City Supports International Decade for People of African Descent

To advance Council’s commitment to acknowledging and recognizing the International Decade for People of African Decent 2015-2024, the City is establishing a new advisory committee to support the Decade’s three themes of recognition, justice and development.

“Racism has no place in Victoria. Advancing this important work demonstrates the City’s commitment to addressing Anti-Blackness racism and creating a more inclusive city,” said Councillor Sharmarke Dubow.

The new advisory committee will engage the community to develop a three-year action plan to implement the United Nations’ proclamation of promoting respect, protection and fulfillment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of people of African descent, as recognized in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

“As the Inter-Cultural Association’s recent survey has shown us, there is racism in Victoria that needs attention. It’s up to each of us to speak out against racism when we see it to ensure that all Victoria residents feel safe and respected,” said Mayor Lisa Helps. “Supporting the themes of the International Decade for People of African Descent is one way the City can involve the community in taking action against anti-Black racism.” 

The plan will identify actions for the City to recognize and celebrate the contributions of Black Victorians, promote equitable outcomes on issues relating to racial profiling and eliminating institutionalized stereotypes of people of African descent, and support housing, employment and entrepreneurship initiatives.

In addition, the advisory committee will identify best practices for raising awareness in the community about the heritage and culture of people of African descent, advise Council on emerging issues and trends of significance to Black communities, and look at how to ensure the interests and needs of Black communities are reflected in City programs and services.

Recruitment for the new advisory committee will begin in June, with the Council-appointed committee members meeting for the first time in September. The Committee will meet through to 2024 to coincide with the end of the Decade that was proclaimed in 2014.

The International Decade for People of African Descent initiative aligns with the City’s current work to develop a Welcoming City Strategy, which will serve as a roadmap to guide Victoria towards becoming a stronger, more inclusive community where everyone, including newcomers, immigrants and refugees, is accepted, respected and feels like they belong. The community is invited to share their ideas and lived experiences by May 30 to help inform the draft strategy at engage.victoria.ca.

The City has also established an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Office to work with all City departments to imbed equity in policies, programs and services to advance the removal of systemic barriers. This Office is developing an Equity Framework that will apply an equity lens to all City operations, programs and services.

The City of Victoria joins the Government of Canada and several other Canadian cities in acknowledging and recognizing the International Decade for People of African Descent.