Expose Toronto Committee will create change – Jeffers

From left Rose Nelson, Arlene Wallace ETC Chair and Ken Jeffers at a recent event in Toronto

Kenneth Jeffers, the lone Black member of the Toronto Police Service Board and longtime community  proactivist, says the recently established  Expose Toronto Committee (ETC) will create  change in a society plagued by anti-Black racism.

” We have to have an organization that really creates change,” Jeffers said on Grapevine, the call-in radio program on Toronto Station G987FM.

Jeffers who has been “actively involved”  in the ETC and Arlene Wallace, ETC chairman, were guests on the program on Sunday which discussed anti-Black  racism in the workplace.

“I have seen and experienced the pains that a lot of Black people go through [in the workplace] and  there is the pervasive fear of  speaking up and speaking out,”  Jeffers noted.

“If  you do, there are all kinds of  repercussions. So people suffer silently and  this is manifested in mental health problems,” he said.

“And very often we  do not visualize what  I would call the domino effect –  the effect on families, friends and one’s sense of  well being,” Jeffers added.

He explained that in  establishing  the  ETC ” we  are trying to support and bring some resolution to those who have  been hurt.”

Wallace  said  that the ETC has brought together ” people who have suffered and are traumatized due to the experience of anti-Black  racism.”

She noted that  in the  workplace people should  feel confident and be capable of performing at their best.

But  because  of  the  levels of anti-black racism, work performance is affected, she said.

Jeffers pointed out that the  ETC has a “specific objective of making sure that change comes about.”

He said that a letter was sent  to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynn asking  for the establishment of a civilian oversight  Board of  the Human Rights Commission a standing sub-committee to address anti-Black racism issues.

The letter noted the ” expressed emotional and physical  pain ” of  several speakers at a recent meeting of the  ETC who  had experienced racism in the workplace in both the private and public sector.

“Some of the testimonials were graphic and extremely disturbing.  For example, two members of staff in the City of Toronto were traumatized by the presence of three custodial staff dressed as the KKK and seven years later they have had no resolution or satisfactory intervention by the province or the City,” the letter said.

Jeffers told the Caribbean Camera yesterday that the ETC  is looking forward to an early meeting with Premier Wynn to discuss the  matters raised in the letter.