Kenneth Jeffers, the lone Black member of the Toronto Police Service Board and longtime community proactivist, is calling on Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to establish a civilian oversight Board of the Human Rights Commission with a standing sub-committee to address anti-Black racism issues.
In a letter to Premier Wynn following a meeting last Thursday of the newly formed Expose Toronto Committee (ETC) , at which he was the keynote speaker, Jeffers noted the ” expressed emotional and physical pain ” of several speakers at the meeting 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,” said Jeffers who represents the ETC.
Noting the impact of workers being “victimized, harassed and humiliated,” Jeffers said that few people would know “of the domino effect on family and friends when their mental health becomes severely challenged.”
“Although we have not been privy to the statistical data of CAMH [The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health] , we have every reason to believe that African Canadian women in particular have received the majority of attacks.”
“I have attached for your perusal a few of the testimonials in which the victims felt that they wanted you to be directly aware of what is occurring in the Province with less than effective support from CAMH and the Human Rights Commission in particular,” he told Wynn in his letter.
Jeffers praised the ” unprecedented establishment “of the province’s Anti racism Directorate and the developmental grants for the progressive improvement for African Canadian young people.
But in view of “the concerns for the health and safety of African Canadian workers in both the public and private sector ,” he is calling on Wynn to meet with the ETC to discuss the setting up of the proposed civilian oversight Board ” in consultation with the Anti Racism Directorate and Justice Michael Tulloch” who headed the recent independent review of Ontario police oversight bodies.