black communities and leaders have been identifying what is needed for decades, and it is high time that we listen.
Today I echo and support the call from Black health leaders – including the AllianceON Black Health Committee, Black Health Alliance, and the Network for Advancement of Black Communities – for the Ford government to declare anti-Black racism a public health crisis.
This call includes enhancing accountability infrastructure to address police violence, systemic bias and harm to Black communities, funding the Anti-Racism Directorate and empower it with a clear, targeted strategy to address anti-Black racism in all sectors, and funding organizations that are already doing this important work in communities across Ontario, by dedicating funds for the provision of culturally appropriate health and wellbeing supports within Black communities.
Today, and every day, New Democrats stand in solidarity with Black communities across the province, who are demanding that government listen, step up and actually do the work of rooting out anti-Black racism in all of our institutions. The government can start by following the lead of Black communities, and taking these actions.”