June 21, 2020

Urban Alliance on Race Relations Launches Peel Legal Defence Fund

The Board of Urban Alliance on Race Relations released the following statement, launching a legal defence fund for parents and community members fighting racism in the PDSB:

“Over the course of the past few months, communities in Peel have witnessed a complete failure of the Peel District School Board (PDSB) to instill trust and confidence in its capability and willingness to address anti-Black racism and Islamophobia in Peel Schools. 

Through Ms. Arlene Huggins’ recent report, multiple systemic failures were laid bare, as the harrowing experiences of parents and community members showed the many ways that deeply embedded and systemic anti-Black racism and Islamophobia has routinely prevented Black and Muslim children in Peel schools from receiving quality education in a safe environment.

Through the report, it has also become even more apparent that administrative leadership at  the PDSB is unworthy of Peel communities' confidence and trust, and unwilling to provide leadership that will ensure quality education and safety for students.  

Further, it was with utter shock and horror that we learned the Peel District School Board along with Trustee David Green, Director Peter Joshua, Associate Director Mark Haarmann, and Superintendent of Education Gale Solomon-Henry have filed a claim at Superior Court to compel Twitter to disclose the identities of parents and community advocates who have been mobilizing against anti-Black racism in Peel, in efforts to pursue legal action against them. 

This lawsuit is being used to intimidate and threaten the exact same parents and community members who are standing up against anti-Black racism for their children. The PDSB is using its resources and power to punish Black people for speaking out.

The Urban Alliance has existed for 45 years, and we know how difficult and scary it is for parents to step up and advocate against the racism they and their children have experienced  – in fear of reprisal by state actors. They are using public funds to threaten to attack Black families, and our organization simply won’t stand for that. People should always feel safe to advocate for their children.

Today, the Urban Alliance on Race Relations is taking the following actions:

 

  1. We are launching a Legal Defense Fund to help cover legal costs for parents and community members advocating against racism in Peel. https://tinyurl.com/yau6lvr3 

  2. We are calling on the Minister of Education to immediately appoint a Supervisor to oversee the Peel District School Board who has the depth of lived experience and professional expertise to address Anti-Black racism in education, no later than the end of this month.

  3. We are demanding that the Minister of Education or the Supervisor immediately halt any use of public funds for attacks on Black parents and community members made through the legal system.

  4. We are demanding that the Minister of Education immediately dismiss the Director of Education as well as others in senior leadership who are responsible for this complete assault on community and the ongoing undermining of confidence in the Peel District School Board to address the crises of anti-Black racism and Islamophobia within a system that is supposed to support children and their families.”

Phone: 416-703-6607
Address: 2 Carlton St 1001, Toronto, ON, M5B 1J3

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  • Ontario Trillium Foundation
  • Status of Women Canada