LMRC’s Panel Discussion explores Systemic Racism

Submitted by the office of the LMRC

In relation to the different consultation on racism held in Montreal in 2019, Lasalle Multicultural Resource Center with the support from Heritage Canada hosted a panel discussion on Systemic Racism on November 29th.
Despite a Friday evening many packed the hall, enjoyed a sumptuous cultural cocktail and short films on systemic racism before the panel discussion begun.
Dayna Dee Cozier a University Chemistry and Physics major made a compelling opening presentation citing that English Quebecers continue to feel marginalized and ignored by a system that has built its foundation on attempting to mask systemic racial biases and prejudices through linguistic political justifications.
This group, she stated face the complexity of double jeopardy and a high susceptibility to horrendous actions of interpersonal and systemic racism.
This was followed by Faye Cummings, a communications manager who noted the disparities experienced by Quebec Blacks and other visibility minorities in employment concluding that employment equity remains rhetorical with no sustainable mechanism of enforcement or accountability.
Nika Niami a Master Degree graduate and cyber bullying expert touched on the troubling dynamics between Black youths and schoolteachers as she has been observing.
Beatrice Brizi a Masters Graduate Community Coordinator and activist, talked about the deplorable housing conditions many Blacks are presently experiencing at the hands of uncaring landlords in Montreal, which drew a response from Liz Zarac, city counsellor and deputy mayor of LaSalle, who is responsible for diversity who stated that City officials are doing as much as possible to resolve the housing issues.
Another panellist, Alix Adrien, former school principal and president of Quebec Black Board of Educators re-emphasized the issue of racial profiling and the under-representation of Blacks in the police, fire department, the boroughs and other public service sectors.
Moderator Terry Ngala was well composed and did a fabulous job in containing this emotional discussions and allowing full participation from the audience.
The evening ended with panellists offering recommendations of how government and decision makers can combat systemic racism in policies and practice. These recommendations were compiled by the LMRC and will be submitted to the Commission responsible for the public forums on racism. Several media outlets were on hand to report on the event.
Also on November 30, 2019, the LaSalle Multicultural Resource Center hosted an Intercultural Multicultural Expose Concert sponsored by Canadian Heritage, which featured a diversity of cultural artists showcasing their talents, learning about each other and interacting in harmony. The event sponsored in part by Canadian Heritage turned out to be a treat for the audience.