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.